Fieldwork Reports: April 2002
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The following reports on recent archaeological fieldwork undertaken in Northamptonshire were published by NCC's Historic Environment Team (Northamptonshire Heritage) on 29 April 2002.
The reports have been passed to the Northamptonshire Sites and Monuments Record and will be entered into the SMR database system.
LAND r/o 33 GRASSCROFT, LONG BUCKBY
NGR SP 6246 6753
Evaluation (Trial Trenching and Earthwork Survey)
A desk-based assessment, earthwork survey and trial excavation of a proposed development behind 33 Grasscroft was undertaken. The site lies immediately south of the remains of Long Buckby Castle- a medieval ringwork and bailey fortification (designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument). The evaluation found a possible late Saxon or early medieval road with a nearby ditch, a pit and a gully. There was considerable depth of modern overburden over much of the site.
BRIGSTOCK MANOR: A PRE-DETERMINATION ASSESSMENT
Desk-based assessment and building survey
An archaeological assessment of the manor including desk-top and building surveys established that the areas of proposed alterations have all been previously affected by late nineteenth or twentieth century changes. These changes have included the installation of new surface decoration and the demolition and introduction of room divisions. The areas of re-building have taken place mostly in the late nineteenth century extension to the house although one partition wall has been removed from the seventeenth century wing to enlarge a room
EXCAVATIONS AT LIME STREET, IRTHLINGBOROUGH
NGR SP 949 708
Post-excavation assessment and updated project design
Part of Iron Age, Saxon and medieval settlements, previously identified by trial trenching, were investigated in an open-area 0.2ha in size. Iron Age remains consisted of concentric ring ditches as well as surrounding pits. Roman activity was represented by a rectangular enclosure and ditch running east-west. A few Late Saxon features and associated finds were found with a possible structure from this period. There was heavy truncation of all features due to medieval and later activity on the site. In the early medieval period there were a few features mostly consisting of pits and ditches. Later the site had three buildings: a dovecote, malt house and a barn arranged around a courtyard with the malt house fronting onto Lime Street.
A43 TOWCESTER TO M40 DUALLING PROJECT
Post-excavation assessment and updated project design
Archaeological excavations in advance of the construction of the new A43 between Towcester and the M40 (Northamptonshire & Oxfordshire) were completed in October 2001. The excavations formed part of a staged series of investigations aimed at mitigating the impact of the road upon archaeological sites along this route. They were undertaken both before the award of the Design & Build contract and subsequently during the scheme-wide watching brief.
Excavations were undertaken on five settlement sites - four dating to the Iron Age/early Roman period and one to the Roman period. Three of the Iron Age sites (“Silverstone 2”, “Silverstone 3”, “Silverstone Fields Farm”) lay within 500m of each other on a limestone ridge; the other Iron Age site (“Biddlesden Road Bridge”- near Syresham) was on a gravel terrace, while the Roman site (“Brackley Hatch 4” - Whitfield) was on clay. There were also investigations on a smaller scale on sites principally of the Iron Age and Roman periods. These included fragments of Iron Age/Roman landscapes, and a pit alignment at Cottisford Turn, Tusmore (Oxfordshire). The investigations were particularly significant in view of the limited previous archaeological work in this area, much of which lies on Boulder Clay geology not thought to have been intensively occupied in the prehistoric period.
Preliminary site descriptions and finds assessments are presented in this report. The finds comprise moderately large collections of pottery and animal bone and small collections of metal and other finds. Environmental indicators were moderately or poorly preserved. Of particular importance was the discovery of Iron Age iron smelting at the Biddlesden Road Bridge site and early Roman iron smelting at Syresham (Area G). Early Roman pottery kilns were found on this site and also at Brackley Hatch 4. Late Iron Age/Roman infant burial were found in an enclosure at Silverstone Fields Farm.
LAND AT MILTON HAM. M1 Junction 15A
NGR SP 730 575
Archaeological Services WYAS
A geophysical (fluxgate gradiometer) survey was carried out at Milton Ham, adjacent to Junction 15A of the M1. The survey comprised magnetic scanning of the whole 14ha site followed by a 20% sample detailed survey. A ‘ladder’ enclosure system, comprising a linear series of connecting enclosures has been identified aligned along a ridge in the eastern half of the site. Isolated responses may indicate occupation activity. Linear anomalies caused by ridge and furrow ploughing have been identified across all parts of the site.
JARAK, PURY END, PAULERSPURY
NGR SP 7109 4332
An archaeological Watching Brief was carried out during groundworks for the construciton of a new house and garage. The site appears to have been situated between two groups of post-medieal cottages, and to have been used only as garden in modern times. Much of the site had been levelled-up in recent years and therefore there was little disturbance of ancient deposits. Three large pit-like features of medieval date were recorded during the excavation of the house foundations. In all probability these three features are part of a single, large excavation, possibly a quarry pit. Two modern (mid twentieth century) rubbish pits were also observed.
