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TVAS News: Hitches Lane, Fleet, Hampshire

Archaeologists working at what will become a new housing development north-west of Fleet have been sharing glimpses into prehistoric and Roman life with visitors from the North-east Hampshire Historical and Archaeological Society and Calthorpe Park School.

Some of the earliest evidence dates from the Bronze Age, 3–4000 years ago. A 30m-diameter circle of large timber posts stood on the high ground, surrounding a smaller circle of just five posts. Associated with this the archaeologists found Bronze Age pottery and a Neolithic axe, which must already have been centuries old when it was buried. This may represent a meeting place for the Bronze Age population from many miles around.

Near the timber circles are ditches that marked the boundaries of Bronze Age fields. In one of these, the Bronze Age farmer had laid a complete pot known as a Food Vessel. Inside the pot was a flint blade. This could have been an offering in thanks for the fruitful use of the field.

Moving forwards in time, there is evidence of Roman fields and a Roman timber building, probably a barn. Just outside it was a small furnace. When the building went out of use, a layer of dark earth accumulated over the top, packed with finds left behind when the site was abandoned.

The site was being investigated by Thames Valley Archaeological Services working on behalf of the developer, Berkeley Homes.

Click on the image thumbnails below for larger versions:

View from the south of the excavated Roman building. View of the possible furnace during excavation.

Detail view of the excavated furnace structure. View of the excavated furnace structure and surrounding burnt area.

Hypothetical reconstruction of the Roman building. Interpreted and constructed by Tim Dawson.