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An exploratory archaeological dig has been carried out in the field off Common Mead Lane, Gillingham, where developers Fairfax want to build 85 new homes.

common mead lane archaeology
A sign about the dig, posted next to the field.

A mechanical digger has been used to dig lengthy trenches in areas across the proposed site, to see if there are any important archaeological remains in the area.

The work, being carried out by AC Archaeology Ltd from Chicklade, was commissioned by the developers at the request of planning authority Dorset Council.

In a statement Dorset Council said: ‘The site at Common Mead Lane is considered to have some archaeological potential owing to its proximity of the Medieval moated site at Thorngrove Farm just to the south-west of the site.

‘The Council’s Senior Archaeologist has requested that the applicant undertake some investigative trial trenching in order to enable an informed decision in relation to any underground heritage assets. The results of the investigation will be published in due course.’

The proposed housing development is strongly opposed by many local residents and Gillingham Town Council has voted to recommend refusal of the application.

However, it is up to Dorset Council whether to approve the scheme or not.

archaeology dig Common Mead lane Gillingham
The dig at the field off Common Mead Lane, February 2021.
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