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Bicester Eco Development Bicester Oxfordshire

Hughes, Vix and Booth, Paul and Poole, Cynthia and Scott, Ian and Cotter, John and Crann, Geraldine and Shaffrey, Ruth and Webb, Helen and Strid, Lena and Cook, Sharon Bicester Eco Development Bicester Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology South (OAS) was commissioned by Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd,
on behalf of A2Dominion, to undertake an evaluation of the site of the proposed
Bicester Eco Development to the north-west of Bicester, Oxfordshire (centred on SP
56700 24200) in advance of submission of an Outline Planning Application for
proposed development.
The work took place between 12th August and 25th October 2013. A total of 529
trenches were excavated across the area. Of these trenches, 130 had features of
archaeological origin, including 26 that had only furrows or modern features.
Evidence was found for activity from several periods. The earliest was represented
by a single feature containing pottery sherds (Peterborough ware) of middle
Neolithic date (c. 3400-2500 BC). The presence of isolated features or small
clusters features widely dispersed in the landscape is typical of this period.
A number of archaeological features were in a small valley on the eastern side of
the site. While these were undated, the presence of burnt stones and charcoal
forming low mounds sealed beneath a deposit of colluvium (hill-wash deposits) is
significant. Such 'burnt mounds' are widely known (although unusual in Oxfordshire)
and generally date to the Bronze Age (c. 2400-700 BC) and may be the remains of
prehistoric saunas or, alternatively, specialised cooking sites. A number of pits and a
sinuous ditch in the same valley may represent further activity of the same date.There were five widely-separated locations which produced substantial quantities of
early-middle Iron Age pottery (c. 700-100BC), as well as a number of other features
which produced single sherds or features in which the pottery was found in
association with later material. Such a dispersed pattern of activity is somewhat
unusual for this period but may suggest that the site lies in the hinterland of a more
substantial settlement located elsewhere.
There were two main areas and one subsidiary area of Roman activity (AD 43-410)
revealed by the evaluation. The two main areas of activity are typical of Roman rural
settlements in Oxfordshire (and elsewhere) in terms of the types features and range
of artefacts present. They are potentially noteworthy, however, in terms of their
chronological range, spanning, as they did, the whole Roman period. Such
continuity, with some evidence of expansion in the late Roman period, is perhaps
unusual. The third, smaller area of activity contained material of largely early Roman
date and may have been a small, outlying farmstead. Human remains were found in
all three areas.
Geophysical anomalies suggesting the presence of ridge and furrow agriculture
were fairly widespread across the site and furrows were also present in a number of
trenches. This suggests that much of the site was under arable cultivation during the
medieval period (and later). No evidence of medieval or later settlement was
recorded on the site, aside from the extant farmhouses themselves.
There were a large number of undated features present across the site. Most of
these were ditches and it is likely that these were boundary and drainage ditches
associated with the agricultural use of the site. While these could be of almost any
date from the later prehistoric period onwards, it is, perhaps, most likely that they
are of medieval or later date.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2020 12:13
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2020 12:13
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5708

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