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South-west of Wretchwick Scheduled Monument, Bicester, Oxfordshire & Wretchwick Green, Bicester, Oxfordshire

Dodd, Mark South-west of Wretchwick Scheduled Monument, Bicester, Oxfordshire & Wretchwick Green, Bicester, Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Between 14th March and 19th May, 2017, Oxford Archaeology undertook an archaeological evaluation comprising 251 trenches on the site of a proposed housing development to the south-east of Bicester, Oxfordshire. This report specifically covers four of these trenches that were excavated within a single field centred on SP 59430 21240 to investigate a series of earthworks. These are located to the immediate south-west of the deserted medieval village of Wretchwick, a Scheduled Monument. Each of the four trenches revealed drainages ditches and structural remains, including limestone walls, floor surfaces and trackways. With the exception of a few residual Roman pottery sherds, all of the finds recovered during this investigation indicate that these remains and the majority of the associated earthworks date to between the 13th and early 15th centuries. The absence of significantly earlier or later artefacts indicates a relatively short-lived period of occupation within this part of the Wretchwick settlement that has pre-Domesday Survey origins. Limited later activity is indicated by the presence of stratigraphically later ditches in Trenches 1 and 2. These continue to function as drainage ditches in the current landscape and are part of a broad pattern of field boundary and drainage arrangements based on a principal NW-SE axis. This pattern is repeated in the Scheduled Monument boundary. Excavation ahead of the Wretchwick Way road construction north of the site dated an enclosure that formed part of this arrangement to the 18th century. & Between 14th March and 23rd May 2017, Oxford Archaeology undertook a trial trench evaluation within the boundary of a proposed development in advance of determination of a planning application (Planning ref: 16/00053/SO). The site is centred on SP 6024 2139 to the south-east of Bicester, Oxfordshire. The deserted medieval village (DMV) of Wretchwick borders the western boundary of the site. In total, 251 trenches were excavated, providing an approximate 2% sample by area of the 114ha site. The trenches were located to target specific geophysical anomalies and to also provide a representative sample of the 'blank' areas. Trenches 1, 2, 3 and 251, which demonstrated evidence for the south-east extent of the medieval settlement, have been reported on separately and are not included in this document. Archaeological remains were identified in approximately 75% of the trenches. Ditches were the predominant feature type to be encountered, with very few discrete features. Three distinct concentrations of activity were identified in the southern half of the site. Area 1 overlapping the boundary between the north-east end of Field V and the southern corner of Field D. This was defined by a concentration of linear ditches which yielded a reasonable assemblage of Roman pottery indicating an enclosed settlement being present in the 2nd and early 3rd century. Several worked flints and a small quantity of Bronze Age/Iron Age pottery were also recovered from this area. Area 2 focused in the northern end of Field U, extending into Fields Q and T. This area was centred around a sizeable assemblage of 2nd and early 3rd century artefacts derived from features in Trenches 170, 204 and 211. These included a pillar moulded glass bowl fragment, hobnails, imported ceramics and tablewares. There were also spreads of angular limestone tentatively indicating the presence of a nearby structure. Area 3, the eastern extent of Field S, was focused on a middle Iron Age enclosure that contained a reasonable assemblage of faunal and environmental remains, including degraded waterlogged deposits. This enclosure was located alongside early Roman ditch systems which may indicate a continuity and expansion of activity. Although relatively poorly dated, a network of ditches was revealed across the remainder of the site that is likely to date from the AD 1st and 2nd centuries. These appear to have primarily been related to drainage, land improvement and possible lazy bed cultivation suggested by the parallel arrangement of multiple trench-like ditches containing backfill deposits. An 18th/19th century brick kiln was revealed in the south-east of the site, and appears from the results of the geophysics to have been accompanied by at least one similar structure or feature containing similar material

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:3471
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:06 Feb 2018 12:46
Last Modified:06 Feb 2018 12:46

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