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Fieldwork Reports: September 2003


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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 8 September 2003.

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

NGR SP 949 708
Area Excavation
Northamptonshire Archaeology
Excavations on land off Lime Street Irthlingborough, found activity from the early-middle Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and medieval periods. Part of an Iron Age settlement comprised some pits and a roundhouse ring ditch set within a small concentric enclosure. A scatter of residual pottery, some minor ditch systems and a small pit group represented Roman activity. The commencement of late Saxon occupation in the 11th century was marked by a sparse group of small postholes and pits. A system of boundary ditches may have its origins at the same time or slightly later, but through the 12th and 13th centuries activity was still sparse, comprising a scatter of pits, some of which were deep quarry pits. However, a pit containing a primary pottery assemblage of early 13th century date denotes the nearby presence of a house.
By the early 14th century a group of three buildings were established: a long malthouse/barn to the south, a circular dovecote to the west, and a building to the north with mortared walls that might have served as a kitchen/bakehouse range. The malting oven was certainly used for malting barley, but may also have been used as a more general drying oven. Contemporary pit groups contained a range of materials including an animal bone assemblage suggesting that sheep were being slaughtered nearby. These buildings are clearly appropriate to a manorial farm, and probably served a nearby manor house. Later documentary evidence indicates that the land was owned by the Bataille manor of Irthlingborough. The scale of the malthouse suggests it was being used for commercial production. These buildings and the associated pit groups were abandoned at the end of the 14th century, after less than a century of use. After partial robbing the site seems to have been left undeveloped until terracing and further robbing occurred in the 18th century. The site was an allotment garden prior to redevelopment.

NGR SP 840 628
Geophysical Survey and Evaluation Report
Northamptonshire Archaeology
Northamptonshire Archaeology carried out a multidisciplinary archaeological evaluation within the area of a proposed extension to Earls Barton Quarry, Northamptonshire, for Hanson Aggregates Ltd. The most extensive activity recorded during the evaluation was middle to late Iron Age in date and comprised a series of at least four and possibly five enclosed settlements, with surrounding field systems, or enclosures. The origins of the Iron Age landscape are uncertain but the pit alignment identified adjacent to the enclosure in Field 1, south of the present A45, indicated the presence of late Bronze Age or early Iron Age boundaries.
Roman activity appears to have been largely confined to a single area of settlement (covering 3.34ha) north of the A45. At least two phases of activity were present. The first, a track and field system, had as its primary feature a north - south track, defined by side ditches. Associated with the track was a ladder patterned field system, which comprised a series of rectilinear fields, aligned upon the track. The second phase of activity located to the east and west of the track was a series of enclosures on a different alignment. Within these enclosures evidence survived of stone structures and associated with these were significant quantities of domestic Roman pottery.
It is clear that after over a thousand years of cultivation that the study area contains no upstanding monuments, and that all archaeological features have been severely truncated only surviving where they cut the natural gravel.

NGR SP 56 65
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by Northamptonshire Archaeology during groundworks in advance of residential development on land at Middlemore Farm, Daventry, Northamptonshire. The only archaeological features lay at the western end of Plot 1, to the north of the modern farm buildings. These comprised two linear ditch systems that contained a small assemblage of Romano-British pottery and ceramic building tile spanning the late 1st to 4th centuries. These features, together with the results of previous excavation, indicate the former presence of a small Roman settlement occupying an area of at least 1ha lying under and around the present farm buildings.

NGR SP 65794 47180
Watching Brief
R J Ivens
Limited earth moving during the construction of a 16 x 17 metre stable yard revealed the damaged remains of a stone track way of post-medieval date. No medieval or earlier remains or artefacts were noted.

NGR SP 876 802
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was carried out during the construction of a new teaching block to the north of Montague School, Kettering. This work comprised topsoil removal for the temporary access road, and the ground preparation for new drainage and the new teaching block. No archaeological evidence was noted within any of the areas of investigation, however, modern disturbance was noted within the drainage trench.

NGR SP970 663 - SP966 650
Post-excavation assessment and updated project design
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief, undertaken on a 1.5km section of the A6 Rushden-Higham Ferrers bypass, resulted in the discovery and partial excavation of two Iron Age enclosure ditches. A small quantity of pottery and other finds were retrieved. No other features were found and the overall extent and nature of the enclosures remains unclear. Proposals for further analysis and publication are presented.

