Northern zone, Open Area 36 (east of Road 1) - Period 2B

Bounded by the retained Period 2A boundary ditch 25045 to the west and by ditch 25042 to the south, only the very south-western corner of Open Area 36 falls within Excavation Area G (Figure 50). Nothing of its continued eastward extent (or that of further enclosures of this system) can be discerned in the pre-excavation plan of Development Area A3. However, it is surmised that the enclosure may well extend northwards as far as the watercourse and that ditches in that part of Excavation Area R to the south of the watercourse perhaps denote its eastward extent (see Northern zone, enclosure system).

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

The interior of OA36 is largely unexplored, very limited areas of it being exposed only within widely separated Excavation Areas G and R. Where investigated, its Period 2B occupation is represented only by pitting. The lack of features in Area R is likely to be a reflection of the peripheral, and likely wet, nature of the northern margin of the enclosure alongside the watercourse.

Because of limited excavation and waterlogging, no pre-Roman features were encountered during the course of investigation of the watercourse. It is reasonable to assume that Iron Age features remained unexcavated at the bottom of the sequence, or had been truncated and removed by Roman period activity.

Gully 25114 (Group 159)

North-south aligned gully 25114 (segs 7162, 7222) runs roughly parallel to retained ditch 25045, c. 7m to its east. Neither end of the gully is defined and its recorded length is heavily truncated by the Period 2B pits in this south-west corner of the enclosure. More significantly, it appears to be cut by boundary ditch 25042, which is conjectured to form the southern boundary of OA36 . If excavated segment 7222 is indeed its southward continuation, then the gully can be regarded as pre-dating the inception of the Period 2B enclosure system in the Northern Zone east of Road 1. However, the small quantity of pottery and briquetage suggests a relatively late Iron Age date.

Pitting (Group 313)

Pits 7167, 7182, 7276 and 7337 (Group 313) are the only other features present in the south-west corner of the enclosure. Inter-cut pits 7167 and 7276 are probably relatively late, as they cut the edge of boundary ditch 25045. The pottery assemblage from pit 7167 is dated to c. AD 20-25 (KPG12). There is also a coin of Cunobelin (SF2385) in 7167.

?Pit 12288 (Group 335)

Feature 12288 is an oval cut, 0.66m long and 0.3m deep, with near-vertical sides. The only Period 2B feature located in the postulated north-east corner of OA36 (in Excavation Area R), it was originally identified in the field as a storage jar oven because of the presence in its top of a substantial part of a storage jar. However, the jar shows no sign of internal burning and, in hindsight, neither the cut nor its fills were typical of such ovens elsewhere across the site. This feature dates to the Late Iron Age whilst the storage-jar ovens on the site are of early Roman date (period 3b).

However, the charcoal-rich nature of the lower fill (12269) and the absence of finds other than pottery and a tiny amount of burnt bone, along with the presence of the storage jar, suggest a fairly specific function for this feature. It is possible that the jar was deliberately inserted into the top of this partially infilled pit, though whether for practical or ritual reasons is unknown.


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