Thames Valley Archaeological Services Monograph: Volume 24
Bronze Age, Saxon and Medieval Evidence from Wantage, Oxfordshire: Excavations at St Mary’s and St Gabriel’s Schools
by James Lewis
Archaeological excavations close to the modern town centre of Wantage revealed a dense complex of mostly medieval features on two large parcels of land, thought to lie within the town as it was in late medieval times. The continuous occupation sequence, however, commenced in the late Saxon period with the construction of a circular or oval enclosure, various small enclosures, pens, buildings, workshops and other features and a substantial boundary ditch to the south. Finds include pottery suggesting a high status centre, supporting the view of Wantage as a Saxon royal estate. Medieval activity expanded in the 11th century with further redefinition and reorganisation which continued until the 13th or 14th century when all this activity ceased. Subsequent use of the sites was light, expect for re-cutting of the boundary ditch well into the 16th century.
The earliest finds and features were of prehistoric date with a few struck flints of Mesolithic and later date, but notably an urned cremation cemetery of Middle Bronze Age date with one urned burial radiocarbon dated to 1403-1268 BC. Early and Middle Saxon finds and deposits were few but included an inhumation burial dated to AD 775-887. Yet the range of pottery included high status vessels and whilst the focus of a contemporary settlement has not yet been revealed it is possible that the villa regia documented by AD849 lies close by. Finally, the area was orchard and fields in the 18th and 19th centuries
A4 soft cover, 49pp, illustrated throughout including 10 colour plates: