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Bronze Age, Roman, Late Saxon, Medieval and Post-Medieval Remains in Huntingdon Town Centre, Cambridgeshire: An Archaeological Evaluation

Clarke, Rachel (2004) Bronze Age, Roman, Late Saxon, Medieval and Post-Medieval Remains in Huntingdon Town Centre, Cambridgeshire: An Archaeological Evaluation. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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The Archaeological Field Unit of Cambridgeshire County Council conducted an evaluation within Huntingdon Town Centre (TL 2380 7170) between the 23rd February and 8th April 2004. The site comprises a roughly triangular area of c.2.1ha, bounded by George Street to the north, Market Hill and Prince's Street to the east, Walden Road to the west, and the Bus Station to the south. The evaluation follows on from a desk-based assessment, and was designed as an initial investigation in advance of the Huntingdon Town Centre Modernisation Scheme, which involves the construction of purpose-built office accommodation and other buildings on the site.
Archaeological features and deposits were identified in each of the six trenches excavated, which were located in areas of the proposed development that are currently accessible. The earliest evidence comprises several sherds of Bronze Age pottery, redeposited in a medieval pit, close to Walden Road. Tentative evidence of Roman occupation was also recovered in the form of a possible feature or layer in a trench close to Prince's Street, and as residual sherds in later deposits in several of the other trenches. No Saxon features were identified, although it is possible that these are located below the Late Saxon and medieval levels in some of the trenches, and/or elsewhere within the development area. A small number of features containing Saxo-Norman pottery were recorded in several of the trenches, most of which are likely to be post-Conquest in date.
The most significant results from the evaluation relate to the medieval period (predominantly the 13th and 14th centuries), and features of this date were present in all six trenches. A range of features characteristic of urban settlement, including dense zones of pitting, remains of timber buildings, cobbled surfaces and a possible well, were recorded. The most concentrated areas of medieval archaeology were found in Trench 1, the northern end of Trench 2, the western end of Trench 3 and Trench 4. This evidence clearly shows that settlement had expanded away from the primary street frontage zones close to the High Street and Market, into more secondary areas to the rear of these zones, and along the back lanes. This correlates with documentary sources, which indicate that Huntingdon was a successful and prosperous settlement in this period.
Evidence of urban contraction in he later medieval period was also evident in the trenches, where an extensive cultivation layer way encountered sealing the medieval features. This suggests that his part of the town was reclaimed for agricultural purposes, a situation that apparently remained unchanged for centuries. This again supports the documentary evidence, which suggest that Huntingdon suffered a period of decline from the 14th century onward. In the post-medieval period, cartographic sources, such as Speed's map of 1610, show that most of the development area lay within laid gardens to the rear of Walden House and Lawrence Court. This was reiterated by the archaeological evidence, which included a garden soil and a small number of brick drains, walls and levelling layers.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Huntingdon, huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, 724, report 724, Report 724, CCCAFU report 724, Bronze Age, bronze age, Late Saxon, late saxon, Early Medieval, early medieval, medieval, Medieval, Post-Medieval, post-medieval, Post Medieval, post medieval, pottery, Pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, vessel, Bronze Age pottery, bronze age pottery, Late Saxon pottery, late saxon pottery, Early Medieval pottery, early medieval pottery, medieval pottery, Medieval pottery, Post-Medieval pottery, post-medieval pottery, Post Medieval pottery, post medieval pottery, settlement, urban, urban settlement, well, structure, building, timber-framed building, timber framed building, surface, cobbled surface, pit, pits, pitting, agriculture, gardens
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Early Medieval 410 - 1066 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Depositing User: Archives
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2022 11:44
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 11:44
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5310

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