LAND OFF MULBERRY CLOSE, NORTHAMPTON
NGR SP 7358 6107
An archaeological trial excavation was undertaken ahead of proposed new housing development. One shallow undated pit was the only archaeological feature uncovered. Two sherds of abraded Roman pottery were also found.
KINGS MEADOW LANE, HIGHAM FERRERS: AREA G
NGR 958 694
Excavation (interim report)
Oxford Archaeology Unit carried out an excavation on behalf of The Duchy of Lancaster. The excavation revealed two phases of Roman activity. Features identified included the stone foundations of a small building with an associated stone and clay line pit, two wells, five inhumation burials, a cremation and numerous boundary or enclosure ditches. A small number of possibly pre-Roman ditches and a Saxon sunken feature building were also recorded.
11 MAIN STREET, BARNWELL
NGR TL 0504 8484
Desk-based assessment and trial trenching
A desk-based assessment and trial trench evaluation was carried out prior to development of a detached dwelling. The desk-based assessment demonstrated that there were no significant archaeological remains within the application area and a site visit confirmed that there were no extant earthworks. The trial trench evaluation encountered no significant archaeological remains or artefacts predating the eighteenth century
A6 RUSHDEN-HIGHAM FERRERS BYPASS: SITE 3
NGR SP 967 686
Six trial trenches were excavated on land off Newton Lane, Higham Ferrers as archaeological mitigation works in connection with the proposed A6 bypass. The site had been identified as part of a probable Roan settlement through previous surface collection and geophysical surveys. The excavation confirmed the presence of Roman remains in the form of substantial ditches and suggested that the site limits were correctly defined by the geophysical survey. No structural features were discovered although quantities of finds suggest that there was occupation nearby, probably with a focus west of the proposed road corridor.
A6 ROTHWELL & DESBOROUGH BYPASS; ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT- STAGE 6
(2 volumes: Text & Figures)
As a further stage of archaeological mitigation within the corridor of the proposed A6 Rothwell & Desborough bypass, a programme of trial trenching was undertaken. A total of 43 trial trenches were excavated along the whole 6km length of the route, targeted principally at suspected archaeological sites highlighted from the previous surface collection and geophysical surveys. The results confirmed the presence of three sites of archaeological interest: an Iron Age settlement (“Site 9”); Roman enclosures and an Iron Age pit alignment (“Site 15”); and an undated trackway (“Site 11”). There were few associated finds. No sub-surface remains were found associated with the other previously-identified sites, and it appears unlikely that other substantial archaeological features survive within the route corridor.
RECTORY FARM, TITCHMARSH
NGR TL 019 783
John Samuels Archaeological Consultants
A Fieldwalking survey of a 24ha proposed quarry site. Although only a light scatter of artefacts were recovered there is a correlation between the results of the previous phases of work (geophysical survey & aerial photography plotting) and the current phase.
KINGS MEADOW LANE, HIGHAM FERRERS: AREA B, C, D
NGR SP 959 692
Post Excavation assessment and research design
Excavations were carried out in Areas B, C and D with the Duchy of Lancaster’s ‘Phase 2’ development of Kings Meadow Lane during the period April–October 2001. The main purpose of the excavation was to investigate the Saxon activity in relation to the earlier (1995) excavations immediately to the north of the site which exposed an oval enclosure and associated structures.
The earliest features identified at the site were Roman ditches from which a small amount of pottery was recovered. These were probably trackway or boundary ditches. No other features were identified from this period although residual Roman pottery and a number of coins were recovered from later features or the topsoil. Three sunken-feature buildings provisionally dated to the early/middle Saxon period were excavated and may relate to four similar buildings discovered in the 1995 excavations. A number of so-far undated postholes and pits may also be assigned to this phase. The majority of features at the site were dated to the mid to late Saxon period including a large mid Saxon enclosure ditch associated with the oval enclosure. At least four post-built structures were also identified.
In addition to the evidence from the main excavation, a middle Saxon corn drier/ malting oven was identified during an earlier evaluation of part of the development area to the south-west.
LOWE FARM, SIBBERTOFT
NGR SP 691 822
The evaluation comprised a desk-based assessment of the site’s archaeological potential, followed by geophysical and metal-detecting surveys of the route of a new access road. The desk-top study identified two principal sources of concern: the possible damage to archaeological deposits related to the adjacent deserted medieval village of Nobold and the loss of evidence connected to the Civil War battlefield at Naseby. A geophysical reconnaissance survey of the 5ha site did not identify any potential ‘sites’, and this was followed by detailed survey in the parts of the site adjacent to the earthwork remains of Nobold village. The detaield survey also did not identify any significant remains. The metal-detecting survey produced few finds of any period and no evidence that could be linked with the Civil War battle.