Cookies Policy

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to accept these cookies. To get more information about these cookies and the processing of your personal data, check our Cookies Policy.


Museum Exhibits Local Brett Quarry Findings

Important archaeological findings excavated at Brett Aggregates’ Brightlingsea Quarry, Essex, have been exhibited at the nearby Brightlingsea Museum.

The archaeological study phase is an essential part of the pre works before a quarry becomes operational, sometimes discovering notable historical finds.


Archaeological finds being displayed at Brightlingsea Museum


A Roman harpy statue, found at Brett Aggregates' nearby Brightlingsea quarry site

This was certainly the case several years ago at Brett Aggregates’ Brightlingsea Quarry, where excavation works unearthed an assortment of valuable archaeological findings, including those dating back from Roman and Anglo-Saxon times. One of the most important finds by the Colchester Archaeological Trust was a leaded-bronze ‘harpy’ figurine, believed to be made in southern Italy sometime in the early to mid 1st Century. Archaeologists claim that its design reflects the new styles of material culture carried over to Britain following the Roman conquest.

“The archaeological potential for this land was known before we started considering a development scheme,” says Simon Treacy, Planning Director for the Brett Group.  “The finds we encountered during the extraction phase were particularly interesting, especially those from the Roman era. These finds are now being housed at the Colchester Museum, however the nearby Brightlingsea Museum was really interested in displaying one in particular – the Roman ‘harpy’. This is a rare find, quite well preserved, and fits in with the area with its rich history from the Roman era.”


Sponsored by Brett Group, and supported by the Colchester Archaeological Trust, Brightlingsea Museum hosted a temporary exhibit, offering an insight into the early settlements and their artefacts. A preview event was joined by renowned archaeologist, Ian Meadows, who was able to offer his expert perspective on the findings. Information boards detailing some of the discoveries were also displayed around the exhibit, providing visitors with historical knowledge of the local area.

Other significant findings included an iron sickle and pyramidal mount, both intact and from the Anglo–Saxon period. The mount is believed to be from a decorative fitting on an early Anglo-Saxon sword, indicating a person of high status. Additional discoveries around the Quarry have helped paint a picture of the different people that once called the land their home. This includes evidence of fourteen Anglo-Saxon huts, along with large amounts of pottery and loom weights – rings made of clay to hold bundles of thread.

Simon added: “We normally organise exhibitions, school visits and publish material as part of the educational programme around local archaeological finds at our quarry sites and, in collaborating with Brightlingsea Museum, we were really pleased to have these finds being displayed at this open day. The event was very well attended by different members of the community, many of whom were eager to see the Roman harpy in person!”