THAMES VALLEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL SERVICES
Occasional Paper 16: Earlier and Later Neolithic Pits, Middle Iron Age Burials and Iron Age and Roman Enclosure at Highbury Avenue, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Despite extensive truncation of the site by foundations and terracing from the buildings of a former school, multi-period remains survived to be excavated. The likely presence of remains on the site had first been recognised by aerial photography before the school was built. The earliest prehistoric activity was represented by single examples of early and middle Neolithic pits. This was followed by Iron Age enclosure and occupation, along with eleven inhumation burials certainly or probably of Middle Iron Age date. Four of the burials were radiocarbon dated to between 376-152 cal. BC. Subsequent occupation continued into the Late Iron Age and early Roman period with the digging of another enclosure ditch. There followed an hiatus until later Roman re-occupation of the site with further ditch digging, probably forming another enclosure.
A4 soft cover, 59pp, illustrated throughout including 10 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 17: Archaeological Investigations in Sussex: Prehistoric and Roman features in Selsey, Worthing, Angmering and Horsham, and Medieval occupation in Hailsham, Horsham and Crawley
This collection of shorter papers details the findings of nine small excavations undertaken at locations across Sussex. The volume starts with a cluster of flint- and pottery- rich Earlier Neolithic pits at Worthing, followed by Bronze Age finds at Selsey and Angmering. A single Iron Age roundhouse at Broadbridge Heath, Horsham is notable for the rarity of such sites as yet recorded for the Weald. This is followed by Roman occupation at two locations in Worthing.
The remaining papers belong to the Medieval period, with sites at Hailsham, Barns Green, near Horsham and two sites in Crawley both with evidence of iron production for which the Crawley region is well known.
A4 soft cover, 123pp, illustrated throughout including 42 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 18: Roman and Post-medieval landscape features at Manor Farm, Kempsford, Gloucestershire
Over the course of eleven campaigns of archaeological excavation, covering an area approximately 1.5km by 0.5km, several phases of land use were defined. Dating is problematical but both early and late Roman elements can be identified, along with at least two post-medieval phases, and it is considered likely that some features on the site were pre-Roman (Iron Age), including a single, discontinuous boundary some 750m long. It is clear that a large parcel of landscape in the south-west of the site was divided up according to a single scheme in the Roman period, the basic elements of which (a ditched trackway and very large fields) lasted through Roman remodelling and appear to have influenced the post-medieval layout as well. A second, apparently unconnected, Roman field system occupies the north-east of the site. Finds of all kinds were rare and environmental evidence sparse, but molluscan analysis, nearly all from what have turned out to be post-medieval features, suggests the area was damp, perhaps water meadow, throughout that period. The disconnectedness of the Roman landscape elements supports the case for seeing this landscape as parcelled up on a large scale, yet at the same time piecemeal, with a density of a farm every kilometre or so.
A4 soft cover, 115pp, illustrated throughout including 18 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 19: Archaeological Excavations on Four Sites in Winchester, Hampshire
This volume brings together the results of archaeological excavations on four small sites in the historic city of Winchester, in Hampshire: two in the historic core of the medieval town, two just on its outskirts.
The periods represented vary from site to site. On Northbrook Avenue in the eastern suburb of St Giles, a Neolithic pit, undated but possibly Saxon burials, and a post-medieval ditch form an eclectic mix. Hazelnut shell from the Neolithic pit provided a radiocarbon date at the beginning of the 3rd millennium cal. BC. A case is made for the ditch (which is not intrinsically well dated) forming part of a Civil War earthwork, as it corresponds with an earthwork mapped as apparently already ancient in 1791.
At Little Minster Street in the heart of the medieval town, early Roman occupation is unexpectedly joined by another Neolithic pit, all sealed by a succession of later Roman and medieval deposits.
At Hyde Abbey Road on the northern edge of the medieval town, a long sequence of land-use begins in the late Saxon period and covers the medieval and early post-medieval periods, attesting to considerable efforts at drainage on land that was probably farmed from the Abbey and remained susceptible to flooding.
Finally at Southgate Street, there is evidence for an early Roman west-east street surface, medieval buildings and further street surfaces.
A4 soft cover, 88pp, illustrated throughout including 11 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 20: Archaeological Excavations in Hampshire
Small archaeological excavations on five sites provided varied results from a range of periods. At Scratchface Lane, Bedhampton, a single pit, rich in burnt flint has been radiocarbon dated to the middle Bronze Age. The main finding, however, was an early Iron Age occupation site consisting of two post-built roundhouse structures, a pit cluster, and linear features. No Roman features that might be associated with the projected Roman road to the north were present.
