THE ground that will be the site for Oxford’s biggest housing developments in a generation could reveal how food was supplied to the city in medieval times.

Archaeologists will carry out a dig at the Barton Park development site before construction of 885 new homes, a 315-primary school and a community hub starts on the land west of Barton.

Oxford City Council archaeologist David Radford said the Barton Park site was a “valuable patch of information”.

He added: “Oxford was an important medieval town and we could understand more about the food supply .”

Mr Radford said the land could also contain traces of the livestock which was farmed and pottery.

A desk-based assessment of the site has already taken place and highlighted the potential for Neolithic and Iron Age remains, as well as Anglo Saxon remains in the south-eastern part of the site.

The assessment also identified a high possibility for medieval and post-medieval agriculture features to be found.

The dig is expected to begin in September and it is anticipated the fieldwork will take about eight weeks to complete by a team consisting of a project officer, six project archaeologists and a senior project manager.

A previous dig by Cotswold Archaeology in 2012 found agriculture findings in the form of plough furrows.

Mr Radford added: “The Barton Park site is located within the historic parish of Headington and contains traces of ridge and furrow earthworks belonging to the open fields of the parish, which were enclosed in 1802.

“A programme of archaeological trial trenching by Cotswold Archaeology took place at the site and beneath a ridge and furrow the archaeologists found an earlier pattern of ditches dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries that are likely to be part of a previously unrecorded agricultural landscape of fields, paddocks and droveways.”

City councillor for Barton Van Coulter added he would be “very surprised” if evidence of historic activity was not found in the area.

He added: “From my knowledge of the area, there’s quite a lot of evidence of a series of occupations adjacent to the development. Stone Age artefacts, including flint shards are common, then with a Roman road through Barton it’s known that pottery kilns were established in the vicinity.

“The Roman road runs under Bayards School, but Roman activity is particularly evident in Old Headington.”