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Fieldwork Reports: April 2004


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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 22 April 2004.

The reports have been passed to the Northamptonshire Sites and Monuments Record and will be entered into the SMR database system.

NGR SP 97735 71275
Watching Brief
RJ Ivens
The footprint of a new build and the associated driveways (approx. 285 sq. metres) were stripped of topsoil and then reduced to the required building level. Natural undisturbed geological deposits were established over the greater part of the site, immediately below a thin subsoil. The only exception was a large irregular feature occupying the southern and western parts of the site. This feature cut the subsoil and was filled with loose stone and earth and contained 19th century pottery, brick, blue slate etc. and may probably be best explained as 19th century quarrying. No pre-modern deposits or artefacts were observed.

NGR SP 7586 4313
Watching Brief
Network Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by Network Archaeology Ltd from March to November 2003 on land at 47-53 High Street Potterspury. Significant amounts of medieval pottery and animal bone were recovered. The pottery is largely made up of waste material, probably from a near-by kiln, identified in an archaeological evaluation undertaken by Northampton Archaeology in 1998. The watching brief also recorded a possible hedge boundary and tree bole, the latter yielding finds of medieval, post-medieval and modern date.

NGR SP 7682 6135
Building Recording
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological buildings record was made immediately prior to the redevelopment of the Stimpson Avenue Lower School, Northampton in September 2002, which targeted the parts of the buildings which were to be demolished or significantly altered. The school was built in 1894 and a foundation stone laid in the following year records Charles Dorman as the architect. Its original form was in the shape of a letter E, so that the three departments of the school- Boys, Girls and Infants- had its own wing. Expansion followed in the successive 20 years, with six new classrooms and a cloakroom added in matching fabric, onto the eastern end of each of the three wings, in order to cope with a dramatic rise in pupil numbers. In the latter part of the 20th century, internal layouts and associated alterations to the fabric were made along with several smaller extensions in order to provide more cloakroom, WCs and small offices.

NGR SP 5879 6197
University of Leicester Archaeological Services
An archaeological evaluation was undertaken at Daventry Transmitting Station, Borough Hill, Daventry by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services on behalf of Crown Castle International, in advance of the proposed construction of an equipment cabin and ancillary works.

The site lies within the Iron Age Hillfort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a single trench 9m x 1-1.5m long was hand dug making up a c. 20% sample of the total area. It was noted that area of the trench has only been subject to a limited amount of modern disturbance.

No archaeological features were observed within the trench, and only a small quantity of unstratified pottery and flint was located in the topsoil. The site archive will be held by ULAS until a suitable storage space is allocated for its deposition in Northamptonshire.

NGR SP 759 5730
Desk-Based Assessment
University of Leicester Archaeological Services
An archaeological desk-based assessment of land off Newport Pagnell Road, Wotton, Northampton, indicates that there are no known archaeological sites within the application area although sites of prehistoric, Iron Age and Roman date are known to the north and north west.

The area lies outside the historic core of Wootton, adjacent to the traditional parish boundary with Hardingstone, which follows the Newport Pagnell Road on the north side. The site was part of an open field system before enclosure in 1778 and appears to have remained as farmland prior to the building of the current large commercial building (Turners Musical Merry Go Round) in the 1980's. The brick and steel structure is surrounded by tarmac surfaces for parking and gravel beds with small, planted trees. The area immediately to the east was developed as an army barracks until closure in 1993 and redevelopment for housing.

NGR SP 766 563
Area Excavation
Northamptonshire Archaeology
A Roman villa partly investigated in 1999 is being preserved under public open space within a new housing development. A small, sub-rectangular enclosure dating to the mid-first century AD adds to previous evidence for occupation on the site pre-dating the villa. At the north-eastern corner of the villa precinct a series of shallow ditches had fallen out of use before a kiln was constructed in the late second or early third century. The third to fourth century activity comprised a shallow pond and associated pits and ditches. A pit on the margin of the pond contained a small hoard of late Roman coins deposited in the 370's AD. In the fourth century extensive dumps of iron smelting debris were deposited in series of shallow hollows. A small quantity of fifth century pottery and a single Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial, radiocarbon dated to the seventh century, show that there was later activity around the villa site.

NGR SP 76035 43260
Watching Brief
R J Ivens
No trace of pre-modern remains were observed during the course of the 'watching brief'. Historic map evidence demonstrates that the development site was occupied by ranges of buildings by 1725. It is likely that medieval and/or post-medieval remains survive elsewhere within the property.

NGR SP 6901 4965
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief and a small salvage excavation were carried out by Northamptonshire Archaeology during groundworks at Tove Valley Business Park, Towcester in August 2003. The site lies on high ground some 650m north-west of the Roman walled town. A number of heavily truncated ditches and pits in one area of the site were of Romano-British date, 2nd to 4th centuries AD, and probably represent either part of a minor settlement or the periphery of a larger one.

