|31 October 2014
Bronze Age settlement in England found using Google Earth
Devonshire treasure hunter Howard Jones trawled satellite images for the sort of terrain that would have offered food, water and shelter for a prehistoric settlement, pinpointing a spot in the South Hams. The former Royal Marine then sought permission from the local landowner before heading down there to scour for remains. He soon unearthed old flint tools, pottery shards and scraps of metal thought to date back 5,000 years.
Howard called in Devon County archaeologist Bill Horner, who carried out a geophysical survey using ground-penetrating radar. According to Horner, "The survey shows two or three probable farmsteads which look to be late prehistoric, bronze age to iron age. Other parts of the underlying settlement possibly continue to the Romano-British period, around 1,500-2,000 years ago. The images also show tracks and enclosures, as well as a number of pits, which alongside Howard's findings, looks like evidence of metal works. We know that Devon's mineral resources were being traded along the coast and along the channel in prehistoric times. While Dartmoor is famous for preserved historic sites, the same is not true of coastal areas. So this could be the missing link between those moorland sites and the evidence we have of trading." Mr Horner has arranged for a series of trench digs, which could take place as early as February 2015.
Howard, a commercial scuba diver, has previously searched for ancient artefacts underwater, and in 2010 he was involved in the discovery of the 300-year-old Dutch merchant vessel Aagtekerke off the Devon coast.
Edited from Express & Echo (22 October 2014)
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