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Iron Age Settlement and Ritual. An Archaeological Training Excavation at Limes Farm, Landbeach

Connor, Aileen and Sealey, Paul (2003) Iron Age Settlement and Ritual. An Archaeological Training Excavation at Limes Farm, Landbeach. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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A Sample of the 25 hectare cropmark site at Limes Farm and Walnut Farm, Landbeach was the subject of an archaeological excavation during August and September 1999. Trainees directed and supervised by staff of Cambridgeshire County Council Archaeological Field Unit (AFU) undertook the work. Landbeach lies to the north of Cambridge and the site is situated to the south west of the village (TL 482/644).
The aim of the work was to identify whether agricultural practices have impacted upon the preservation of archaeological remains. The work was successful in achieving this aim and recommendations for the future cultivation have been made.
The site was first known from chance finds and later discovered to be of considerable size and complexity through aerial photography. Finds recovered from the site by chance and field walking, and the form taken by the cropmarks, suggested a Romano-British origin for the settlement. This excavation has shown that the settlement had its origins at least in the middle Iron Age period if not before. 18 trenches were opened by a mechanical excavator, two trenches (1 and 2) at the southern end of the study area were extended to form small areas. Areas 1 and 2, and trenches 3, 10 and 11 received detailed investigation, features in all the remaining trenches were described and planned, but not excavated.
The site was characterised by features representing timber structures, pit, and a complex of intercutting ditches.
Pottery of Middle Iron Age character was recovered from most feature types in areas 1 and 2 and a small component of ‘Belgic’ and Roman pottery was recovered from features in trencher 10 and 11.
The majority of the pottery from the site was a large and well-preserved Middle Iron Age assemblage composed predominantly of sand and sand and vegetable tempered fabrics. There was a notable absence of flint tempered fabrics which might imply a chronological differentiation. The assemblage is therefore tentatively attributed a late Middle Iron Age date of 300-50 BC. A middle Iron Age pottery tradition in south Cambridgeshire awaits satisfactory definition and the Limes Farm material provides an important addition to the corpus of material studied to date. The site stratigraphically allowed the Middle Iron Age pottery to be grouped into secure chronological phases and an attempt was made to identify trends within he period as a whole. A Late Iron Age phase dating from 50 BC was identified and the opportunity taken to explore its implications. Pottery that apparently reached the site from elsewhere was also evident including a lugged pot from Bedfordshire and scored wares from Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Animal skulls at Limes Farm suggest that some contexts witnessed special placed deposits; an attempt has been made to see if there were any counter parts in the ceramic record to these animal bone groups, but none were clearly apparent.
Although the earliest phase of activity was characterised by a complex sequence of ditches, these provide little direct dating evidence, but the ditches were stratigraphically earlier that an occupation phase dating to the Middle Iron Age. Primary filling of these ditches appears to have been natural silts derived from the sides of ditches. The final fills contained occupation debris including pottery, animal bones and evidence for spinning and weaving. An articulate juvenile pig burial and deliberate deposition of cow skulls was also associated with this latest ditch filling phase.
A Middle Iron Age occupation phase is indicated by the presence of at least one timber building, possibly associated with several pits, containing general rubbish including large unabraded pottery and animal bones.
A final phase of ditches replaced the Middle Iron Age occupation were probably backfilled in the Late Iron Age.
To the south, in trench 10, evidence was found for ditch filling in the roman period. The inhumation of a body was found associated with this latest phase of activity.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Late Iron Age 100 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Middle Iron Age 400 - 100 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Depositing User: Archives
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2019 11:34
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2019 11:34
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4225

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