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Excavation of "Avenell" Way: A Roman track-way at Station Quarry, Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire

Atkins, Robert and Graham, Steven (2013) Excavation of "Avenell" Way: A Roman track-way at Station Quarry, Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Submitted)

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Abstract

The "Avenell" Way, a long serving routeway which was probably the road linking the small town of Baldock (Hertfordshire) to Cambridge, was examined within the excavation area. This routeway comprised up to three successive track-ways with the earliest only tentatively assigned this label of track-way but could have been a ditch. It was seen only at the extreme northern end of the site and was dated by a single small Late Iron Age pottery sherd. The excavation area had been aligned on two adjacent track-ways which had been assessed in an earlier evaluation within the site and had also been recorded in previous archaeological work directly to the west. The earlier of these two track-ways started either in the Late Iron Age or Early Roman period and the latter superseded it probably in the later Roman period and possibly went out of use in c. the Early Saxon period within the excavation area. The track-ways were found to be of modest size, built originally for one main carriage way width, but in the case of the middle track-way, it had been worn in several places to form a large hollow way where it was wide enough for two carriages. This hollow way had formed despite evidence the track-way had been maintained with areas of rutting being repaired. The problems of rutting was especially seen in the deepest two areas and it is likely water would have pooled in both areas causing faster erosion. The deep rutted hollow way was likely to be the reason why this track-way was abandoned and a new one was located. This later track-way did not have any significant hollow ways suggesting that it had probably not been in use for the same length of time as its predecessor. A 'cause way' had been constructed within the extreme eastern part of the site where the routeway crossed the area of former prehistoric channels with the latest track-way shown to be cambered at this point.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:1791
Deposited By: Chris Faine
Deposited On:08 Aug 2014 09:37
Last Modified:08 Aug 2014 09:37

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