Period 4 remains at this easternmost investigated part of the settlement are few and lack patterning (Figure 176). The general paucity of activity probably reflects the wider perceived trend of abandonment of the Southern Zone occupation plots and likely westward contraction of the settlement (see selection and activity in Open Area 50).
Pit 17038 is a small oval cut, 1.2m diameter and 0.6m deep, containing a clay lining and a charcoal-rich fill at its centre. In view of the nature of its fills, it is possible that this feature was a very substantial post-hole rather than a pit. However, its finds assemblage includes a substantial quantity of pottery and animal bone, together with tile, daub, quern fragments and two human bones (juvenile femurs probably from a single infant).
Structural features (Group 949) datable to Period 4 are scattered and lack any patterning. Post-holes 17094 and 17064, with 17108 above the latter, contain later 2nd to 3rd century AD pottery. Post-holes 17132 and 17138 and short slot 17072 (which all post-date Period 3 pit 17193) may well be of similar date.
The only other demonstrably Period 4 feature is slot 17253 (Structure 49 Group 950). At 2.5m long, this minor slot contains a line of stake-holes in its base. This isolated structural feature is at variance with any prevailing alignments demonstrated by earlier features and remains uninterpreted.
Although fragmentary and to some extent differing in composition, patches of clayey silt deposits (17058, 17059, 17109, 17182, 17196, 17200, 17259, 17331 and 17322 Group 951) overlie features of the preceding periods. Together, they may constitute the remains of a soil that developed across Excavation Area Q from the 3rd century AD onwards.
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