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Beech Court, Abingdon School, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Strutt, Ashley and Vellet, Peter Beech Court, Abingdon School, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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An archaeological watching brief was carried out at Beech Court, Abingdon School
between 1st June 2016 and 3rd March 2018 in advance of the construction of a new
classroom, access and garage.
Ground investigations, comprising test pits TP 1-9 and CBR 1-3, window samples
WS 1-8 and boreholes BH 1-2, were monitored, but these were only occasionally
deep enough to reach natural, and no archaeological features other than of recent
date were found. A report was prepared (OA 2016) and approved by Hugh
Coddington, Senior Archaeological Officer of Oxfordshire County Council.
In the western half of the site, Test Pits 10-12 were dug to investigate the spread of
tree roots in the western part of the site, and TP 12 located a stone wall not visible
on any historic maps. Three further trenches (Areas 5-7) were excavated along the
projected line of the wall to clarify its character, date and extent.
These established that a series of three stone piers around 3.5m apart (centre to
centre), and whose upper surfaces were all at similar heights above OD, had been
constructed in the later 18th century. They are believed to represent supports for a
timber-arcaded structure of late 18th to early 19th century date.
The southernmost trench (Area 5) did not find a continuation of the piers, but
encountered two features cut into the natural gravel. The smaller of the two was
excavated, and contained the partial skeleton of a dog, together with an 18th
century sherd from a Chinese porcelain bowl. The larger feature was not excavated.
What was believed to be the northern corner of this pit was also found in the corner
of Area 7, suggesting that the feature was nearly 4m long and over 2m wide.
The finds and animal bones indicate activity concentrated in the late 17th and 18th
centuries, probably related to occupation at Lacies Court adjacent. A concentration
of horse bones, many of which were dog-gnawed, may indicate that horseflesh was
used as dog-meat. A report on these investigations was prepared (OA 2017) and
approved by Hugh Coddington.
In the eastern half of the site, two small areas (Areas 1 and 2) were investigated
next to the wall fronting onto Bath Street to clarify the depth of foundations of the
wall, which was being broken through for a new entrance to the site. Area 1 in the
north-eastern corner exposed a brick surface dating to the later 19th century. Area 2
in the southern-eastern corner contained a pit which was only partly observed, but
contained 19th century material.
Clearing of the new drive (Area 3) revealed the top of a known World War II bunker,
around the edge of which were a number of pits and a tree-throw hole, all appearing
to be post-medieval in date.
At the west end of the drive a soakaway and the foundations for a garage were
monitored, together with service trenches 1-4 running from the western half of the
site into the soakaway and up to the garage. These trenches revealed very little
evidence of archaeology. Trench 3 included a construction cut and a tree-throw
hole, both of which appeared to be 19th to 20th century in date. Trench 4 exposed
part of a large quarry pit which was thought to be post-medieval in date

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 14:18
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2020 14:18
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5728

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