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Clay Farm, Trumpington, Cambridgeshire

Phillips, Tom and Mortimer, Richard (2012) Clay Farm, Trumpington, Cambridgeshire. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Between May 2010 and May 2011 Oxford Archaeology East conducted a large-scale excavation at Clay Farm, Trumpington, on the southern fringes of Cambridge (TL 4520 5500), commissioned by consultants URS Scott Wilson for Countryside Properties Ltd in advance of the development of a new settlement to be known as Great Kneighton. The total machine stripped area covered 16.8ha, divided into Areas A to F (from north to south). The excavation revealed multi-period archaeological remains from the Neolithic through to modern times. The earliest finds included Mesolithic microliths along with Mesolithic or Early Neolithic blades and cores. The earliest cut features included a small Early Neolithic pit and a number of Earlier Bronze Age pits. The most surprising discovery was the existence of a series of Middle Bronze Age field systems, enclosures and settlements that covered large areas of the site, in a part of region where such activity had not previously been recorded. The earliest land divisions were thought to be a series of linear ditches forming strip fields, orientated north-west to south-east, which survived to varying degrees through the entire site. A more intricate system of enclosures and field boundaries was constructed over these early ditches. Finally, discrete areas of settlement were established within the system of fields and enclosures (three were identified across the site). These settlement areas contained large assemblages of finds: the densest of these, Settlement 1 in Area B, contained nearly 4kg of Middle Bronze Age Deverel-Rimbury pottery, 20kg of animal bone, 10kg of struck flint and numerous worked bone implements indicative of craft activities. An extensive area of Early Iron Age settlement was located within the Middle Bronze Age field system in Area A. The settlement was characterised by post built sub-circular structures, 4-post granaries or stores and pits of varying sizes. Large quantities of Early Iron Age pottery, bone and other waste were recovered from a large pit and in the upper fills of the earlier ditches. The main focus of Middle Iron Age activity was on the higher ground in Area C and consisted of a series of curvilinear ditches forming the eastern side of an enclosure or system of enclosures. Inside the enclosures to the west were a number of roundhouse structures, an oven and areas of pitting. This area of settlement showed continuity into the Late Iron Age. There were also extensive Late Iron Age field systems with evidence of nearby settlement in Areas B and E. In the latest Iron Age, immediately pre-Conquest, two high-status cremation burials were placed in pits in Area C. One was excavated during the evaluation, the other during the excavation. The latter contained at least eleven vessels, mostly imported fine tablewares, and accompanying grave goods. The cremated bone had been placed within a wooden box. Early Roman land use focused on the south of Area C and much of Area D in the north of the site, and Areas E and F in the south of the site. It consisted of small fields and paddocks, which were particularly rectilinear in Area D. In Area C, the two Late Iron Age cremations were enclosed by a ditch and a number of other features. This has been interpreted as a form of cemetery garden. The principal Late Roman feature was a double ditched sub-circular enclosure or monument in Area F. It showed no evidence of domestic or agricultural use but the inner ditch contained the disarticulated remains of several adults, along with five Late Roman bracelets, large iron nails and butchered animal bones. There was no major land use following the Roman period until relatively recently. Post medieval quarrying was intensive in parts of Areas A, B, D and E. During World War Two a series of ring ditches were constructed in Area B, to create banked enclosures for the housing of searchlights and associated stores. Areas E and F showed evidence of their use through the 1950s and 60s as the Cambridgeshire Agricultural Showground.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:1930
Deposited By: Chris Faine
Deposited On:05 Sep 2014 13:04
Last Modified:05 Sep 2014 13:04

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