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Late Bronze Age Settlement, Early Roman Agriculture and an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery on land at Field D, North-West Ely: PXA and UPD

Moan, Patrick and Phillips, Tom (2018) Late Bronze Age Settlement, Early Roman Agriculture and an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery on land at Field D, North-West Ely: PXA and UPD. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Between 31st January and 22nd March 2017 Oxford Archaeology East carried out an open area excavation on land at north-west Ely, Cambridgeshire. The excavation was part of Phase 2 within the larger development area (also termed Field D by OA East). A total of 2.5 hectares was stripped, located in an area where Iron Age and Roman field systems were identified during the evaluation in 2013, along with a single burial that was left in-situ, thought to be prehistoric in date. Within the south of the excavation area, a group of features relating to Late Bronze Age settlement was identified, comprising at least three post-built structures, several pits and a large waterhole. Adjacent were two small sub-square enclosures, which may be broadly Iron Age in date. The central and northern parts of the excavation area had been utilised in the Romano-British period, evidenced by fields of parallel cultivation strips, laid out to the east of a trackway. This track was orientated north-north-east to south-south-west and was formed by two parallel ditches, spaced roughly 10m apart. This trackway aligns with the route of a Roman road, Akeman Street, which extended from Cambridge to Ely and continued northwards to the Fen Causeway. A single Early Roman urned cremation was recorded just south of the track. This Roman track was subsequently used as the focal point for a cemetery in the Early Anglo-Saxon period. Spread over approximately 90m of the northern half of the track were 20 furnished inhumation burials and two urned cremations. The inhumations were either in small clusters or otherwise isolated at various points along the northern half of the track. Nearly all the inhumations were aligned on the same orientation as the track, with the head usually at the south-western end. One of the most impressive goods within the graves was the recovery of a near-complete sword. A separate burial plot of eight inhumations was found in a discrete area to the south-east, the majority within the limits of a small Roman enclosure, along with an adjacent grave in the southern part of the trackway. Some of the burials in the southern cemetery appear to post-date those in the northern cemetery, dating to the 'Conversion Period'; evidence for which came from their almost east to west orientation as well as the recovery of a buckle, a silver pin with garnet inlay and a cowrie shell associated with three of the individuals; all finds that are most often found in graves of late 6th to 7th century date. The location of any contemporary settlement remains unknown – no trace has been found in either the excavation area or within the wider evaluation area. Bulk finds recovered from the excavation including 8.2kg of pottery, 225g of fired clay, 39kg of animal bone and 57 worked flints. The inhumations contained a total of one sword, two spears, one spear ferule, three shield bosses, four shield grips, 16 knives, 18 brooches, 17 wrist-clasps, seven items of belt equipment, 13 mounts, studs or other fittings, 11 rings and pendants, three pins or toiletry sets, 326 amber/glass/crystal beads, a cowrie shell, two bone needles, two bone pins, a worked bone rib, a bone bead, a sub-oval ring of antler, a decorated antler object, two ivory purse rings and numerous small fragments of copper which were individually catalogued. The best charred plant remains were recovered from a number of the Late Bronze Age features, and waterlogging preserved local flora within the waterhole, indicative of a shrub environment with hedgerow-type trees and damp grassland. Samples from Iron Age and Early Roman features contained no preserved plant remains.

Item Type:Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords:Excavation, excavation, Ely, ely, Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, archaeological excavation, Iron Age, Roman, iron age, roman, pottery, Pottery, Early Medieval, early medieval, Saxon, saxon, Anglo-Saxon, anglo-saxon, Iron Age pottery, Roman pottery, iron age pottery, roman pottery, Early Medieval pottery, early medieval pottery, burial, grave, cemetery, inhumation, cremation, HSR, hsr, Human Skeletal Remains, human skeletal remains, human remains, bone, bones, animal bones, animal bone, animal remains, sword, spearhead, bead, wrist clasp, brooch, annular brooch, cruciform brooch, small long brooch, shield boss, ferrule, purse ring, purse rings, pin, pins, bone pin, bone pins, worked flint, worked flints, lithics, lithic remains, ecofacts, ecofact, enclosure, field system, field systems, urned cremation, 2089, report 2089, Report 2089, OAE report 2089, PXA, pxa, Post-Excavation Assessment, Post-excavation Assessment, post-excavation assessment, UPD, upd, Updated Project Design, updated project design
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Early Medieval 410 - 1066 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:4971
Deposited By: Hamilton
Deposited On:24 Jun 2019 11:17
Last Modified:24 Jun 2019 11:17

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