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Archaeological discovery as £30 million project gets under way

Posted on 12 October 2016 03:05 PM by Sugar1C

Let’s face it, it’s not every day you come to work and discover an Iron Age round house.

I’m the project manager for a £30 million scheme to which will see underground cables laid between Ipswich and Felixstowe and then under the rivers Orwell and Stour to Shotley and Harwich. We are about to start digging the trenches in Levington just outside Ipswich but before we do that, a team of achaeologists are working on a nine-kilometre stretch of land to record any sites of interest before work gets under way in earnest.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Suffolk coastline is rich in sites of historic and scientific interest as well as being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so preliminary work was carried out last summer to pinpoint areas which would need further investigation.

Which brings me to the Iron Age round house, pictured on the right. The team from Albion Archaeology discovered the foundations of the house last week and believe it may have been one of several on a settlement in the area between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago. The details have been recorded and photographed, and all the discoveries are being monitored by the archaeologists at Suffolk County Council.

The find has created a bit of a stir. Yesterday I did a live interview on Mark Murphy’s breakfast show on BBC Radio Suffolk and the round house has also been featured in the Ipswich Star, East Anglian Daily Times and Colchester Gazette.

Once the archaeologists have checked a significant stretch of the route, the team from McNicholas will start digging the trenches for the cabling. The scheme itself is split into two phases.

Phase one includes:
• the removal of 21km of overhead lines, which will improve the appearance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Protection Areas along the rivers and coastline
• two circuits of 16km of 132,000-volt cable laid between Ipswich and Felixstowe
• two circuits of 10.5km of 33,000-volt cable laid between Nacton and Felixstowe
• new equipment installed near Levington to improve reliability of supplies to the Martlesham area

Phase two
Due to start mid-2017, will see:

• directional drilling under the rivers Orwell and Stour – a distance of 1.1km and 1.7km respectively – effectively linking the peninsulas together
• 12km of 33,000-volt cable laid between Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich

The whole project is due to be completed by the end of 2018 and I am sure there will be a lot more interesting events during that time.

I’ll keep you posted.

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