NGR SP 590 790
Watching Brief
University of Leicester
A watching brief was undertaken on behalf of Stanford on Avon PCC by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) on 20th February 2004 during the excavation of a trench for an electrical cable across the grounds of St Nicholas Church (NGR SP 590 790). The site lies within the historic core of Stanford on Avon, Northamptonshire and was seen to have potential for surviving archaeological deposits. A trench measuring 0.5m wide and up to 0.9m deep was excavated into a mid grey-brown silty clay topsoil. No archaeological features or deposits were recorded.

NGR SP 771 561
Watching Brief & Excavation
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief and excavation was carried out by Northamptonshire Archaeology between June and August 2003 ahead of construction at the Wootton Centre for Learning, Northampton. The watching brief and excavation revealed parts of a series of ditches forming linear boundaries with associated enclosures. These are dated by the recovered pottery to 3rd and 4th centuries AD. There was also a corn drier/ malt oven of the same date. A coin hoard dating to the mid 4th century had been placed within two pottery vessels and was buried in one of the ditches, and nearby there was an undated inhumation burial. The site lies on the eastern slope of a small valley. Wootton Fields Roman villa lies on the opposite slope of the valley and the features at the Learning Centre site may have been part of the larger villa estate.

NGR SP 76366 84350
Desk-Based Assessment, Building Recording & Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
A desk-based assessment was able to confirm that the Old Rectory, Braybrooke dates from the 17th century, but was unable to suggest a foundation date for the north wing. Available historic maps suggested that between 1885 and 1926 the north wing was longer, and that the central section of the Rectory was broader than it is today, though no supporting evidence was noted in the historic fabric. Accurate pencil sketches made in c 1850 showed that the northern façade of the north wing had not been altered since then. The main Rectory building had, however, undergone changes between c 1850 and 1870, mainly with the addition of windows and doors and a new porch, when the first available photograph showed the Rectory's external appearance to be as it is today. A north-south building also existed attached to the east side of the north wing up to c 1926.

The building survey made a record of the interior and exterior of the north wing prior to its conversion into a new kitchen, lounge bedroom and toilet. The wing has been disused since the 1960s when the previous owners of the house used it for storage. At this date the north-south building was also removed. The north wing was likely to have been built onto the Rectory as a service wing in the latter part of the 18th century. It was further extended prior to the mid 19th century and the existing fenestration's altered. Two windows were added, probably in the latter 19th century, when the wing was converted into cottages from a laundry. The surviving interior features and fittings relate to its use as cottages. Minor additions made in the 20th century comprise electrical fittings.
A watching brief was undertaken during the removal of an oak post in the old kitchen in March 2004. There was no evidence of a former stairway in this location.

NGR SP 557 784
Desk-Based Assessment & Walkover Survey
University of Leicester Archaeology Services
The previous desk-based assessment and preliminary walkover survey of the potential impact of the proposed junction 19 amendments has identified some archaeological sites and cultural heritage that may be affected by the works. This assessment has identified the main known archaeological sites and the potential impact that the preferred junction option may have on these sites. Further survey and evaluation will be required for one area south of the existing islands (Site 20). Mitigation in the form of watching briefs is suggested in the other areas of archaeological potential.

NGR SP 876 802
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief during groundworks associated with the construction of a new sports block, car park and access road at Montagu School, Kettering revealed extensive modern disturbance across all of the site. No archaeological deposits were present, nor were any artefacts recovered.

NGR SP 8752 7948
Building Recording
James Looker
Planning and Listed building consent has been granted for the conversion of the Avon Dale warehouse into fifteen luxury flats. A building recording and analysis had been requested prior to any works being complete. The early Avon Dale leather warehouse, situated on Avondale Road, Kettering was built in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Further extensive building works were undertaken in the mid and late twentieth century. At the time of the survey it was found that little documentary evidence was available or survived, much of the physical evidence was dependant on the main fabric of the building.

NGR SP 8865 9162
Watching Brief
Albion Archaeology
Albion Archaeology were commissioned by King West (Chartered Surveyors), to undertake an archaeological watching brief during the excavation of the foundations for an access road to the rear of properties bordering Main Street, Rockingham. The most significant features found during the watching brief were two lengths of oblique limestone wall footing. Both of these walls had been robbed, with the fills of the robber trench mainly containing pottery of 13th-14th century date; products from the local, Lyveden industry. Almost 1.6kg of medieval pottery was recovered from across the site, the majority of which is considered to be associated with the occupation of the area.
The wall footings have been protected and reburied under the car park. As the foundation level for the work was generally within the modern subsoil, the full archaeological potential of this area has not been revealed.

NGR SP 5888 6251
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by Northamptonshire Archaeology during the enclosure of car parking space on Borough Hill, Daventry. No archaeological deposits were encountered, nor any artefacts recovered.