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Little Sydenham Farm, near Bridgwater Somerset Interim Geoarchaeological Assessment Report, Land North-East of Bridgwater Somerset Land North-East of Bridgwater Somerset Phase 2

Champness, Carl and Thacker, Gerry and Anker, Katrina and Dean, Brian Little Sydenham Farm, near Bridgwater Somerset Interim Geoarchaeological Assessment Report, Land North-East of Bridgwater Somerset Land North-East of Bridgwater Somerset Phase 2. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Oxford Archaeology (OA) was commissioned by CgMs Consultants, on behalf of Hallam Land Management Ltd, to carry out a field investigation at Little Sydenham Farm, Bridgwater, Somerset (NGR ST 313389). The work was carried out as a condition on a planning application for warehouse development, associated offices and car parking facilities. The work was carried out in October 2007. The assessment comprised a two-stage field investigation of the proposed site. The first stage consisted of a geophysical conductivity and auger survey of the underlying alluvial sequence, in order to identify and map the main sediment zones across the site. The survey results provided baseline data on the sequence, to help inform the location and scope for the next phase of targeted archaeological field investigation. The survey identified four distinct zones of sedimentation. Two major tidal channels (Zones A and C) and two channel edge environments (Zone B and D) were identified. The augerhole sampling has confirmed the presence of peat horizons within the southeastern corner of the site. The results suggest that Zone D represents a true marsh environment, and to a lesser extent Zone B, which were more likely to have been the focus for early prehistoric activity. Evidence of early occupation activity within the area of the Somerset Levels has been previously recorded, represented by Mesolithic flints and wooden trackways within the peat deposits leading to ‘islands’ of the floodplain. The possibility that prehistoric remains may be present sealed within these peats can not be discounted. The regional evidence demonstrates extensive exploitation of the wet marshland environment, which would have existed at this time by hunter-gatherers and later farming communities. There is also low to moderate potential for identified remains dating to the Saxon, medieval and post Medieval periods within localised areas of the study site sealed underneath the topsoil. Based on the survey results 10 boreholes and 6 test pits have been proposed across the four identified sedimentary zones, in order to assess the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental potential of these deposits. During December 2009 to January 2010 Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out a field evaluation on land to the north-east of Bridgwater, Somerset. The evaluation consisted of the machine excavation of 48 trenches measuring 50 m by 1.9 m, with a maximum depth of 1 m. No archaeological features were identified. No artefacts or ecofacts were recovered. Access to the trenches was restricted due to the wet ground conditions and consequently unstable trench sides. Nevertheless, visibilty was good. During March and April 2010 Oxford Archaeology (OA) carried out a field evaluation on land to the north-east of Bridgwater, Somerset. The Phase 2 evaluation followed earlier trial trenching conducted by OA during December 2009 and January 2010(OA 2010b). The current evaluation comprised machine excavation of 31 trenches (numbered 49 to 79) measuring 50 m by 1.9 m. 19 trenches were excavated to a maximum depth of 1 m and 12 trenches were machined to a depth of 2.20 m. A test pit was also excavated at one end of the deeper trenches to the maximum safe reach of the excavator. No significant archaeological features were identified. A number of recent linear features, undated but at the top of the sediment sequence, were observed in four of the trenches. These linear features, which cut through the subsoil, were visible on the ground as distinct depressions prior to machining and are most likely associated with modern land drainage. A fragment of a modern 3 inch fence post was observed at the base of one of these features. In trench 76 an undated vertical sided pit or ditch terminal was observed. This feature, again cut through the subsoil, contained a mixed backfill, and is possibly related to the installation of the nearby water main. The deposits encountered during the evaluation were mostly sterile; the only finds recovered were three small fragments of post-medieval pottery from the topsoil of trench 55. No other finds or ecofacts were recovered. The alluvial sequence was broadly uniform across the northern area of the evaluation. Three trenches in the southern area showed some slight variation (trenches 74, 75 and 77). Trench 74 was the only trench that exposed peat at 4.50m below current ground level. Trenches 75 and 77 showed distinct alluvial layers not seen in other trenches. Access to the trenches was restricted due to the wet ground conditions and unstable trench sides and no personnel entered the deeper trenches. Visibility was good during the excavation of all trenches, despite the ground conditions.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Somerset
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:348
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:19 Oct 2010 10:48
Last Modified:18 Jun 2013 11:07

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