The onshore works for East Anglia ONE underground cable have unearthed a historical treasure for the Suffolk area. So far evidence from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period, Anglo-Saxons and into the medieval period has been found, making this one of Europe’s largest archaeological digs this year, according to OrbisEnergy tenant ScottishPower Renewables.
The archaeological excavations have been funded by ScottishPower Renewables, prior to the construction of a 37km underground cable, which will connect the 102 turbines from the East Anglia ONE Offshore wind farm to a new electricity converter station at Bramford.
Wardell Armstrong was commissioned to oversee archaeological works across 60 hectares of Suffolk countryside, working closely with Suffolk County Council. Up to 400 archaeologists have been involved in the work since February, with a peak on-site workforce of around 250 at any given time, as well as 20 members of the Ipswich and District Metal Detector club.
Joanna Young, Stakeholder Manager at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Hundreds of archaeologists and metal detectorists combing over fields in Suffolk is not the first thing you think of when you imagine an offshore windfarm – but it highlights the wide range of efforts needed to build a major energy project like ours.
“We decided early on to invest in underground cables to take power from the offshore windfarm to the National Grid, rather than building pylons. This means laying cables under the ground and roads and rivers and railways across a 37km stretch. We need to make sure that we do this work in a sensitive manner, and it is important to record all items of archaeological significance.”
The cable laying project for East Anglia ONE will begin in the next few months, ScottishPower Renewables said, and construction work is already underway at the onshore substation site in Bramford.
Offshore work begins in 2018, with the 102 Siemens 7MW turbines turbines due to be installed in 2019, before the project is fully operational during 2020.