Eastern hinterland, Open Areas 42, 43 and 44 - Period 2B

The term 'eastern hinterland' is a convenient label identifying this peripheral part of the settlement (Figure 57). However, being located upon the lower gravel terrace and crossed by the likely continuances of both Roads/track 3/4 and Road/track 5, it is perhaps more accurate to regard the eastern hinterland as containing parts of the eastern limits of the Northern, Central and Southern settlement zones. Furthermore, it is posited that these roads ultimately converge, at what can only be a short distance to the east of the eastern hinterland, at a crossing of the watercourse. This convergence and crossing-point had presumably been removed by post-medieval ditch 25182 and, beyond it, quarrying across the eastern part of Development Area A4.

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

Although investigation was restricted to only the centre of this area, the east-west alignments provided by the two major ditch lines that cross it are regarded as marking the likely road edges. As such, three distinct land units can be discerned/assumed. From south to north these are designated Open Areas 42 to 44; of these only the OA42 interior is investigated to any meaningful extent and its Period 2B occupation/use is described below.

Open Area 42

Only the very northern edge of OA42 was investigated. There are miscellaneous post- and stake-holes along either edge of this southern boundary, some dating to the Late Iron Age and cutting the first phase of the ditch. Others are uncertainly dated but occupy similar positions. From these, fairly intangible fencelines could be construed (Group 2073, 17013, 17039, 17041, 17368, 17396).

Open Area 43

By and large, the 12m wide area between the two major ditches is clear of discrete features such as post-holes and pits.

Structure 18 (Group 332)

Structure 18 is represented by a small cluster of post-holes (17135, 17129, 17121, 17119, 17162, 17141) just north of ditch 25181. Tentatively forming the corner of a post-built structure, its fragmentary nature and non-conformity with prevailing alignments make this a highly speculative inclusion within this enclosure.

Gravel surfacing (Group 333)

Gravel deposits 17187, 17325, 17346, 17374, 17399, although fragmentary, are probably remnants of a single surfacing overlying the soft brickearth. It contains large pottery sherds (grog-tempered, amphora and Gallo-Belgic wares) deliberately included among its constituents, possibly as hardcore, which may suggest that these patches of surfacing were the remnants of the infill of holes and ruts along the track.

Miscellaneous pits, post-holes and stakeholes (Group 2072)

Although not particularly well dated, a number of small pits and/or post-holes and stake-holes are likely to occupy the OA43 interior. Some, such as post/pit 17152 and possible subsidence hollow 17306 either underlie or encroach upon tentative Structure 18, as do stake-holes 17158, 17160 and 17302. Post-hole/pit 17274 is located near the northern edge of the enclosed area. It remains possible that all such Period 2B discrete features are located toward the limits of OA43, but to some extent this also coincides with the more investigated parts of Area Q.

Stake-hole 17398 is located immediately alongside southern boundary ditch 25181, but in isolation cannot be taken to suggest the existence of something like a fence alongside it.

Open Area 44

As with OA42, only the slightest southern edge of the OA44 interior falls within Excavation Area Q. No Period 2B features are identified alongside ditch 25099 et al.


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