At Peronne Road, Hilsea, in Portsmouth, apart from one gully, which may be Roman, the datable features appear to represent occupation during the mid to late Bronze Age, medieval and post-medieval periods. The investigations provided new evidence for medieval occupation beyond the supposed limits of medieval Hilsea.
From St Mary’s Street in Southampton comes further evidence for occupation within the middle Saxon settlement of Hamwic, succeeded by several phases of medieval occupation, including road surfaces that may be earlier versions of St Mary Street.
At Bloswood Lane Whitchurch two small area excavations examined a collection of Late Neolithic features including a Grooved Ware pit. Most notable, however, was a hollow infilled with burnt flint-rich deposits which may indicate activities similar to those which produced ‘burnt mounds’ which are more typical of the Bronze Age.
Finally at Wickham, there were deposits relating to late Iron Age and Roman occupation, including a trackway defined by parallel gullies which appears to have originated in the late Iron Age but is precisely on the projected line of the Roman road from Chichester to Bitterne, and was still in use in the 2nd century AD. Later pits (3rd century) were dug between the gullies and thus suggest that the road had gone out of use by that time. An unusual sherd of black samian is a notable find amongst the small pottery assemblage.
A4 soft cover, 109pp, illustrated throughout including 25 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 21: Archaeological Excavations on Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Medieval Sites in Reading and Wokingham, Berkshire
Archaeological excavations on three sites around the south-eastern perimeter of modern Reading have led to the discovery of unexpected evidence for several periods in the area’s past. At Ridgeway School, a late Bronze Age burnt mound provided two radiocarbon dates and was accompanied by broadly contemporary pits. Occupation continued into the early Iron Age, and was resumed in the late Iron Age or early Roman period and lasted until middle Roman times, with abandonment, in or not long after AD274, being marked by the deposition of a coin hoard which the owner was never able to recover.
At Matthews green Farm, a middle Iron Age farm represented by a roundhouse, perhaps rebuilt twice, an animal pen, and a few pits was occupied for, probably, a short period around 400BC. Its inhabitants were engaged in iron production as well as farming. In the Roman period, occupation took place on a new site to the north, but again seems to have been a modest, largely self-sufficient farm. A surprising result of radiocarbon dating was the discovery that pits which had been considered to be charcoal clamps related to the Iron Age iron production were in fact medieval.
At Croft Road in Spencers Wood, the more modest discovery of a middle Iron Age field system is nevertheless also of some interest as here, as with all three sites, the chronology is supported by a programme of radiocarbon dating.
An extensive list of the monetiform objects recovered during the excavation can be downloaded by clicking the following Link
A4 soft cover, 79pp, illustrated throughout including 20 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 22: A Bronze Age Cemetery and Field System, and Iron Age Occupation at Downton Manor Farm, Downton, Hampshire
This paper combines the results of archaeological excavations between 2010 and 2015, by Thames Valley Archaeological Services and Southern Archaeological Services, at Downton, near Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire. A combination of fieldwalking, geophysical survey and trial trench evaluation over a large area (18ha) in advance of mineral extraction had suggested that the site held only moderate archaeological interest, but excavation revealed a concentrated area of archaeological interest in the north-east corner.
The earliest features were a series of ditches with rectilinear plan, thought to represent a middle Bronze Age organized landscape. This was followed by evidence of Bronze Age burial both as ring ditches (levelled burial mounds) and urned cremation burials (although the urns in fact contained very little burnt bone).
Later occupation of Iron Age date included a ditched enclosure, roundhouses, both post-built and ring-gully type, and rare middle Iron Age cremation burial (radiocarbon dated). Other than the (highly fragmented) cremation urns themselves, finds were disappointingly scarce. The chronology of the site is, however, supported by a programme of radiocarbon dating.
A4 soft cover, 47pp, illustrated throughout including 14 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 23: Bronze Age, Roman and Early Anglo-Saxon Occupation on Land to the South of Kings Reach, Ditton Park, Slough, Berkshire
Archaeological excavation in advance of construction of Ditton Park Academy has examined a site with a long history of use, from the later Bronze Age through to the medieval period.
The prehistoric phases on the site have proved difficult to date more closely than Bronze Age to Iron Age, but there are hints that phases include Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age and early-middleIron Age. The post-built roundhouses, of which as many as six were found, must represent at least three phases of building which could be later Bronze Age or earlier Iron Age.
A ditched enclosure can be given only a broad Iron Age date, but was recut in the Roman period, which also sees the creation of a second, more regular enclosure. Usually, a site occupied in the Roman period will produce considerably greater quantities of finds than an Iron Age one, but here there was a marked reduction in the amount of pottery. Either the Roman occupation was extremely short-lived, or this area was well away from the core of any settlement.
