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University of Reading Land north-east of Didcot Oxfordshire

Leech, Steve University of Reading Land north-east of Didcot Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Between January and April 2013 Oxford Archaeology carried out an evaluation of an area of some 34.7 ha, bounded to the south by the Ladygrove Estate, to the north and east by the B4016, and to the west by the Moor Brook. Trenching was restricted in some parts of the site by gas mains, two of which crossed the site. A total of forty five trenches each 50m long and 2m wide was excavated, totalling 4,500 sq m, and constituting a 1.3% sample of the whole. The trenches were targeted on those areas designated for housing, rather than for open spaces, ie where the impact of development was likely to be greatest. At the north end of the site, where the ground rises onto the gravel terrace, cropmarks and geophysical survey had indicated a variety of archaeological features, and a concentration of ditches, plus a number of pits, was found. Finds indicated that one pit, which was particularly large, was probably late Bronze Age, one ditch contained later prehistoric pottery and others were Romano-British. South of the terrace, which dipped quite steeply onto the Gault Clay, a number of ditches were also found within a couple of hundred metres, particularly in the north-east corner, and two of the most substantial of these contained later prehistoric pottery. Pits and postholes were also found in a single trench just off the edge of the gravel terrace, though none was dated. A small number of worked flints were recovered from this part of the site, and appear to represent Mesolithic or early Neolithic activity in this vicinity, though on a limited scale. No other evidence of earlier prehistoric activity was found on the site. In the central part of the site a variety of ditches and gullies were seen, but none (other than a recent example) was dated. On the west side of the site the density of trenches was less, and here work was targeted on a possible palaeochannel suggested by the geophysical survey. No waterlogged deposits were found, nor any artefactual evidence, perhaps bearing out the evidence from the plan that this feature was a man-made, or at least modified, channel rather than a natural watercourse. In the southern part of the site alluvium was encountered. No archaeological features were found here either cutting the alluvium or sealed by it, and despite the high water table no waterlogged deposits were preserved. Snails from this part of the site suggested that the environment was one of low-lying floodplain, marshy but dry enough for some terrestrial species, that was periodically flooded. The evaluation demonstrated that archaeological features continued onto the Gault Clay, but except at its very edge no features other than ditches were certainly identified. The very limited artefactual material tentatively suggests that a field or enclosure system of later prehistoric date may have extended across the area, but the ditches found may alternatively be of several dates. Only in two small areas of the site was there any evidence that might support the suggestion of ridge-and-furrow cultivation, and in neither case was there any dating evidence.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
ID Code:4612
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:25 Jan 2019 09:26
Last Modified:25 Jan 2019 09:26

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