OA Library

University of Reading Land north-east of Didcot Oxfordshire

Leech, Steve University of Reading Land north-east of Didcot Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of DIDNE13.pdf]

Download (39MB) | Preview


Between January and April 2013 Oxford Archaeology carried out an evaluation of an
area of some 34.7 ha, bounded to the south by the Ladygrove Estate, to the north
and east by the B4016, and to the west by the Moor Brook. Trenching was restricted
in some parts of the site by gas mains, two of which crossed the site. A total of forty
five trenches each 50m long and 2m wide was excavated, totalling 4,500 sq m, and
constituting a 1.3% sample of the whole. The trenches were targeted on those areas
designated for housing, rather than for open spaces, ie where the impact of
development was likely to be greatest.
At the north end of the site, where the ground rises onto the gravel terrace,
cropmarks and geophysical survey had indicated a variety of archaeological
features, and a concentration of ditches, plus a number of pits, was found. Finds
indicated that one pit, which was particularly large, was probably late Bronze Age,
one ditch contained later prehistoric pottery and others were Romano-British. South
of the terrace, which dipped quite steeply onto the Gault Clay, a number of ditches
were also found within a couple of hundred metres, particularly in the north-east
corner, and two of the most substantial of these contained later prehistoric pottery.
Pits and postholes were also found in a single trench just off the edge of the gravel
terrace, though none was dated.
A small number of worked flints were recovered from this part of the site, and
appear to represent Mesolithic or early Neolithic activity in this vicinity, though on a
limited scale. No other evidence of earlier prehistoric activity was found on the site.
In the central part of the site a variety of ditches and gullies were seen, but none
(other than a recent example) was dated. On the west side of the site the density of
trenches was less, and here work was targeted on a possible palaeochannel
suggested by the geophysical survey. No waterlogged deposits were found, nor any
artefactual evidence, perhaps bearing out the evidence from the plan that this
feature was a man-made, or at least modified, channel rather than a natural
In the southern part of the site alluvium was encountered. No archaeological
features were found here either cutting the alluvium or sealed by it, and despite the
high water table no waterlogged deposits were preserved. Snails from this part of
the site suggested that the environment was one of low-lying floodplain, marshy but
dry enough for some terrestrial species, that was periodically flooded.
The evaluation demonstrated that archaeological features continued onto the Gault
Clay, but except at its very edge no features other than ditches were certainly
identified. The very limited artefactual material tentatively suggests that a field or
enclosure system of later prehistoric date may have extended across the area, but
the ditches found may alternatively be of several dates.
Only in two small areas of the site was there any evidence that might support the
suggestion of ridge-and-furrow cultivation, and in neither case was there any dating

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019 09:26
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2019 09:26
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4612

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item