The more noteworthy results involve the early Anglo-Saxon period. Although represented by just two Sunken Featured Buildings (SFB), and a handful of other features, they produced more finds and more important information. It is the two radiocarbon dates on residues from Anglo-Saxon pottery which are particularly significant with regard to the end of Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon settlement. The Thames Valley is considered to have been well colonized by the later 5th century. The dating here of two demonstrably Anglo-Saxon artefacts, one to the late 4th century, the other possibly as early, or not much later, are difficult to explain unless Anglo-Saxon colonization is already well underway before the end of the 4th century, still within Roman times.
A4 soft cover, 47pp, illustrated throughout including 9 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 24: Micheldever and King's Worthy, Winchester, Hampshire: Archaeological Excavations in 2013
This volume brings together the results of archaeological excavations on two sites to the north of Winchester.
The main report features Saxon, medieval and early post-medieval occupation in Micheldever, where, other than one possible Iron Age pit, the earliest features date to the early-middle Saxon period. Despite a higher density of features in the later Saxon period, no building remains were identified. There is some evidence of iron smithing and quarrying. The medieval occupation spans four phases from the 11th to the 16th century, but with very little evidence after the 14th. An early and long-lived trackway and a field/paddock possibly formed part of a manorial enclosure. A timber-framed building dates to the earliest medieval phase, with more evidence for smithing and quarrying. Nothing indicates especially high status however, and archaeologically visible activity dwindles through the medieval period.
In the 16th century a major change sees buildings and formal gardens probably related to the estate of Thomas Wriothesley, later Lord Chancellor. It has been thought that remains uncovered in the 1970s, immediately to the west, were of Wriothesley’s main hall, so it is possible that the buildings here were outhouses or barns.
A smaller site in King’s Worthy is chiefly notable for its proximity to the sites of Iron Age ‘banjo’ enclosures and a Roman villa, both Scheduled. The excavation provided new evidence for late Iron Age occupation and a small cremation cemetery. A small quantity of Roman pottery recovered from an enclosure ditch suggests it remained open into the early Roman period.
A4 soft cover, 111pp, illustrated throughout including 14 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 25: Middle Iron Age, Late Iron Age and Roman Occupation at Hatch Farm, Winnersh, Reading, Berkshire
This volume presents the results of archaeological investigations over a large area in advance of a major housing development in central Berkshire. Although, under the requirements of the development planning process, increasing attention is being paid to the archaeology of this middle part of the Thames valley, it remains less intensively and extensively explored than either areas upstream or further east.
The excavation of one large, and several small, areas within an overall site of almost 50ha has revealed the presence of middle and late Iron Age and early Roman deposits in the form of field systems and a farmstead, with five round houses and a series of enclosures. Three small square enclosures are of uncertain function and date but may also be middle Iron Age. A reasonably large pottery assemblage is supported by a series of radiocarbon dates, but other artefacts and ecofacts were surprisingly sparse. The site seems to have been occupied from the 5th century BC until the 4th century AD, although it is unclear if this was more or less continuous, or episodic, but at least the Roman phases all appear to build directly upon one another with no obvious sign of discontinuity in layout. The inhabitants do not appear to have been wealthy at any point in this lengthy occupation, but the mere survival of the site for so long runs contrary to a regional trend, which sees few Late Iron Age, much less Middle Iron Age, sites, survive beyond the early Roman period.
A4 soft cover, 77pp, illustrated throughout including 19 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 26: Archaeological Excavations on Roman, Saxon and Medieval Sites in Harwell and Longcot, Oxfordshire
This volume presents the results from three excavations in the Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire: two side by side on Blenheim Hill in Harwell and one in nearby Longcot.
On the larger of the Harwell sites, a series of Roman enclosures and land divisions along with pits, a corn drier and a coin hoard were identified. The site may have been first used as a work-place in the Mesolithic, but the main phases were one early Roman and three late Roman episodes, with an apparent hiatus from the 2nd to early 3rd century. A few sherds of Saxon pottery hint that the last phase continued into the 5th century. Two deposits of cremated human bone (three individuals) were undated but might belong to the early Roman period.
Just across the road, the second excavation found further later Roman enclosures but nothing of early Roman date. Four Middle Saxon inhumation burials, two of which were radiocarbon dated, were located within the area that was possibly still marked by the latest Roman enclosure. A possible Bronze Age pit points to prehistoric activity on the site.
Further west in Longot, the third site revealed a dense sequence of field boundary ditches spanning several phases in the early Roman period (2nd century AD) and early Medieval period (11th–13th centuries AD), with just a few other features (pits and post holes) of both periods. Prehistoric and later Roman activity is reflected only in residual finds. Although no direct (structural) evidence of occupation on the site was found for either period, the quantity of pottery indicates that settlement can be expected not far away. This is the first indication of Roman occupation in Longcot.
