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Iron Age and Medieval Settlement Adjacent to Covens Moat, East Chesterton, Cambridge

Greef, Andrew (2019) Iron Age and Medieval Settlement Adjacent to Covens Moat, East Chesterton, Cambridge. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between December 2016 and January 2018 Oxford Archaeology East (OA East) carried out three separate intermittent phases of excavation at Nos 45-86 Eastfield, East Chesterton, Cambridge. Three areas (Areas 1-3) were excavated within a proposed 1.4ha residential development that extended to the east and west of Eastfield Road. The site lies within the suburban setting of Chesterton, which extends to the east of Cambridge, along the north bank of the River Cam. The two easterly excavations comprised Area 1 (0.24ha) and Area 2 (0.17ha) that extended around the northern and south-eastern parts of the development respectively. Area 3 comprised a 0.17ha excavation within the south-western part of the development; to the west of Eastfield Road.
A broad swathe of pitting was revealed in Area 1 which dated to the Early Iron Age and probably represents the edge of an area of open settlement. This pitting was located at the north of the development area, along the crest of a gentle hill, with the remainder of the settlement likely to have been situated at a slightly higher elevation further to the north. Later in the Iron Age a set of (partially exposed) enclosures succeeded these features, although the quantities of domestic material recovered were less abundant. Aside from a small number of pits and some residual artefacts, Roman activity in the area was negligible and the site remained unoccupied until the medieval period.
The excavation of Area 3 confirmed that the broad, scrub-filled linear depression along the site’s south-western boundary was the extant remains of ‘Covens Moat’, believed to be a medieval manorial site. Furthermore, a metalled surface first observed in the expansion of Trench 1 confirmed the presence of a historical road that passed to the east of the moat. The excavations of all three areas revealed a medieval landscape, centred on the moated site and consisting of plots and field boundaries aligned with both this road and another perpendicular trackway, with associated pits and post-built structures. One large pit within this phase of activity contained the remains of multiple articulated pigs and piglets, indicating that pig husbandry was carried out in the vicinity. Whilst the moat and road survived within the landscape into the late medieval and early post-medieval periods, occupation in the area declined and the land eventually reverted to a system of large open fields.
Environmental evidence in the form of pollen recovered from the moat deposits and waterlogged features on site have enabled some examination of the changes in land use throughout this sequence. The results indicate a prehistoric environment of damp meadows and mixed woodland which over time saw a gradual clearance probably to maximize grazing potential. The possible creation of an ornamental garden within the adjacent manorial site was also indicated.
Documentary and cartographic research has been undertaken to investigate details about the history of Covens Moat in relation to the excavated remains in order to place them within the broader context of Chesterton’s development.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: archaeological excavation, Excavation, excavation, Evaluation, evaluation, Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Cambridge, cambridge, Chesterton, chesterton, Moat, moat, Covens Moat, covens moat, Iron Age, iron age, Early Iron Age, early iron age, Medieval, medieval, pottery, Pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, Iron Age pottery, iron age pottery, Early Iron Age pottery, early iron age pottery, Medieval pottery, medieval pottery, animal remains, animal bones, animal bone, bone, bones, pig, piglet, pit, pits, pitting, enclosure, enclosures, settlement, settlement features, metalled surface, surface, road, metalled road, metalled road surface, plot, plots, boundary, field boundary, ditch, ditches, boundary ditch, boundary ditches, trackway, structure, structures, post, postbuilt, post-built, post built, post built structure, meadow, meadowland, clearance, pollen, full report, grey lit, 2276, report 2276, Report 2276, OAE report 2276
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Early Iron Age 800 - 400 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 09:37
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5456

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