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Pembroke College, Brewer Street Development

Bashford, Robin (2008) Pembroke College, Brewer Street Development. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology. (Submitted)

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Abstract

In September 2008, Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out a field evaluation at Brewer Street, Oxford. The work was undertaken on behalf of Pembroke College, in advance of the submission of a planning application for the proposed development of the site. The focus of the evaluation was within a 301 m2 basement area within the proposed development; two trenches were excavated, totalling c 5% of the proposed basement area. The evaluation revealed deeply stratified clay rich deposits which may represent fills of the pre-conquest configuration of a branch of the Thames, subsequently known as the Trill Mill Stream. Overlying and also to the north of these possible fills were a series of deposits, which may correlate to the deliberate deposition of material along the interface between the Thames floodplain and the second gravel terrace to the north, upon which is located the medieval walled town of Oxford. This process of 'land reclamation' has been identified elsewhere along the edge of the second terrace, in particular during recent archaeological work at the Westgate car park to the west of Brewer Street, where the reclamation deposits were dated to the 12th-13th century. The dating evidence from the deposits encountered during the evaluation at Brewer Street would suggest that these date to the 13th-14th century. Consequently, if the interpretation of these deposits is valid, then the process appears to be later at Brewer Street, possibly suggesting that the reclamation of land was by no means synchronous between all the sites where it has been identified. A possible pit and a north-south aligned linear feature truncated these deposits in the south of the investigation area. The function of the pit was unclear, although it may relate to a tenement plot fronting on to Brewer Street. The function of the linear feature was also unclear but it is possible that it formed a drainage channel running from the town to the Trill Mill Stream. Overlying the fills of these two features were a series of imported garden soils, which are possibly contemporary with the construction of the existing buildings fronting on to Brewer Street in the 17th century. In the north of the investigation area the land reclamation deposits were truncated by a north-south aligned limestone wall, a similarly aligned ceramic drainage pipe, and a 20th-century brick built inspection pit; associated with the use of the current building as a garage. The date of the limestone wall was uncertain, as it had been truncated to the west by the trench for the ceramic pipe, and to the east by what appeared to be a 19th-century pit. However, to the north of the wall, a potentially contemporary compacted gravel surface, produced 14th-15th century roof tile. The wall also appeared to have been modified, possibly in the 19th century, by the addition of a chute, the function of which was unclear. Despite the uncertainties with regard to the date of this structure, it seems likely that the wall relates to the cellar of a building which formerly fronted onto Brewer Street. ©

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Additional Information:Evaluation report
Uncontrolled Keywords:Evaluation report
Subjects:Primary Archives
Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
ID Code:11
Deposited By: Alan Gillott
Deposited On:15 Jan 2009 12:07
Last Modified:22 Dec 2011 14:20

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