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Wintringham Park, St Neots

Phillips, Tom and Hinman, Mark (2009) Wintringham Park, St Neots. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology Ltd., Bar Hill. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In August 2008 OA East were commissioned by Bidwells on behalf of Connolly Homes Plc, David Wilson Estates and the Chancellors, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford to undertake non intrusive and intrusive archaeological evaluation at Wintringham Park, St Neots (centred at TL 1980 5950). The site covered an area of approximately 162 hectares of gently undulating farmland crossed by the Hen Brook and a second brook to the north which drain into the River Great Ouse, 1km to the west. The work undertaken consisted of a review of past archaeological work within the area, Air Photo Survey, Geophysical Survey, field walking and trial trenching and was undertaken between September 2008 and July 2009. The results of the archaeological project so far indicate that we are dealing with a range of remains dating from around 3500BC (the Neolithic period), the later Iron Age (c500 BC-AD42) to the end of the Roman Period in the 5th century AD. No remains of the Bronze Age (c2000-750BC) or earlier Iron Age (c750-500BC) were noted. Traces of later medieval ridge and furrow systems are present across much of the site and have, along with modern ploughing, resulted in the variable truncation and damage of the earlier deposits across the entire development area. Due to the scale of the evaluation the results of the archaeological work are initially considered in three parts. The division of the site was influenced by the lay of the land and the three parcels separated by Hen Brook and the Drain will be referred to forthwith as the Southern, Central and Northern Zones. Four discrete Sites (1-4) extending over roughly 40ha were identified as well as evidence for peripheral and dispersed agricultural activity. The four Sites were spread across the three Zones; Sites 1 and 2 were in the Southern Zone, Site 3 in the Central Zone and Site 4 in the Northern Zone. Within each discrete Site a number of period specific and multi period 'hot spots' or Foci were identified. In total there were 15 individually numbered Foci (I – XV) preserving regionally significant archaeological remains characteristic of the lower Ouse Valley environs. Evidence of Neolithic activity was very limited. Permanent settlement originated in the middle Iron Age (c350-100BC) with a series of well defined, mostly enclosed settlement Foci, spread across the three Zones. The agricultural landscape was re ordered during the Late pre-Roman Iron Age (50BC-AD42, LPRIA). This change was almost monumental in scale and appears to have referenced pre existing farmsteads within its layout. This change is part of a pattern repeated in the broader landscape and may have been driven by the need or requirement to maximise a predominantly arable agricultural output. This need to maximise land under agriculture is reflected in a pattern of developing nucleation of settlement patterns that continued into the Romano-British period. One of the most striking outcomes of the project is the wealth of evidence relating to the evolution of the landscape and the extent to which the local area owes much of its current appearance to events that took place over two thousand years ago.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords:archaeological evaluation, cambridgeshire, st neots, ouse valley, romano-british, iron age, roman, hen brook, the drain, roundhouse, roadway, settlement
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Late Iron Age 100 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:2804
Deposited By: Chris Faine
Deposited On:12 Apr 2016 09:04
Last Modified:12 Apr 2016 09:04

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