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Bourn Airfield

Haskins, Anthony (2018) Bourn Airfield. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology East undertook an evaluation between 6th August and 12th October at Bourn Airfield (TL 34265915) which lies between Cambourne and Caldecote. The work consisted of 227 evaluation trenches across the c. 210 ha (area) proposed development within 24 separate fields.

Early Prehistory
The evaluation provided limited evidence of early prehistoric activity, which was restricted to residual Mesolithic and Neolithic flint work found within other features surrounding the five undated cremations identified at the centre of the site (Trench 168).

Iron Age
The main focus of activity consisted of several areas of ditches and ring gullies dated to the Middle Iron Age. The settlement foci lay in four areas. Trenches 9 – 13, 85 and 86 to the west of the airfield; Trenches 34-37 in the centre of the airfield and a more substantial settlement to the north in Field 6 and a small enclosure in the south of the airfield (Trench 215). The evaluation demonstrated that, although truncated by the medieval and post-medieval ridge and furrow in some places, the Middle Iron Age landscape has been well preserved.

Of note is a small square enclosure on the southern edge of the development (Trench 215) of similar form to a high-status site located on the A14 works at Connington (13km to the north).
The focus of occupation evidently began to centralise during the Late Iron Age with less clear indications of settlement identified to this period. As with the nearby occupation at Caldecote the landscape use seems to alter during the Middle Iron Age with several areas of settlement seeming to end. The majority of the Late Iron Age occupation is located towards the north of the airfield within the area of Field 6, although a small amount Late Iron Age and Early Roman material was recovered from the area around Trench 11.

Roman occupation of the site seems to have been relatively short-lived and by the end of the 1st century there is little evidence for occupation. However, it appears that the area of settlement to the north of the airfield (in Field 6) may have died out in the 3rd century as identified along the route of the A428 at Bourn.

There is possible evidence for Roman landscape use outside of the settlement area identified in Field 6. Fields 16 and 17 contained a system of east to west aligned shallow agricultural features. These features, which are truncated by north to south aligned furrows, may represent part of a Roman bedding trench system, or alternatively an earlier and less well preserved furrow system. A number of shallow ditches identified in Fields 4, 7, 14, 15 and 19 perhaps formed Roman field systems and outfields away from the areas of settlement.

Medieval and post-medieval
Medieval and post-medieval occupation on the site is limited to the remnants of extensive ridge and furrow farming practices.

World War 2/modern
Archaeological evidence relating to World War 2 was located across the airfield. Evidence of the taxiways and hardstandings, of this period, were generally poorly preserved although, some of the airfield structures within the trenched areas survived below ground. Trenches 170 and 185 contained evidence for World War 2 waste disposal. Trench 170 contained burnt waste layers – probably associated with the closure of the airfield in 1948 – which contained a mix of technical and domestic waste including NAAFI plate, uniform buttons and ammunition. Trench 185 contained several furnaces used for disposal of 4lb incendiary bombs, again probably created towards the end of the war and the point the airfield was closed down in 1948.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Bourn, bourn, Bourn Airfield, bourn airfield, evaluation, Evaluation, archaeological evaluation, Iron Age, iron age, Middle Iron Age, middle iron age, settlement, landscape, pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, flint, lithic, lithics, worked flint, lithic implement, Mesolithic, mesolithic, Neolithic, neolithic, residual, residual flint, Iron Age pottery, iron age pottery, Middle Iron Age pottery, middle iron age pottery, Iron Age landscape, iron age landscape, Middle Iron Age landscape, middle iron age landscape, Middle Iron Age settlement, middle iron age settlement, ditch, ditches, gully, gullies, pit, pits, posthole, post hole, postholes, post holes, enclosure, square enclosure, Roman, roman, Roman pottery, roman pottery, Roman settlement, roman settlement, ridge and furrow, rig and furrow, furrow, Medieval, medieval, Post-Medieval, post-medieval, Post-medieval, Post Medieval, post medieval, farming, farming practices, airfield, Airfield, Air Field, air field, modern, Modern, WW2, ww2, World War 2, World War Two, world war 2, world war two, Seconde World War, second world war, taxiway, taxiways, hardstanding, furnace, furnaces, waste, waste disposal, NAAFI plate, uniform button, button, incendiary bomb, ammunition, gasmask, gas mask, fired clay, animal bone, animal bones, bone, bones, animal remains, mollusc, shell, coin, roman coin, Roman coin, nail, toothbrush, cutlery, militaria, quern, quern fragment, Post-Medieval pottery, post-medieval pottery, Post-medieval pottery, Post Medieval pottery, post medieval pottery, Refined White Earthenware, triangular weight, ecofact, ecofacts, 2256, report 2256, Report 2256, OAE report 2256
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Middle Iron Age 400 - 100 BC
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 08:42
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4711

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