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TVAS News: St. Mary's School, Wantage

The first phase of archaeological works carried out at St Mary’s School, Wantage on behalf of Berkeley Homes Ltd during spring 2008. The excavations revealed evidence for human activity ranging from the Mesolithic to the Medieval period. Most of the activity was focused around the late Saxon to Medieval period. The features included boundary ditches, rubbish pits, a medieval well and possibly a large timber built structure. The finds ranged from Mesolithic flint blades, Roman Samian ware pottery, Saxon and Medieval pottery. The highlights among the finds include a Saxon coin from the reign of King Burgred (AD852-874) who was the last independent king of Mercia. It is a type D coin and was minted late in the reign of this unfortunate king, who abdicated and had to flee from the Vikings. At the bottom of the well a complete Medieval jug (Boarstall Ware) which appears to have been dropped in by an individual using the well during the 13th century. Intriguingly a single crouched female burial of unknown date at present was found. No grave goods were found with her and she appears to have been under 20 when she died. The date and the causes of death are at present unknown, but future analysis will hopefully reveal her interesting story. The second phase of work is due to begin in August 2008.

Click on the image thumbnails below for larger versions:

The obverse of the Burgred coin. The reverse of the Burgred coin.

View of the crouched female burial of unknown date. View of the postholes and sunken feature which could be the remains of a large timber-built structure.

The complete Medieval Boarstall Ware jug that was found at the bottom of the well.