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Volume 33 (2005)
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Bronze Age Ring Ditch at Earls Barton quarry, Northamptonshire
Christopher Jones and Andy Chapman
An archaeological watching brief was carried out at the southern extension at Earls Barton Quarry. A ring ditch enclosure, 10m in diameter, lay on a gravel island between two palaeochannels. It is dated to the Early Bronze Age by food vessel sherds from the ditch, suggesting that this was a funerary monument forming an outlier to the well known Grendon complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. An undated cremation deposit to the east of the palaeochannel may have been directly related to the adjacent Grendon barrows. A pit excavated in the evaluation may have dated to the Iron Age. A medieval track was also recorded.
A Pit Alignment at Warth Park, Raunds
An archaeological watching brief in 2000 during the construction of an access road on land at Warth Park, Raunds, located two pits of a pit alignment known from aerial photography. In 2004, a trench 45m long was targeted on the pit alignment and fourteen pits, all rectangular with steeply sloping sides and flat bases, were excavated. In 2005, a further 24 pits were recorded but not excavated during a watching brief. The length of the alignment examined comprised successive groups of five or six pits that were on the same alignment as neighbouring groups, but with the lines slightly offset from each other by 0.4m to 1.4m. At the junction of these groups there was often a pit or pits filling the gap and shortened to maintain the consistency of spacing. A few fragments of coarse pottery from four of the excavated pits is tentatively attributed to the early Iron Age.
Iron Age Settlement at Swan Valley Business Park, near Rothersthorpe,
Mark Holmes and Pat Chapman
Two middle to late Iron Age settlements were excavated in 1994 on land adjoining the M1-Motorway near Rothersthorpe Service Station, Northampton, on the site of the Swan Valley Business Park. The sites were characterised by geophysical survey followed by selective excavation of parts of the enclosure system and several of the associated ring ditches. The southern settlement comprised a large rectangular enclosure, only part of which was available for investigation, containing at least four roundhouse ring ditches and associated small enclosures. A settlement 200m to the north comprised at least three ring ditches and a D-shaped enclosure or pen set within a large enclosure. The presence of globular bowls in the northern settlement suggests that it was in use later than the southern enclosure, most probably continuing into the first century BC. Both settlements were associated with east-west linear ditches that may have formed territorial boundaries, perhaps indicating that these two settlements were facing one another across a pair of such boundaries rather than representing contemporary or successive elements of a single settlement. A previously undetected Roman site, 100m to the west of the Iron Age sites, was identified and briefly examined during the watching brief in 1996.
A Roman Farmstead and Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Glapthorn Road,
Anthony Maull and Peter Masters
Excavation in advance of new houses on land to the rear of the George Inn, Glapthorn Road, Oundle examined Iron Age and Roman settlement and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. A few dispersed pits are dated to the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age. A roundhouse ring ditch marks the origin of a late Iron Age/early Roman settlement of the mid-first century AD. By the early second century a system of ditched enclosures had been created. In the early third century there was an expansion of settlement, including the provision of a trackway, with modification of the system continuing through the fourth century. In the earlier phases the domestic focus may have lain in an adjacent area to the west, probably surrounded by a timber palisade at one stage, but this focus only became clearly evident in the late-third century when a walled rectilinear enclosure was created. This indicates that the settlement was flourishing and wealthy, perhaps then comprising a small stone villa, but the principal house lay beyond the excavated area. The domestic compound opened to the east into two ditched enclosures, which in the fourth century contained a T-shaped corn drier and other ovens/hearths, as an area involved in farming the attached estate. A small Anglo-Saxon cemetery, containing ten inhumation burials, occupied part of a former Roman enclosure. Radiocarbon dating and the artefact assemblages date the cemetery to between the mid-sixth and mid-seventh centuries AD. Furrows of the medieval ridge and furrow field system, and a series of recent land drains, ran across the site.
