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Upper terrace (west), post abandonment land-use - Period 7

In contrast to the areas of the lower gravel terrace, the western part of the upper terrace (i.e. Area W, Northern hinterland west of Road 1, etc.) contains a significant quantity of modern features (Figure 226 and Figure 227). These comprise field ditches and drainage features related to the agricultural use of the land, but also a number of post-hole alignments that may be related to a structure depicted on historic mapping. All such features post-dating the Roman and Early Saxon settlements are in fact post-medieval, mostly dated to as late as the 19th and 20th centuries.

Period summary view | Enclosure systems and open areas on upper terrace

Ditch 25204 (Group 934)

Ditch 25204 (segs 2716, 2340, 2855) is something of an enigma and can only be explained in terms of being a fossilised LIA/Roman ditch, presumably re-cut, the fill of which contains post-medieval brick, glass and pottery. Only the eastern half of the earlier feature (as exposed) appears to be been reused, with the western limit of the modern phase beginning at the dog-leg and extending approximately 60m eastward before disappearing off the edge of excavation.

As for the modern re-cut 2855, aerial photographs clearly show it extending eastward, beyond the area of excavation, all the way to the access track off Crescent Road with which it was roughly aligned. It would seem that this is a very long-lived field boundary. Excavated segment 2716 contains medieval/post-medieval pottery, while 2855 includes 19th-century materials in its fills.

Ditch 25195 (Group 934)

To the south of the 'dog-leg' ditch another modern linear cut 25195 (seg. 2279), crosses the field on a different, WNW-ESE alignment. It runs across the entire width of Area W, a distance of 190m, beyond which it apparently stops - presumably at the posited northward course of the relict watercourse. Some 3.3m wide at its east end, it narrows to less than 1m at its western extreme. This feature was not excavated, but post-medieval material was collected from its surface and it clearly cuts all other features in its path.

Ditch/drains 25196 (Group 934)

To the south of ditch 25195 is far less substantial linear cut 25196 (seg. 2317), extending 50m on a NNE-SSW alignment and cutting all features in its path. Only 0.57m at its widest, it has an odd V-shaped profile and contains a dark brown, gravelly silt-clay fill. This is most likely a modern field drainage gully, a suggestion supported by the ex-landowner who observed it during excavation.

Similar, though differently aligned, land drainage (unnumbered) runs are present to the north of ditch 25204. One, a 0.66m-wide linear cut runs NW-SE for a distance of 80m. It trails off to nothing at its north end but adjoins or drains into ditch 25240 to the south. Another similarly proportioned, but intermittent cut, lies c. 70m to the west. A third runs east-west between them for 60m and intersects with the eastern example.

Drain 2893 (Group 934)

2893 is a north-south aligned linear cut running roughly parallel to ditch/drain 25196, some 60m to its east. It is in excess of 14m long, with a square section up to 0.7m wide and approximately 0.5m deep, and filled with a series of gravelly sandy silts. Toward its southern end is an integral circular 'cut' back-filled with similar silts but including a bonded brick dome 2891/2898 of c. 0.6m diameter and 0.26m high. This dome covers a vertical brick-lined shaft, of the same diameter and 0.8m depth. Water-filled, this is interpreted as some kind of drainage feature of probable Victorian construction.

Structure 60 (Group 935)

Located at the northern end of Excavation Area W, Structure 60 is an apparently semi-circular arrangement of post-holes, of approximately 10m diameter, which extends beyond the limit of excavation. It consists of twelve planned features which contain very distinctive black, burnt, fills with frequent fragments of tar, concrete, barbed wire, iron nails and the occasional brick bat. Of these, only 2739 and 2746 were excavated and recorded further. The 1924 6" OS map depicts a fenced boundary just to the north alongside which a square building, perhaps an agricultural shed, is located. The position of this structure coincides with that of the post-holes and it may be that their patterning has been misconstrued and that they in fact define the square building itself.

Structure 61 (Group 936)

Structure 61 is a straight NW-SE alignment of nine recorded post-holes extending for a distance of over 50m. Located just to the north of Structure 60, it is likely that this is associated and aligned upon the square building and extends off at right angles from the historic fenced boundary to its north. Of the nine post-holes identified, 2486, 2805, 2883 and 2885 were excavated and at least partially recorded. Though 2805 seems to contain the same distinctive black rubbish-filled deposit as the post-holes of Structure 60, the others have loose silt fills reminiscent of the overlying topsoil. Post-medieval tile is noted to be present in two of the features. It is concluded an association with the adjacent Structure 60 is likely, probably as a fence.


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