Summary | Period 0-1 | Period 2 | Period 3 | Period 4-5
Plan of Saxon features | Plan of Medieval features | Plan of Site B
The debris on the berm | Stones at the rear of the bank | Stone-filled ditches | Period 3B
This period is marked by the complete destruction of the stone wall fronting the bank, together with the stone wall part way up the rear of the bank, both of period 2. This resulted in:
It is argued in Part 2 that this phase of destruction was complete and systematic over the whole length of the defences, and that it was effected over a short period with a view to slighting the defences and rendering them ineffective.
The debris on the berm
On the southern defences only the few lowest stones of the back edge of the wall had been preserved in situ [21; 545; 568] (section 1, section 2, section 4 and section 5). Apart from these the wall had been completely dismembered; in trench 1 leaving only an disarticulated pile of stones in its place [1/28] and elsewhere (trench 2) a pile of mixed debris. In Area 2, no stones remained in position, except on the southern side [2/25]; and in Area 3, only the lowest two courses were left [3/7, 3/8]. On the southern side, the preservation of the vertical face of the cut-back front turf revetment of the bank (e.g. section 2) demonstrates that the space formerly occupied by the wall was rapidly backfilled with the products of its destruction [1/28], and that the wall was therefore quickly demolished in one operation [2/6, 2/7, 1/23].
In a number of places on the southern side of the defences, where the deposits were best preserved, the destruction debris on the berm [39, 45; 512] clearly showed the presence of tip lines (section 1, section 2 and section 4) [2/25]. Although the upper parts of this pile of debris suffered later erosion, the disposition of the tip lines (in section 4 for instance [2/25]) show that it originally formed a mound probably at least a metre in height. In places some of the tip lines comprised layers of flat stones (mainly Oolitic Limestone slabs) which extended to the outer edge of the berm (e.g. section 4 ) [2/35]. This formed an apparent feature which has been observed in earlier excavations elsewhere, including Radford's trench R.V, and described by Radford (1972) as a 'setting of stones on the berm'. It is in consequence necessary to point out that these 'settings' are not a deliberately laid feature, but rather the result of a natural sorting process in which the larger stones had tumbled or slid to the lower edge of the pile of debris as it was piled onto the berm and thrown into the ditch. The unstructured layer of mixed stones and mortar over all parts of the inner berm exposed in Areas 1, 2 and 3 (sections 1, 2, 4 and 7 [606, 607] - not illustrated here) [1/27, 1/26, 3/8, 3/10] can be interpreted as the rather less well-preserved and more denuded remains of similar destruction deposits.
The composition of the destruction layer piled onto the berm, which consisted of a high proportion of mortar and small stones, gives some impression of the way the stone wall was built. In some cases the wall appears to have been dismembered and part of it left in a pile on the berm (e.g. section 1), [1/28] while still providing enough large stones to fill the inner and centre ditch [1/6, 1/5]. It can be inferred from the fact that this pile contained so much material which was not suitable for the structural component of the wall, that the wall was not a simple dry stone wall with a bit of mortar thrown in for extra strength. It must, rather, have been one where larger stones were used in probably a rather haphazard fashion, with the interstices filled with a lot of rubbish bonded with a fairly high proportion of mortar. The presence of earth and clay lenses within this layer (e.g. in section 4) show that the bank behind the wall had itself probably been slighted. Some of this had been thrown down the back of the bank as well (see below).
Stones at the rear of the bank
It is to this period that the tumbled blocks of mixed Coral Rag and Oolitic Limestone at the back of the bank  can best be attributed (as in section 4 and section 6). It is inferred that they are the remains of a relatively slight stone wall built along or near the top of this bank in period 2A, which had been thrown over and beyond the intra-mural walkway on to the contemporary ground surface. A large area of these stones was excavated in Area 2 in the angle formed by the intra-mural walkway [2/21, 2/20]. These were contained within the dirty clay layer  which overlay the walkway. The fact that this layer did not contain much mortar suggests that the stone wall at the back of the bank was of dry stone construction. Similar deposits have been observed on other parts of defences (see Part 2).
The destruction of the wall also resulted in the filling of the two inner ditches [1/3, 1/6, 1/4, 1/5; 3/4, 3/1, 3/12; 2/33, 2/38, 2/34, 2/29, 2/30]. In every place where it was examined, except in trench 4, both the inner and central ditches were partially or completely filled with stones and rubble, including large faced stones up to 400 x 150mm in size, flatter stones of Oolitic Limestone and blocks of Coral Rag (see section 1, section 3, section 6 and section 7). In trench 4 it is probable that a stone-filled ditch had been re-excavated in period 4 (section 4). From the fact that many of the stones in the ditches were large, and some of them faced, it can be inferred that the destruction of the wall was not a casual (even if thorough) episode of stone robbing, but rather a deliberate attempt to raze the wall and, by filling at least the inner ditch, to eliminate the defensive potential of the fortifications. Similar deposits have also been observed in other sections across the ditches (see Part 2). The fact that in all cases the stones formed the lowest recognisable layer in the ditches (in trench 7 in the period 2c recut - section 7) showed that they had been cleaned out shortly before they had been filled.
The presence of the stone-filled inner ditch in Area 1 gives a very good impression of the scale and thoroughness of this process [1/6, 1/4] (section 1). The stones from the razed wall, some of which were of considerable size, must have been carried or hurled at least 10m across the inner berm to have achieved the result observed. It is indeed probable that the ditch was here overfilled, ending up as a pile rather than a hollow. While much of the debris on the berm at this point has been removed in the construction of the palisade trench and the ditch of period 4, the enormous piles of debris shown in sections 1, 2 and 4 [2/25] demonstrate the scale of the operation (section 1, section 2, section 4).
The debris on the berm had in all places suffered considerable erosion and degradation before the reconstruction of the defences in Period 4. The stone-filled ditches were completely covered with mixed dirty clay and earth which had clearly accumulated over a relatively long period section 1 [15, 18, 20, 52, 54] ; section 6 [505, 535, 548, 549]; section 7 [613, 621, 624]. In Area 1 small pits filled with dark humus had been dug into the pile of stones still remaining on the line of the wall [1/8, 1/9, 1/10], which suggests that these stones were later excavated for use elsewhere - though in a very casual and unsystematic manner. There was no dating evidence for these features, which could therefore belong to any period after period 3A. To the rear of the bank thick layers of dirty clay  accumulated over the intra-mural walkway and the destruction deposits of period 3A (e.g. section 4) [2/39]. It is clear that after the destruction of the stone wall and ditches in period 3A, the defences were allowed to degrade for a considerable period without further attention, let alone modification.
It is perhaps of some significance that for some time after the initial episode of destruction in period 3A, when many tonnes of good reusable stones would have been strewn around the front and rear of the bank, there seems to have been little demand for their reuse as building material.
Summary | Period 0-1 | Period 2 | Period 3 | Period 4-5
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Last updated: Mon Jul 7 2003