A Roman Villa and an Anglo-Saxon
Burial at Wootton Fields, Northampton
Andy Chapman, Alex Thorne and Tim Upson-Smith
A previously unknown Roman villa standing within a square ditched enclosure of nearly 0.5ha, and overlying a pit alignment and middle to late Iron Age settlement, was located in 1999 during monitoring of groundworks on a new housing development. The partially exposed building remains were cleaned and planned before they were reburied for long-term preservation. The main house comprised a simple strip building with front and rear corridors. One room was furnished with a hypocaust and had painted walls, but the absence of any tessarae shows that there were no mosaics or tessalated pavements. A probable original bath house at the northern end of the range was replaced by a bath house at the southern end. This was therefore a relatively impoverished villa presumably farming a small estate that never generated great wealth. In 2002, an area to the north-east was excavated prior to further housing development. It contained a small ditched enclosure, dated to the first century AD, and a pond and several shallow pits containing iron smelting debris dating to the third to fourth centuries AD. An area of Roman occupation on the opposite side of the valley was subject to evaluation in 2002, followed by a watching brief and limited excavation in 2003. Here a hoard of coins was buried within a pottery vessel in the 330s AD. A further small coin hoard was deposited in the 370s in a pit next to the small pond to the north-east of the villa. A small quantity of fifth century Saxon pottery and an Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial of the seventh century show that there was later activity around the villa site. The medieval field system appears to have respected the location of the villa, suggesting that some walls may still have been standing when the field system was established in the tenth century AD or later.
at the Cluniac Priory in Daventry, Northamptonshire
Iain Soden, Jim Brown and Paul Blinkhorn
The Cluniac Priory of St. Augustine is recorded as being present on the site c1100-1526. Next to Holy Cross churchyard, late Saxon pottery was recovered from several inter-cutting pits and ditches, above which an extensive build up of more recent 18th-20th century deposits formed a raised terrace. On the western side of the site excavations showed extensive medieval quarrying of Northampton Sand Ironstone for building materials contemporary with the priory's occupation. Subsequent deposition of medieval refuse was used to landscape and reinstate the hillside and a series of later structures encroached onto the land, the last of these was a row of post-medieval cottages known to have been demolished in the 1960s.
at The Ridings, Northampton, Now Yates' Wine Lodge
During November and December 1999, AOC Archaeology Group excavated an area within the footprint of the new Yates' Wine Lodge. The primary objective of the work was to locate the medieval Gobion Manor, and to determine whether there was any pre-Conquest settlement. In addition, a stone building encountered in an earlier excavation (1981-2) was to be re-assessed. The earliest evidence of activity on the site was a large 12th century quarry, 2m deep, which occupied up to 25% of the site area. A larges stone foundation was constructed in the quarry during the mid 13th century. This represented the phase of a north-south boundary which continued in use until the tow fire of 1675, and was probably a boundary of the Gobion Manor estate. To the west of the boundary were the remains of properties dating to the 13th century fronting onto Fish Street. The road now known as 'The Ridings' appears to have originated as an access route to Gobion Manor, founded in the 12th century. A stone-floored house revealed during the 1981-2 excavations is now thought to be one built across the thoroughfare which was demolished by the council in 1622. The name 'The Ridings' dates from the 18th century, when the land was occupied by a town farm superseding the Gobion Manor Farm. In the 19th century, a row of terraced, gable-ended houses were erected facing onto The Ridings. These were demolished during the 20th century, and a basement of significant depth was constructed at the south of the site.
A Mesolithic Site at Cot Hill, Elkington, Northants Martin Tingle
Wolfage, Brixworth Tony Brown and Paul Woodfield
An Archaeological Dectective Story A G Johnston
Putting a Name to a Face Martin Tingle
Archaeology in Northamptonshire 2005
Compiled by Pat Chapman (Northamptonshire Archaeology), with additional contributions from Richard Ivens and Martin Tingle