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Land South-West of Exeter Alphington Devon

Latham, Alexandra Land South-West of Exeter Alphington Devon. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology carried out a 51 trench evaluation at Land South-West of
Exeter, Alphington, Devon for CgMs, on behalf of Bovis Homes. The site is situated
on hillsides to the south-west of the River Exe. The evaluation was completed in two
stages: Phase 1 (October-November 2013) comprised 13 trenches in the vicinity of
a scheduled barrow cemetery in the northern part of the site and Phase 2 (February-
March 2014) comprised 38 trenches in the remainder of the development area. This
report details the results of both phases.
Most of the trenches were targeted to investigate features identified through
geophysical survey or as cropmarks on aerial photographs. Archaeological features
were found as predicted in the majority of trenches, although a few trenches
contained features not detected by the geophysical surveys. The evaluation was
largely successful in establishing the presence/absence, extent, conditions, nature,
character and quality of archaeological and palaeo-environmental remains
encountered. However, the date of many of the features remains uncertain as they
had no associated artefacts and could not be dated on stratigraphic or
morphological grounds.
On the basis of feature morphology and the very sparse artefacts, it is possible to
provisionally suggest four broad phases of activity spread across six defined 'sites',
although definition of the 'sites' is not clear-cut, given the poor dating evidence and
the dispersed nature of both the funerary and settlement evidence.
Early Bronze Age: Activity attributed to this period comprised the scheduled barrow
cemetery and two further ring ditches interpreted as small plough-levelled round
barrows ('Site 1' on Fig. 2). Cremated human bone was recovered from one of the
ring ditches, but no datable artefacts were recovered from either. In the absence of
scientific dating at this stage, the barrow cemetery is assumed to belong to the early
Bronze Age on morphological grounds.
Middle Bronze Age: This phase includes a rectilinear enclosure ditch, which may
be associated with a more extensive series of tracks or field boundaries, located in
the broadly same area as the barrow cemetery (Site 2). These enclosures may
represent a phase of settlement post-dating the funerary use of the cemetery. The
rectilinear enclosure ditch contained a deliberately buried pot. A separate site
c600m to the east comprised a penannular ditch that was interpreted as the remains
of a roundhouse (Site 3). The middle Bronze Age features are dated on the basis of
the distinctive prehistoric pottery ('Trevisker'-related ware) found in small quantities
in association with them.
Late Iron Age-Roman period: The third recognisable phase comprises dispersed
evidence for late Iron and Roman settlement and field systems, identified through a
combination of cropmark evidence, geophysical surveys and trial trenches. The
main concentration of features was located in the north-western part of the
evaluation area and comprised a complex of ditched enclosures that probably
represent a farmstead (Site 4). A feature interpreted as the eaves-drip gully around
a roundhouse was situated within a rectilinear enclosure, around which were further
boundaries on similar alignments that probably enclosed paddocks and fields. A
curving feature with a rubble fill may be the foundation for a second, stone-founded,
roundhouse. A penannular feature in the south-eastern part of the area is interpreted on morphological grounds as the foundation trench of a roundhouse in
an apparently isolated location (Site 5). A hearth group (Site 6) is tentatively
interpreted as a charcoal-burning site, and is provisionally placed in the Roman
phase on the basis of a single very small fragment of pottery. If the pottery is
intrusive or incorrectly dated, a medieval or post-medieval date would be equally
Medieval/ post-medieval: This phase is represented by poorly dated agricultural
field boundaries, generally dated on the basis of their depiction on historic maps. No
settlement foci of this period were identified in the trenches. It is likely that some of
the extant historically documented post-medieval farms in the vicinity have medieval

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Devon
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2019 14:03
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 14:03
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4592

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