Scottish Power Renewables has been forced to re-route onshore cable routes for its East Anglia One offshore wind farm after archaeologists unearthed a Neolithic trackway on the planned route.
The timber trackway, dating from 2,300BC, extends for around 30m and other finds were located close to the route including a horned aurochs skull, arrowheads, pottery and metal.
The 37km long onshore cable route runs from Bawdsey around the north of Ipswich to a new substation and is being constructed through a mix of open cut methods and horizontal directional drilling.
Onshore work started this year while installation of the suction bucket foundations is underway offshore.
Wardell Armstrong archaeologists associate director Richard Newman said: “Undoubtedly this is a site of international archaeological significance. It is exceptionally rare to find preserved organic materials from the Neolithic period, and we will learn a great deal from this discovery.
“Some of the wood is so well preserved we can clearly see markings made by an apprentice, before a more experienced tradesman has taken over to complete the job. Initially some of the wooden posts looked like they were maybe one hundred years old, and it is incredible to think that they are over 4,000 years old.”
East Anglia One project director Charlie Jordan said that the scheme undertaken archaeological investigations at more than 50 sites. “In the last two years our project has been responsible for uncovering artefacts from the bronze age, iron age, Roman and medieval periods, but it seems that best has been saved to last,” he said.
east anglia one
Earlier this month, Scottish Power Renewables announced that the first two of 102 jacket foundations for the East Anglia One offshore wind farm had been installed by Van Oord 50km off the Suffolk coast.
Each foundation structure is 65m tall and weighs 840t.
Speaking about the progress, East Anglia One project director Charlie Jordan said: “It is a hugely impressive feat of engineering to lift nearly 900t of steel and place it with pinpoint precision in to the North Sea. It is a significant milestone for the project. This is one of the largest offshore windfarms ever to be built and good progress is being made in all areas. As well as the activity offshore, our onshore substation and underground cable route is also taking shape.”
The first turbines are expected to be installed in 2019 and the wind farm is planned to become operational in 2020.