Southminster in 2015 saw the first ACA test pitting excavation in the small town, where 12 x 1m2 test pits were located in the back gardens of private properties on Hall Road, North Street, High Street, King’s Road and Burnham Road. There were also two test-pits located at the Southminster Residential Home on Station Road and two on the King George V Playing Fields with an additional pit dug in the school grounds by the primary school children. The rest of the digging was undertaken by 9 pupils from Ormiston Rivers Academy, William de Ferrers School and The Plume School.
The initial findings suggest a cluster of medieval pottery around St Leonard’s church which is still central to the modern town. One piece of Bronze Age pottery was found on this HEFA in TP 6 on King’s Road, located on higher ground overlooking the marshes to the east. Other prehistoric settlements are known in Southminster, so this could possibly relate to that. Three additional sites of Roman pottery were also recorded from the southern pits and the focus of the medieval settlement was along Station Road from where the church is now and heading east. There seems to have been a slight contraction of the village during the 14th century, likely due to the Black Death, but the town gradually continued to expand from the 15th century and later to the modern town we see today.