A4 soft cover, 111pp, illustrated throughout including 21 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 27: An Early to Middle Iron Age Settlement at the Former Elvian School, Reading, Berkshire
This volume presents the results from excavations of an Iron Age settlement densely used from at least the start of the 5th century BC through to perhaps the 1st century BC/AD. The early and middle phases on the site are marked by an unenclosed complex of ring gully structures, pits and postholes with little evidence of organized space except for a trackway defined by fences and gullies that was maintained through the whole use of the site and never encroached upon. Several of the ring gullies had been remodelled on three or four occasions and there is clear time depth to the occupation. The ring gullies provided radiocarbon dates commencing in the 5th/4th centuries BC into the 3rd/2nd centuries BC. The part of the site occupied by the ring gullies may have gone out of use in the 1st century BC, to be overlain by an enclosure complex that included the existing trackway which was now defined by more substantial ditches. It is not clear that these late enclosures were occupied.
A single gully was of Middle Bronze Age date and a few struck flints may be of Mesolithic, Neolithic or Bronze Age date. One pit also produced a radiocarbon date in the 8th/7th century BC suggesting that use of the site may have commenced earlier than suggested by the structural evidence. A few sherds of probable Saxon pottery point to a little activity of this period in the area.
The economic evidence recovered was partial with no bone survival, but charred plant remains indicated a typical range of wheat and barley cultivation though there was little evidence for above- or below-ground storage. A little slag suggested small scale smithying on the site.
A4 soft cover, 52pp, illustrated throughout including 16 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 28: Archaeological Excavations on Sites of Bronze Age and Iron Age Occupation in Kent, 2014-2016
The five chapters in this volume detail archaeological excavations in advance of development on sites in Maidstone, Marden, Lenham, Iwade and Wrotham, in central and north-western Kent. All five of the sites revealed middle or later Bronze Age features, chiefly pit clusters At Orchard Farm, Iwade, late Iron Age occupation and a small cremation cemetery were also present.
Each of the sites reported in this volume might be considered of only modest significance in itself, but in combination they add to what has until recently been a very patchy record of Bronze Age occupation in north-west Kent. Finds were generally not prolific, although Iwade yielded a fairly substantial pottery assemblage.
Chronologies for the sites at Maidstone and Marden are supported by radiocarbon dates.
A4 soft cover, 85pp, illustrated throughout including 32 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 29: Earlier Neolithic Pits and Late Iron Age Settlement at Littleworth Road, Benson, Oxfordshire
housing development on the northern outskirts of Benson, close to the River Thames in Oxfordshire.
The earliest finds were a cluster of four earlier Neolithic pits, two of which were radiocarbon dated to c. 3600–3500 cal BC. They contained a range of flint and pottery finds with charred hazelnut shells but no cereals, along with part of the skull of a child. The Bronze Age was represented by a single Middle Bronze Age pit and a scatter of residual pottery finds.
The main findings dated to the Late Iron Age, when ditches were dug marking enclosures and other boundaries. A rich grave was located outside the enclosures: it (and the nearest enclosure ditch) contained a pottery assemblage with an unexpectedly rich imported (Gallo-Belgic) contribution. Cut features within the enclosures were surprisingly few, suggesting that the site may have functioned as a part of the animal husbandry regime and any more intensively occupied areas were located elsewhere. Unusually, the Late Iron Age settlement did not continue in use into early Roman times. A little Saxon pottery and a Medieval trackway were also recorded.
A4 soft cover, 49pp, illustrated throughout including 19 colour plates.
Occasional Paper 30: Archaeological Excavations on two Sites in Tetbury and Twekesbury, Gloucestershire, 2016-2017
This volume details the results of archaeological excavations in advance of development on sites at the northern and southern limits of Gloucestershire.
At Bath Road, Tetbury, a small cluster of pits is probably of early Neolithic date, although the ceramic evidence is somewhat ambiguous. More securely dated is a large L-shaped ditch forming a partial enclosure, which contained Middle Bronze Age pottery and was filling in the third quarter of the 2nd millennium cal BC. A couple of pits also belong to the Middle Bronze Age.
At Bredon Road, Tewkesbury, another group of poorly dated pits is probably Iron Age and associated with the burial of the very incomplete remains of an adult human, radiocarbon dated to the 4th or 3rd century BC. However, most of the features on this site are medieval, perhaps belonging within a relatively short span in the 13th century, and consist of a small ditched enclosure set within a larger, partly open enclosure, probably on, or just beyond, the edge of contemporary settlement.
A4 soft cover, 35pp, illustrated throughout including 18 colour plates.