A Bronze Age spearhead and a number of Roman artefacts have been found near Ledbury viaduct.

Archaeologists made the finds while excavating land north of the viaduct, ahead of the site’s residential development by Bloor Homes.

Evidence of small-scale Roman activity had been picked up by a geophysical survey but those carrying out the dig say they got more than they bargained for.

A loop-socketed spearhead dates from the Middle Bronze Age (about 3300 to 1200 BC) while a Severn Valley Ware vessel described as being “impressively intact” is from the first or second century AD.

Ledbury Reporter: The spearhead dates to the Middle Bronze AgeThe spearhead dates to the Middle Bronze Age

Archaeologists also found 14 coins, two brooches, fragments of glass, a quern stone (a tool used for hand-grinding materials), a smith’s hammer and a knife, all of Roman origin.

Ditches found in the south-western corner of the site date from the Late Iron Age to Roman periods, while the remains of two structures uncovered alongside Roman pottery suggest the presence of temporary shelters or stores associated with later Roman activity.

Ledbury Reporter: The Severn Valley Ware vessel in the ground and after being cleaned upThe Severn Valley Ware vessel in the ground and after being cleaned up

Cotswold Archaeology, which carried out the work and had severe flooding to contend with, said the complexity of the archaeology found at the viaduct site is evidence of a “small-scale but rich and extended period of activity”.

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Finds manager Ed McSloy explained the significance of the Severn Valley Ware vessel: “Complete pottery vessels are usually only found when deliberately deposited, for example in graves or ‘foundation’ deposits associated with buildings, or sometimes when lost in wells.

“It’s very unusual that this example comes from a ditch and it seems likely it was some form of ritual offering.

Ledbury Reporter: Archaeologists carefully lift the vessel out of the groundArchaeologists carefully lift the vessel out of the ground

“The vessel itself is a carinated bowl made in the reduced (fired grey) version of Severn Valley Ware, which is usually oxidised – fired to an overall pale orange.

“It’s a Roman coarseware type made at various locations across Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, including the Malvern Hills – close to the where the vessel was found.

“This one probably dates to the second century, and was likely used for drinking or perhaps for the serving of some types of foods.”

Ledbury Reporter: Excavations take place at the viaduct siteExcavations take place at the viaduct site

Bloor Homes has outline planning permission to build up to 625 homes on land north of the viaduct, with access coming via Bromyard Road.