COT93.3: Anglian settlement - East

Plan of COT93.3 | Building 2 | Corn-drying oven | Finds database | Archive: Pottery from 1993 excavations | Archive: Level III report | Archive: Animal bone | Archive: Biological remains

Period IIa

Figure 40: Cottam 1993 - COT93.3 from the West

COT93.3 from the West: click for

A series of post-holes was cut into the natural chalk (3105, 3107, 3109, 3111, 3121, 3123, 3128, 3165, 3167, 3169). They ranged from 0.2 - 0.4m in diameter and 0.15 - 0.2m in depth. Several had vertical sides and flat bases. They formed a rough L-shape in the south-east corner of the excavation, which was extended southwards to follow their line. They are interpreted as representing the corner of a rectangular post-hole structure, Building 2, although the internal corner angle is less than 90 degrees, unless two post-holes (3107, 3123) are seen as being external to the main wall alignment. Building 2 would, in any case, have been aligned 10 degrees off a north-south orientation. The post-holes were backfilled with friable mid-brown silty clay with small stones and gravel; the evidence is insufficient to say whether Building 2 was deliberately demolished.

A substantial irregular pit (3026) also cut the natural chalk; its full plan was not recovered as it was situated against the western edge of the excavation. The base was gradually sloping with evidence of pitting; the edges were defined by a number of areas of weathered chalk, indicating that the bedrock had been exposed here for some length of time. The basal fill comprised a compacted layer of silty loam (3076), varying in depth from 0.1-0.15m. This was devoid of finds and may represent the product of weathering from the top and sides of the feature, with subsequent trampling and compaction in the base. This was overlain by an upper fill (3001/3027) of very clean orange brown loam, with much evidence of worm action. A number of animal bones lay within the upper 0.1m of this feature. Along the eastern side of 3026 there was a roughly oval cut (3040), c.0.1m in depth, with a similar fill (3103); this appears to have been part of the same feature which had been separated from it by a later plough cut (3067). These features are not securely dated but have been placed in Period 2 on the basis that the very clean fill is unlike that of the later cut features.

There was a significant number of small post-holes (3029, 3031, 3033, 3035, 3037, 3039, 3042, 3044, 3046, 3048, 3050, 3052, 3061, 3063) in the south-western corner of COT93.3, although it was impossible to discern the outline of any coherent structure. The post-holes were generally straight-sided and 0.1-0.2m in depth; in many cases the upper edges comprised weathered chalk. They appear to have been associated with pit 3026 although they had no direct stratigraphic relationship with it.

There was also a pair of post-holes (3077, 3079) on the northern edge of pit 3026. They were c.0.3-0.4m in diameter, and 0.25m in depth, and appeared to have been packed with large chalk fragments. An oval cut (3083), 0.15m deep, with a similar fill (3084), also appears to have been associated, and may represent a third post-hole. There was an irregular cut (3089), 1.1m long x 0.4m wide x 0.25m deep, with rounded ends and a slot-shaped base, against the eastern edge of the pit. It had a basal fill of orange clay , overlain by a friable orange brown silty loam with occasional chalk fragments . A further irregular cut (3097) with steeply sloping sides was dug to the north of the main pit. It had a basal fill of friable orange brown silty clay with abundant chalk fragments and an upper fill of orange brown clay loam.

There was an approximate north-south alignment of irregular pits (3056, 3075, 3082, 3093) to the east of pit 3026 and its associated post-holes. They ranged between 0.6-2.1m in length and up to 1.1m wide, with an average depth of 0.2m. The base of several of these features comprised weathered pitted natural chalk. The presence in the fills of small quantities of bone, pottery and other artefactual material suggests these are not natural features, but they are not easily interpretable. A iron staple (sf58) was recovered from one. There were a number of smaller irregular features (3065, 3071, 3073) which appear to have been associated. At least one of these (3065) may be a post-hole. Further to the east, against the southern edge of the excavation, there was a roughly circular pit (3091), c.0.7-1.0m in diameter and 0.65m deep. These features have been placed in Period II on the basis that their distinctive orange brown fills were unlike the mid- or dark-brown fills of the Period III features.

