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New Barn Farm, Cholsey, Oxfordshire

Dodd, Mark New Barn Farm, Cholsey, Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Oxford Archaeology completed a 54 trench evaluation on a 33.8ha proposed gravel extraction site at New Barn Farm, Cholsey, in the upper Thames Valley in Oxfordshire (NGR SU 5990 8800), between 31/08/2016 and 14/10/2016. The archaeological finds and deposits, where datable, fall into two broad periods, the Bronze Age and the medieval/post-medieval. Some of the worked flint recovered from the trenches was of early Neolithic type, but the assemblage was very small and none of the material was in situ. Late Iron Age, Roman, and medieval artefacts were notable for their scarcity. The earliest in situ features comprise a single crouched inhumation burial, accompanied by probable early Bronze Age pottery, and a single cremation burial, contained within a collared urn, which is also most likely to date from the early Bronze Age. The burials were both found in the south-western quadrant of the application site (Area 1). Further prehistoric burials are likely to be present in the vicinity. No traces of barrow ditches were recorded in association with either of the burials, although two probable barrows have been recorded as cropmarks in neighbouring fields, the closest being 200m north of the application site. The geophysical survey and trenching results, in combination, suggest the presence of a landscape of extensive but sparsely distributed Bronze Age tracks and enclosures. These appear to be concentrated in two main groups in the western and eastern quadrants of the site (Areas 1 and 2 respectively). Artefacts recovered from the enclosure and trackway ditches are very few in number, but consistently of midlate Bronze Age date. Area 1 includes a trackway, linked to a co-axial boundary, located in the same area as the early Bronze Age inhumation burial. In Area 2 the mid-late Bronze Age features appear to form a series of irregular curvilinear enclosures. On present evidence, the limited time-depth and lack of complexity in the archaeological record of the New Barn Farm site suggests that the identified Bronze Age activity is of local significance, although further study would contribute to important regional and national research objectives. The former line of the Wallingford-Cholsey road (as depicted on the 1842 Tithe Map) and associated features, was investigated by trenching at five locations (Area 3). No evidence for road surfaces was found and it is likely that it was unmetalled. The trenches revealed a roughly parallel pair of large drainage ditches, one of which (on the south-east side) was substantially deeper and wider than the other. At the south-west end the LIDAR data suggest that the road approached a crossing over Buckland Creek via a small stream valley. No reliable artefactual dating evidence was recovered from the trenches. A J Grayson (2004) suggests, on the basis of detailed documentary and topographical research, that the natural streams in the area to the south and west of Wallingford were gradually captured and incorporated into a network of drainage channels, probably in stages in the late Saxon and medieval periods. They were probably originally intended to relieve winter flooding. Extrapolating the line of the large ditch suggests that it may originally have been dug to link the Winterbrook with Buckland Creek. The road and associated features are of local archaeological significance.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
ID Code:4123
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:03 Aug 2018 13:42
Last Modified:03 Aug 2018 13:42

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