Excavations carried out in 2014 at Lower Easton Farm, Pylle, commissioned by Pylle Solar Energy Ltd, revealed evidence for Iron Age and Romano-British activity. This took the form of a small farmstead probably dating to the Middle Iron Age and a much more extensive field system and trackway dating to the middle−late Romano-British period. Finds from the excavations suggest earlier Romano-British activity, however, and an unexcavated presumed villa site lies close by and is likely to be associated. 

The site lies 0.5 km east of the Fosse Way Roman road (the modern A37) linking Exeter and Lincoln. A possible villa site (Somerset Historic Environment Record 15053) lies approximately 0.5 km south-west, as evidenced by a concentration of high-status Roman building material recovered during fieldwalking (Somerset Historic Environment Record 12222). 

Our Approach

A cultural heritage assessment and geophysical surveys highlighted the potential for remains of a field system possibly relating to the supposed Roman villa to the south-west of the site. The potential for prehistoric features was also highlighted. Given the size of the site, a staged programme of archaeological mitigation was proposed, with the aim of facilitating the preservation by record of several sample areas with the highest archaeological potential, and the preservation in situ of the remaining identified archaeological resource. Seven excavation areas were stripped with Areas 1−3 and 7 targeted on concentrations of geophysical anomalies, with Areas 4, 5 and 6 acting as a control sample. These three areas contained no archaeological features, while Area 3 revealed only modern drainage gullies. The excavation areas totalled 0.39 ha, and this allowed detailed information concerning the more extensive remains to be gathered, providing a general characterisation of the archaeological resource. 

 

Our Results 

A summary report has been published in the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (volume 161 pages 91−94).

The full report on the site may be viewed on Scribd or downloaded below.