There was a further group of possible post-holes to the north of Building 2 (3113, 3119, 3130, 3132, 3134, 3136, 3139). They may have been part of some associated structure, although there was no evidence of a coherent plan. They were between 0.3-0.45m in diameter and c.0.15-0.2m in depth, with steeply sloping to vertical sides. They were filled with mid or dark brown clay loam with occasional small chalk fragments. The presence of at least one bone fragment in the fill indicates that these were not natural features.

Period IIb

A complex feature forming a crude figure-of-eight was cut into the chalk bedrock. It comprised two circular hollows (3023-4), each c.1.2m in diameter, with sloping sides; that to the west (3023) was c.0.2m in depth, with a fairly flat base of burnt chalk. That to the east (3024) was c.0.4m deep; it had steeply sloping sides and a curved base. They were joined by a shallow gully, c.0.2m wide, sloping downwards to the east. The eastern hollow was cut by a substantial post-hole (3025), 0.3m in diameter by 0.2m deep, on its southern edge. Three further post-holes (3057-9) bordered the northern edge of the same hollow. One (3057) was substantial, 0.35m in diameter and 0.3m deep, and matched 3025. The other two (3058-9) were each 0.2m in diameter, by 0.1 - 0.15m deep.

This feature is interpreted as a corn drier, with a shallow stoke-hole (3023) and a deeper oven (3024) which had been lined and covered by a clay structure supported by wooden posts (3025, 3057-9). The oven had been backfilled, possibly demolished. Both it and its associated post-holes were backfilled with a dark brown clay loam (3002). This contained a number of finds, probably of Anglian date, including an iron awl (sf15), a possible wool/flax comb tooth (sf24), and a sandstone hone fragment (sf17). These finds suggest that the oven may itself have been of Anglian date, although the fill also contained the base of a coarse medieval pottery vessel (sf19) which must be assumed to have been intrusive.

A shallow but regular cut (3021), c.0.6m square was excavated adjacent to the corn drier, but is undated and may not be contemporary or even associated. One deeper area may represent a possible post-hole, and there were traces of stone packing. The resulting hollow had been backfilled with a medium orange brown silty clay with abundant chalk inclusions (3004).

Three shallow but well-defined cuts (3116, 3143, 3145) formed a roughly rectangular outline, c.4 x 6m, towards the northern edge of COT93.3. They were up to 0.15m deep, with fills of friable mid-brown loam with occasional inclusions of bone and shell fragments. They are interpreted as the foundation beam-slot trenches for a possible timber structure, Building 3. A circular post-hole (3161) with vertical sides, 0.3m in diameter and 0.3m deep, was exposed in the base of cut 3145. It had been filled with loose mid-brown silty clay loam (3160).

There were further cuts (3088, 3099, 3117, 3124, 3157, 3159, 3162) on the same alignment which were both deeper (up to 0.5m) and more irregular. These may represent drainage gullies or boundary ditches associated with the beam-slot structure, although there was a post-hole (3126), 0.2m in diameter x 0.25m deep, cut into the base of slot 3124. The fills were comparable with those of the circular pit in COT93.1, but contained very few finds, although one fill (3100) contained several sherds of grey ware. There was also a shallow linear feature (3155), c.2.7m long by 0.5m wide and 0.08m deep, within the possible building. Another shallow linear feature (3141/3144), 4.5m x 0.35-0.5m wide x 0.08m deep, continued to the east.

There was a group of possible post-holes (3146, 3148, 3150, 3152) in the area defined by two of the east-west gullies. They were c.0.25-0.35m in diameter by 0.05-0.3m deep, although one was elongated with a shallow shelf in one direction. They are interpreted as contemporary features associated with Building 3.

Plan of COT93.3 | Building 2 | Corn-drying oven | Finds database | Archive: Pottery from 1993 excavations | Archive: Level III archive report | Archive: Animal bone - archive report | ArchiveBiological remains - archive report


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