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Bronze Age discovery at Bridgwater Gateway

The acclaimed location of the new £150 million business park at Bridgwater Gateway in Somerset was also an attraction for Bronze Age people, an archaeological survey has revealed.

Large scale archaeological excavations undertaken before construction work commenced at the 100-acre Bridgwater Gateway site uncovered evidence of settlement and ritual sites spanning around 4,000 years at the site, including remains from the Bronze Age.

A display of the prehistoric archaeology discovered will go on show to the public at an exhibition called ‘Bronze Age Bridgwater’ on Thursday June 14, the day before the official launch of Bridgwater Gateway, which is located near J24 of the M5 motorway and has the slogan ‘All About Location’. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Steve Membery from the South West Heritage Trust, which advised during the planning process that an archaeological survey be undertaken at Bridgwater Gateway, said: “This excavation is the largest investigation of a Bronze Age landscape to have taken place in Somerset, and has revealed significant archaeology that shows Bridgwater as a nexus in prehistory”

“This would have been because of the way in which the River Parrett links with the Severn Estuary, as rivers were effectively the motorways of periods such as the Bronze Age.”

Phil Wade, development manager at Bridgwater Gateway, said: “When we decided on the slogan ‘All About Location’ to reflect Bridgwater Gateway’s superb strategic position, we had no idea that this would have applied as much in prehistoric times as it does today.”

Tim Davies, head of the South West for real estate services company Colliers International, which is marketing Bridgwater Gateway, said: “Bridgwater Gateway’s well-placed geographical position and excellent connections to the motorway are proving to be a particular attraction for potential modern-day occupiers.

“It is fascinating that this archaeological survey has shown that throughout the centuries the accessibility and convenience of this location has attracted people to it.”

During a four month excavation of the Bridgwater Gateway site, archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology discovered a settlement with of a row of four large ditched enclosures, two of which had traces of two circular huts, while the other two appeared to have been used for agricultural purposes.

A particularly significant find was that of a Bronze Age cemetery found 100m south of the settlement. This rare find for the south west region consisted of around 60 cremation burials, tightly clustered on one side of a small 10m wide circular burial mound.

The ‘Bronze Age Bridgwater’ exhibition will be held on Thursday June 14 from 10am to 4pm in the Mendip Suite at Sedgmoor Auction Centre, Bridgwater Gateway.

Artefacts from the excavation that will be on display to the public will include nine large Bronze Age pot sherds and one curated Neolithic polished axe head.

The following day will be the invitation-only launch of Bridgwater Gateway, which will be the newest business park on the M5 corridor. It has planning consent for high-specification commercial space in a landscaped setting, which will include prime industrial buildings and Grade A self-contained offices, two hotels, and a range of local facilities.