The find is likely to be a type of Romano-British pottery known as “South East Glazed Ware”.

Rare archaeological find could be the first time unique pottery seen in the South West

Archaeologists excavating a site where Iron Age, Roman, and early medieval communities lived for more than a thousand years have unearthed pottery believed to have never been seen before in the South West.

The high-quality fragment of a cup shows that ancient farmers and ironworkers in South Devon could afford quality goods and had an affluent lifestyle.

The find is likely to be a type of Romano-British pottery known as “South East Glazed Ware”. It’s thought to have been produced in South East England in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD. It was found at the weekend by a local volunteer who was part of the team excavating a site near Ipplepen, close to Newton Abbot.

It is thought to be the first time that this type of glazed pottery has been found in South West England by archaeologists.

The cup would have been expensive at the time. It could have been a treasured personal possession brought to the area by someone who had lived elsewhere, or it could have belonged a local family who acquired it through trade.

The Ipplepen site was home to farmers and ironworkers for 1,200 years from around the 4th century BC to the 8th century AD. Archaeologists have also found they had a taste for exotic imported food and drink because of the remains of food vessels discovered in the area.

University of Exeter archaeologists have been excavating different parts of the site during the past few years and have been digging again this month. They are joined by ten members of the local community who are helping them to excavate the area thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The find will be on display to members of the public (for free) until Thursday 29th June at Ipplepen Methodist Church on East St, Ipplepen, which is open from 10.00 am to 4.00pm.

Professor Stephen Rippon, who is leading the excavation, said: “This is an exciting and incredibly rare find. It is in fantastic condition, and only looks 100 years old, let alone 1,800 years old. It was discovered in the area where a roundhouse would have been, in what we think would have been a well back-filled with rubbish. Someone threw it away - along with other domestic refuse, animal bones and other food waste - probably because it had broken.

“This pot would have been made after the time when the Roman army had left Devon and when Exeter was being established as a major Roman city. It is even more special that it was found by one of our volunteers, which we are able to have on site thanks to the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund”.

Date: 27 June 2017