As with that part of the Northern Zone to the west of Road 1, the extent to which it is subdivided into enclosures is far from clear in Period 4. While for the purposes of description Open Areas 33-36 are retained below, it is entirely possible that none of these survive as late as the mid-Roman period (Figure 161). This part of the lower terrace landscape may now have reduced or no division or else a wholly revised layout (like the Southern Zone in this period).
That this part of the Northern Zone continues to be used is not in dispute. A new and substantial road frontage building is constructed in OA33, but it must be noted that excavation within OA33 is largely limited to the building itself, so little is known/understood of surrounding contemporary features. While activity within OA33 is described here, that within OAs 34-36 is covered in 'Northern Zone east of Road 1'.
A substantial rectangular building is constructed at the junction of Roads 1 and 5 in the mid-Roman period. Building 54 consists of a sequence of deposits and cut features representing the collapsed and burnt remains of a rectangular, timber-framed, structure (Figure 162).
The building is constructed on silt dumps and clay make-up deposits (6303, 7508, 7636, 7646, 7659, 7685, 7743 Group 854). The position of its east, west and part of the south external walls are principally marked by a foundation slot 25219/25220 (Group 855). The slot is filled with burnt daub fragments, many of which bear wattle and roller stamp impressions, which are used as a deliberate packing. This material must derive from a separate (earlier) building, which also burnt down. Post-holes 7615, 7621, 7662, 7704, 7745, 7759 and 7761 (Group 856) are set at intervals within the wall slot and its daub packing. Further stake-holes 7580 (Group 860), 7610 and 7611 (Group 858), also sit within the packing and contain the bases of carbonised stakes. Part of the southern wall is marked by a line of unexcavated post-holes; whether these are also set into a wall slot is not established. Orange-red burnt daub deposit 7711 and underlying scorched/burnt silty sand 7742 (Group 856) may either be reused burnt material within the foundations, burnt in situ structure or collapsed elements or a combination of all of these. Fill 7535 in foundation slot 7766 (Group 856) contains an 'offering' of a complete ceramic vessel, presumably placed at the time of construction and embedded into the fabric of the building.
Collectively, these structural features define a building c. 9m wide and at least 10.5m long - though probably longer. Within Building 54 there are the remains of a beaten brickearth floor surface 7472/7572 (Group 857) or at least the preparation for a more solid surface, but there is little discernible evidence of other internal features such as partition walls.
This building is presumed to front onto Road 1. Cut into the road surfaces in front of it are a number of slots 7529 and 7648 and post-holes 7538, 7547 (Group 863), which together with post-hole 7702 (Group 860) have been interpreted as remains of a possible porch or veranda. This seems to be an addition to the front of the building and one that encroaches upon the Road 1 surface. However, an alternative interpretation of the post-holes as marking the positions of supports for an overhanging roof, with the slots being eves-drip gullies, is not entirely discounted.
In retrospect, feature 7529 seems to comprise at least two post-holes and a slot, all originally recorded as one. These may indicate the location of the doorway into Building 54, perhaps representing the foundation for a threshold and door lintels. Gravel deposit 7736 (Group 859), associated with this western extension, may constitute the remains of a floor. All the features comprising the front extension to Building 54 are overlain by later road surface 7549 (Group 862), which is interpreted as a subsequent reclamation of the full width of the road. It therefore seems likely that the porch/veranda has only a limited lifespan.
Pottery from the structural features contributes late 1st to late 2nd century AD dates, while underlying layers are late 2nd to 3rd century. Given that the foundation slots clearly contain reused burnt daub, it is likely that accompanying material in the packing is also residual. A mid-Roman, possibly early 3rd century, construction date is therefore likely, with occupation continuing into the Late Roman period.
Tile-lined hearth 7544 (Group 864) within the Building 54 interior may well be contemporary with its occupation. A number of unexcavated tile-lined hearth or oven-like features to the north of the building may also be associated.
A 0.9m-deep pit 7441 (Group 870) lies at the southern extreme of OA33 and encroaches upon Road 5. Pit 10271 (Group 829) is located immediately west of Building 54 and similarly encroaches upon the edge of Road 1, cutting roadside silt deposit 10272. Some 3.6m wide, it is only partially investigated and its relationship with Building 54 is not established. Otherwise, there are no other pits in the investigated vicinity of Building 54 and the south-west corner of OA33.
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