1. Introduction

All humans require access to water, but how this is achieved varies hugely. This basic importance, far from leading to an exclusive focus on functional needs, has meant that such practices are often deeply imbued with symbolic associations and activities. In what follows, we explore the particular way in which these processes were played out in the context of a Late Roman well at Heslington East, a site just outside the Roman city of Eboracum. Selected assemblages from the well, notably coarseware ceramics and faunal material, are used to elucidate these processes, enhanced by assessing their relationship with site formation processes evidenced by the fills of the feature. This allows us to draw some conclusions about this evidence in relation to similar features, and leads to broader theories of depositional practices.

The argument presented emphasises the need to delve into detailed evidence to understand fully the life history of this feature. This process is positively facilitated by publication in Internet Archaeology, which gives the reader the opportunity to access underlying evidence by linking directly to the site's digital archive (University of York 2013), hosted by the Archaeology Data Service.


Internet Archaeology is an open access journal. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

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File last updated: Fri Jun 21 2013