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Neolithic axe unearthed during archaeological excavation near A382

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A number of important prehistoric artefacts have been found during an archaeological excavation close to the A382 widening near Newton Abbot.

As part of the road improvement scheme, archaeological mitigation works are being undertaken between the A382 and Howton Road by professional archaeologists from SLR Consulting and Devon-based AC archaeology, on behalf of Devon County Council.

The far eastern part of the scheme passes close to a likely prehistoric settlement. Finds so far include a Neolithic flint axe which was burnt before being buried in a pit, causing it to break into four pieces. Prehistoric pottery was also discovered in the pit containing the axe.

Work on the first phase of the A382 widening is expected to be completed by the end of April. The main contract work on the adjoining A382-A383 link which will provide improved infrastructure between Forches Cross and Howton Road is due to commence in the late Spring and is anticipated to be on site for nine months.

Temporary traffic lights currently remain in place while utilities are diverted. Over the coming weeks footpaths will be constructed, fencing installed, and surfacing and lining work will be carried out.

The scheme, which aims to improve safety and unlock economic growth, is being funded by Devon County Council, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP) and Teignbridge District Council.

Photo of Councillor Andrea Davis
Councillor Andrea Davis

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Development, said: “We’re nearing completion of this initial phase of improvements around the A382, which is such an important development for growth in this part of the county. The excavations by the archaeologists in the area where the A382/A383 connection road will be developed is an integral part of the project and I’m delighted that they have yielded such interesting finds.”

Photo of Councillor George Gribble
Councillor George Gribble

Councillor George Gribble, Devon County Councillor for Bovey Rural, said: “Finding ancient artefacts such as these are of great historical interest and I am glad they are being exposed and kept for our heritage.”

Contractor Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd, is carrying out the work on behalf of Devon County Council.