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A421 Improvements: M1 Junction 13 to Bedford & Berry Farm Borrow Area:Evaluation Report & Whitbred Borrow Area: Evaluation Report

Simmonds, Andrew and Meara, Hefin A421 Improvements: M1 Junction 13 to Bedford & Berry Farm Borrow Area:Evaluation Report & Whitbred Borrow Area: Evaluation Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

During November 2008 Oxford Archaeology carried out an archaeological field
evaluation on behalf of Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd along the proposed
route of the A421 Improvements: M1 Junction 13 to Bedford, between NGR SP 955
375 and TL 045 465.
The evaluation has identified ten areas of archaeological remains. Six of these
(Trench 48; Trench 54; Trenches 59-61; Trenches 91-2; Trenches 97-100; Trenches
114-120) are interpreted on the basis of the range of features and finds recorded as
being possible settlement sites of late Iron Age or Roman date. Two further areas,
where groups of ditches of uncertain date were recorded, may represent field
boundaries forming part of a contemporary rural landscape. This pattern is
consistent with the general picture established for rural areas of Bedfordshire during
the late Iron Age and Roman period, which consists of small settlements
interspersed with areas of fields.
Only one of these sites, that in Area 7 (Trenches 114-120), has been identified as
continuing in use into the later part of the Roman period. This subsequent decline in
the number of settlements in relation to the late Iron Age/early Roman period may
be attributed to the adoption of a less dispersed settlement pattern, with settlement
becoming focused on villa estates.
During the medieval period settlement became more nucleated, and this is
demonstrated in the case of the current project by the limitation of remains of this
period to a small area east of Lower End Farm, approximately defined by trenches
31, 34, 37 and 38. These remains form part of the deserted medieval village of
Lower End, which extends into the development corridor at this location. The
ubiquitous presence of furrows resulting from ridge and furrow cultivation indicates
that much of the area encompassed by the scheme was farmland during this period.
Berry Farm
In January 2009, Oxford Archaeology undertook an evaluation by trial trenching of
the proposed Berry Farm Borrow Area for Balfour Beatty. The site is centred on
NGR: 500632, 243638.
A total of ten trenches were excavated. The evaluation revealed two separate areas
of archaeology.
The first area was located in the NE corner of the site. It was comprised of pits and
ditches, including a number of very wide linear features, potentially forming the
boundary to a settlement.
The second area of activity was located along the southern perimeter of the site. In
this area the evaluation exposed a series of sub-rectangular enclosures.
The results of the evaluation correspond well with an earlier geophysical survey of
the site.
Finds recovered from both of these areas indicate that the archaeological deposits
date to the late Iron Age-early Romano-British period, suggesting settlement activity
during that period.
Whitbread Barrow
In January 2009, Oxford Archaeology (OA) undertook an evaluation by trial
trenching of the proposed Whitbred Borrow Area on behalf of Balfour Beatty Civil
Engineering Ltd. The site is centred on NGR 503955 246210.
A total of nine trenches were excavated. The evaluation revealed the site to have
been truncated by modern activity, possibly related to previous work on the A421.
No archaeological features were observed during the course of the evaluation. The
trenches revealed natural geology overlain by a layer of made ground which was in
turn overlain by topsoil. The presence of a layer of made ground directly overlying
the natural clay indicates that the site has previously been stripped of topsoil which
is likely to have damaged or destroyed any archaeological features which may once
have existed at the site.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Bedfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Late Iron Age 100 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2020 16:15
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2022 14:31
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5808

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