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Medieval retting tanks and other features along North Road, RAF Brampton

Blackbourn, Kathryn (2017) Medieval retting tanks and other features along North Road, RAF Brampton. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between the 26th of January and the 8th of February 2017 Oxford Archaeology East conducted a programme of trial trenching and excavation along North Road, RAF Brampton, Cambridgeshire (TL 2115 7031). This work followed on from an earlier investigation along Central Avenue undertaken in 2016 (Blackbourn 2017).
Two initial trenches were excavated along the line of North Road on an east to west axis. The eastern trench (Trench 45) was found to be heavily disturbed by the footings of demolished former RAF buildings. The western trench (Trench 46) contained a small number of pits and ditches surviving between areas of heavy truncation. Two further trenches were subsequently excavated in a northerly direction from Trench 46. Trench 48 contained an additional pit and two ditches on a north-east to south-west alignment, whilst Trench 47, to the west, revealed two large inter-cutting pits that produced medieval pottery.
Following the recording of the trenches, a targeted area of excavation was stripped around Trenches 46 and 47, centred upon the two large pits. The extent of the area was defined by the level of truncation, with the final excavation measuring 12.5m by 10m. Features uncovered comprised two large pits/tank-like features containing waterlogged deposits and a series of beamslots, ditches and pits. One of the earliest features was a boundary or enclosure ditch aligned north-west to south-east that produced a relatively large assemblage of pottery that dates to the mid 14th-mid 15th century. Extending partially over the top of the infilled ditch were three sides of a small sub-rectangular beamslot structure, measuring 5m by 4.5m, within which two undated pits were revealed.
Located to the immediate south were two tank-like features, the largest of which produced a notable 14th-15th century pottery assemblage that includes large fragments of an Early Everton-type ware bunghole jug or cistern. A total of 25 fragments of leather representing at least three shoes were also recovered, together with other cobbling waste including repair patches. The styles of shoe were of a type commonly worn from the 14th to the 15th centuries. In addition to the leather items, the waterlogged conditions within these features allowed for the preservation of a wide range of plant remains. Most importantly, the presence of hemp within the fills suggests that at least one of the pits, and potentially others, were used for retting.
This site, although small, has enabled some investigation of the immediate landscape and the activities taking place here during the medieval period. There are a number of similarities between the type and character of features revealed at the site and those previously excavated along Central Avenue, c. 80m to the south-west (Blackbourn 2017). This suggests that the two sites were not only contemporary, but are most likely to have formed part of the same swathe of more utilitarian, non-domestic activity associated with the medieval (manorial) pre-cursor to Brampton House.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Brampton, brampton, RAF, raf, RAF Brampton, raf brampton, medieval, Medieval, pit, tank, retting, retting pit, retting tank, retting pond, hemp, hemp processing, medieval hemp processing, pottery, ceramic, sherd, medieval pottery, Medieval pottery, waterlogged remains, leather, shoe, leather shoe, Early Everton-type ware bunghole jug, Early Everton-type ware bunghole cistern, Early Everton-type ware, ditch, beam slot, beamslot, structure, building, animal remains, animal bone, bone, manorial estate, ecofact, ecofacts, 2047, report 2047, Report 2047, OAE report 2047
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2018 15:33
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2018 15:33
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4536

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