NGR SP 967 682
Post-excavation assessment and updated project design
Northamptonshire Archaeology
Excavations ahead of road construction on the A6 Rushden and Higham Ferrers Bypass examined part of an Iron Age and Roman site lying to the east of Higham Ferrers. The results suggest a complex series of settlement related enclosures dating from the middle Iron Age through to the 2nd century AD. Abundant pottery and animal bones were recovered together with a small quantity of other finds and environmental remains.
This report presents a provisional site description, and includes a quantification and initial assessment of the evidence. It is suggested that further analysis will contribute to an understanding of the Iron Age and Roman settlement in the region. Proposals for academic and popular publication reports are presented.

NGR SP 6969 6223
Building Recording
Phoenix Consulting
Architectural and historical recording of agricultural buildings at Lodge Barn Farm was undertaken prior to their conversion and extension into office accommodation. The buildings at Lodge barn Farm span nearly two centuries. The highest quality of construction is seen in the Stone Barn, which is the oldest of the structures on the site, yet is remarkably well preserved. The adjoining ranges are more crudely built, which makes their survival even more impressive. In Northamptonshire many families used to live in house-and-barn complexes known locally as 'lodges'. The name 'Lodge Barn' implies that there was once a lodge on or near the site.

NGR SP 918 744
Cambrian Archaeological Projects
A previous desk-based assessment and geophysical survey had identified and located an area of cropmarks denoting an enclosure. The evaluation trenches revealed the outer ditch of the enclosure to the north of the proposed turbine location and a series of pits and possible internal enclosure ditches to individual livestock pens. All of the features encountered date from the late Iron Age/ early Roman period with the site appearing to have gone out of use by the mid 2nd century.

NGR SP 7166 6038
Desktop Assessment
Oxford Archaeology
A desktop appraisal was undertaken to assess the archaeological implications of the construction of a new link road, immediately to the north of the A45 Weedon Road, Upton. The area of proposed development has been subject to a limited programme of archaeological evaluation by means of test-pitting which recovered finds dating to the prehistoric, late Iron Age, Roman, later medieval and post-medieval periods. It has been established that the area has potential to contain archaeology dating to the Iron Age, while the presence of earlier prehistoric archaeology is uncertain and any medieval and post medieval archaeology may only be of local significance.

NGR SP 5710 6248
Watching Brief
Archaeological Services & Consultancy
An archaeological Watching Brief was undertaken during refurbishment works and the construction of an extension at the Saracens Head public house, Daventry. The site was situated within an area of the town and the works had the potential to disturb remains of medieval date and also remains of the early history of the inn. No significant archaeological remains were observed. The areas had been extensively terraced during the 20th century and a number of modern footings were revealed within the footprint of the extension. Map evidence shows that the plot within which the inn is situated may have been created from the combination of three medieval tenements.

NGR SP 8386 6860
Watching Brief
Northamptonshire Archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by Northamptonshire Archaeology during groundworks prior to the erection of an extension to a cottage on land at 25 Lady's Lane, Mears Ashby. No archaeological deposits or finds were recovered.

NGR SP 971 710
Desk Based Assessment
Archaeological Services & Consultancy
An archaeological desk-based assessment was undertaken on land to the south west of Stanwick. The available evidence on the previous land use of the area is unusual in its extent and quality. The results of an extensive programme of field walking permits a high degree of confidence that most of the proposed golf course saw relatively little occupation or activity from the prehistoric period onwards. Nevertheless, there are two areas of crop marks on the western side of the site which suggests the presence of activity associated the late Iron Age-Roman settlement that lay to the west, beneath and beyond the A45.

NGR SK 995 004
Evaluation and Area Excavation
Archaeological Project Services
An archaeological evaluation followed by an excavation was undertaken at Collyweston Quarry. A series of peri-glacial cambers were the earliest features recorded and contained late Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery. A penannular ditch with a causeway orientated to the south-southeast was revealed adjacent to the cambers and has been tentatively dated to the middle Bronze Age. Late Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery was recovered from the fill of the ditch. Undated pits were recorded within the ring-ditch and may have been contemporary. Their function is unknown but it is thought that they may represent robbed out burial pits or have had a totemic function. A cremation was discovered cutting the ring-ditch fill and was located to the east of the causeway. Hammerscale and tap-slag were recovered from the topsoil and have been linked with the Roman iron production site recorded during the Wing-Elton pipeline.