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Northern zone, enclosure system (west of Road 1) - Period 2B

On the imposition of the new settlement infrastructure, the system of enclosure across the northern side of the lower terrace is remodelled. The character of both the enclosure system and the activity within them is distinct from that of the Central Zone. In essence that part of the lower terrace to the north of OA18 and Road 5 is now termed the Northern Zone of the settlement.

Period summary view | Open areas, enclosure systems and roads on the lower terrace

Figure48
Figure 48: Period 2B - Northern Enclosure zone, area west of Road 1 (Open Areas 29-32)

That part of the Northern Zone to the west of newly imposed Road 1 (Figure 48) comprises a series of ditched enclosures that appear to radiate northwards from the north-west corner of Central Zone Open Area 18. A further land entity is judged to lie in between these and the watercourse further north, which presumably denotes the northward extent of this enclosure system (and of the Northern Zone). These enclosures are termed Open Areas 29-32. The evidence for activity within them is described separately.

Ditches 25039 and 25243 (Group 152)

Right-angled ditch 25039 (segs 8230, 8250, 9712) is seemingly laid out with direct reference to Road 1, being orthogonal to it. Some 1.7m wide and 0.6m deep, the major part of this ditch runs on a NNW-SSE alignment for a distance of 60m, parallel to, and roughly 32m west from, Road 1. Its eastward return is only c. 13m long, ending in what was originally recorded as an irregular terminal with a finger-like protrusion. However, it is more likely that the terminal is in fact rounded and that the protrusion is an unrecognised separate rectilinear pit (similar to pit 10108).

Ditch 25243 (seg. 10536) constitutes the eastward continuation of the enclosure boundary, the eastern end of which is truncated by the Period 3 side-ditch 25244 of Road 1. Its relationship with the earliest phase of Road 1 is not established. Although a western terminal is not located, a probable c. 6m entranceway separates the two ditches.

The north side of the enclosure boundary has a simple fill sequence of an orange silty sand and gravel primary weathering accumulation below a dark brown gravelly silt-sand. The west side is more complex and contains a re-cut. This part of the ditch system extends south almost as far as Period 3 east-west ditch 25015, which is speculated to perpetuate a Period 2B boundary in the same position. Pottery suggests an early to mid-1st century date for the infilling of these 152 ditches. Other artefacts include briquetage and loomweight fragments and a ceramic spindlewhorl (SF2241). Animal bone is present only in small quantities.

Together with Road 1, ditches 25039 and 25243 define the extents of Open Area 32.

Ditches 25016 and 25017 (Group 150)

Ditch 25016 (segs 8223, 9234, 9238, 9268, 9342, 9347, 9965) defines the northern end of an enclosure seemingly added to the west of that marked by ditch 25039. From its southern rounded terminal, this ditch runs northward on a NW-SE alignment for a distance of 24m and then turns eastwards through 90°. This NE-SW return is traceable over a distance of 32m before petering-out. However, the pre-excavation plan hints that it in fact continues as far as the corner of right-angled enclosure ditch 25039. Ditch 25016 varies in width between 0.8-1.35m and 0.13-0.36m in depth, perhaps as a result of variable depth of machining. It contains a single fill throughout and shows no sign of re-cutting. The fill includes only small quantities of pottery and daub. The pottery is generally Late Iron Age in character, though the presence of sandy grey ware in excavated segments 8223 and 9347 suggests that deposition may continue into the Roman period. Clearly cutting Period 2A ditch 25024, it underlies all the other features that intersected with it.

Ditch 25017 (segs 9462, 9488, 9496, 9497, 9574) is a more substantial 28m length of ditch that is clearly associated with 25016, extending the boundary southwards. Its northern end lies c. 4m south-east of the southern end of 25016, the gap presumably constituting an entrance approximately half-way along the boundary. This is a broader and deeper cut than 25016, particularly toward its southern end where it is as much as 3.5m wide and 1.1m deep. The ditch seems to be re-cut a number of times.

The relatively large amount of pottery recovered from the fills of 25017 dates their deposition to the mid-1st century AD. The presence of residual pottery, notably a high proportion of Gallo-Belgic platters dating to the earlier part of the 1st century AD, is noted (seg. 9462 also contains an intrusive 4th-century coin).

The differences in dimensions and variations in both artefactual content and dating may suggest that 25017 is more frequently cleaned out than 25016. This may be a consequence of its position nearer the occupied area, represented by Building 15. The narrower southernmost end of the ditch may be a truer reflection of its original width.

Together, 25016 and 25017 define the northern and western sides of an enclosure measuring least 36m (E-W) x 57m (N-S) that tapers to the south. This enclosure is termed Open Area 30.

Ditches 25019 and 25020 (Group 151)

Ditches 25019 and 25020 seemingly represent two phases of the same boundary, running west of, and parallel with, the ditched boundary of Open Area 30 and extending further north to define further land entities.

Initially, the boundary is marked represented by a slight ditch/gully 25020, some 0.1-0.2m deep, which widens towards its south end from 0.3m to as much as 1.25m. Though substantial parts of this ditch are removed by later features or masked by unexcavated deposits, it is likely that segment 9584 constitutes its southern end, where it curves away from the alignment of the west side of Open Area 30 (ditch 25017). The space between 25020 and 25016/25017 is interpreted as a narrow trackway or path, c. 1.6m wide.

The northern continuation of 25020 is subsequently removed by its replacement, 25019, a more substantial ditch that emerges from the north-west edge of excavation and rapidly curves around into a NW-SE alignment down to a rounded, slightly irregular and bulbous, terminal. As exposed, this feature is c. 30m long and averages 1.0m wide and c. 0.5m deep. While a single cut is identified at its north-west end in segment 9020, the southern end clearly displays the presence of re-cut 9250.

It is surely significant that ditch 25019 terminates alongside the corner of enclosure ditch 25016. Although 25019 is a direct replacement of 25020 north of this point and perhaps only constitutes a relatively minor modification to the existing system of land division, south of here it is possible that the track-way between Open Areas 29 and 30 is suppressed and assimilated within OA29.

The fills of both 25019 and 25020 contain small quantities of Roman wares within predominantly grog-tempered assemblages, which suggests that both continued to attract material into the middle of the 1st century AD. By this time, the single sherd of Central Gaulish fine creamed-slipped ware in segment 9646 and the Dressel 1 amphora are probably residual.

That part of the Northern Zone to the west of ditches 25019 and 25020 is termed Open Area 29, while that east of 25019 (and north of 25016, 25039 and 25243) is Open Area 31.


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