The very limited exposure possible within the narrow trench indicates that the archaeology in this area is complex, covers a broad time-span from the Late Iron Age to Late Roman, and is well preserved beneath a structured sealing deposit of blown sand. Despite the very limited scale of the excavation and sampling programme, the environmental assessment undertaken by James Rackham adds important new information. The evidence that the ditches contained standing and sometimes running water confirms the high level of the water table in antiquity and demonstrates that many of the enclosure ditches (a characteristic feature of the ladder settlement) served both as drainage ditches as well as for defining enclosures dedicated to domestic activity and stock management. Animal bone survived well, indicating a sheep/goat-dominated economy during the Roman period, with an increase in cattle in the Anglo-Saxon period. It must be appreciated, however, that the assemblage is still too small to determine adequately the stock-rearing and management regimes. Clearly this evidence is there to be found, if larger scale work were to be undertaken. The small assemblage of plant remains and the snail assemblage reflects an open landscape throughout the period of domestic activity from Late Iron Age to Early Anglo-Saxon, in which mixed agriculture included the growing of barley, spelt wheat and oats, as well as extensive stock-rearing and management.


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Last updated: Wed Nov 11 2009