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Early Iron Age and medieval to modern settlement remains at Harvest Way, Barnwell, Cambridge: Full Report

Atkins, Robert and Connor, Aileen and Morgan, Stephen (2019) Early Iron Age and medieval to modern settlement remains at Harvest Way, Barnwell, Cambridge: Full Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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An archaeological excavation was carried out by Oxford Archaeology East at 9–15 Harvest Way, Barnwell, Cambridge (TL 4635 5887) between 3 February and 27 June 2014 in advance of the construction of apartments over retail outlets with associated services and access routes. This work extended over a 2440.9m² area and followed on from trench evaluation (Atkins 2013a). The excavation area was limited by its proximity to the modern Newmarket Road. Although the origins of this road date to at least as early as the 12th century, and probably before, its extent and alignment have fluctuated. The road as it is now being widened to the south in the late 1960s and has thus removed all evidence for activity close to the street frontage.
The site lies on the south side of Newmarket Road within the Cambridge suburb of Barnwell. Barnwell started as a settlement servicing Barnwell Priory in the 12th or 13th century with its peak in the 14th to 15th centuries. Whilst the dissolution of the priory in the early 16th century had some impact on the settlement, excavation of this site has shown that it continued to be occupied throughout the 17th to 20th centuries.
The evidence from this site best represents the medieval and post-medieval periods, but there are some hints of earlier occupation. A crouched burial of a male adult was found within five metres of the modern Newmarket Road and was radiocarbon-dated to 800–546 cal BC. The fragmentary remains of a curvilinear ditch may be other evidence for a prehistoric presence. Whilst no features were present that could be positively identified as Late Saxon, a small number (63) of pottery sherds of this period attest to a limited presence.
Soon after the foundation of the priory, the site was organised into plots along a street frontage (later to become Newmarket Road). The plots may initially have been used only as animal paddocks or may be evidence of a deliberate founding of a new settlement, since later features seem to have been influenced by this organisational structure. All later features seem to have been influenced by this initial layout and it is proposed that the site was divided into eight properties, each with a frontage onto the street where the main dwelling would have been (outside the excavated area). Medieval features included large numbers of pits, along with specialised features including several deep (over 4m) wells, ovens and clay-lined tanks. Groups of postholes may represent temporary buildings, particularly towards the street frontage.
The post-Dissolution activity included indirect evidence for a possible high status building on the west side of the site. A deep, stone-lined cess pit occupied this area. Lined with stone taken from the priory, this feature was almost certainly associated with a high status building. It is speculated that this may be the ‘Old Manor’ referred to in Victorian documents. There is no other excavated evidence for a high status building here, although a group of postholes (Building 8) may be associated with it, and along the now demolished frontage a building that may have been built in the 16th century still stood in the 20th century. Clear evidence for a row of houses fronting the street was in the form of H-shaped chimney bases. The survival of these was variable but they were spaced at regular intervals, all faced the same direction and each showed evidence for passageways between them. Comparison with the First Edition Ordnance Survey map shows that these buildings correspond well with the property divisions of the late 19th century.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the plots behind the houses were gradually built over. One of the earliest of these buildings was a probable stable associated with a possible inn. The stable was of brick construction and may date as early as 17th century. A cellar associated with the inn showed signs of having been severely damaged by fire, and can perhaps be linked to the documented 1731 Fire of Barnwell.
The earlier properties continued into the 19th century but the backplots became more heavily built up along the passageways. For the first time the names and functions of individual properties can be identified and included perhaps three public houses or inns (The George, The Shamrock and the Black Bull) at the eastern end of the site. Shamrock Passage and Brown's Yard were heavily developed and included rows of small terraced houses, whereas George and Dragon Yard remained open. Another passage (at the west end of the site) was developed and named Leeke Street. Two probable passageways between George and Dragon Yard and Leeke Street were built over entirely, although boundaries had fossilised in parts, indicating the routes of the earlier passages.
A wide range of artefacts and ecofacts was recovered from all periods and included some significant assemblages. Large quantities of pottery were recovered including complete and near complete medieval jugs, and from the post-medieval period there was a particularly interesting group of collegiate pottery. There was a wide range of metal and bone objects of mostly later medieval and post-medieval date, providing evidence for personal ornament, craft-working, building and domestic activities. The plant remains, particularly charred seeds, provide interesting information about the types of local environment and processes undertaken and their study has shown possible evidence for brewing, baking and dyeing. The faunal remains provide evidence for the wide range of meats consumed in every period and the changing diets over time.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Cambridge, cambridge, Newmarket Road, newmarket road, Barnwell, barnwell, Barnwell Priory, barnwell priory, Bronze Age, bronze age, Medieval, medieval, Post-Medieval, post-medieval, Post Medieval, post medieval, Modern, modern, Early Medieval, early medieval, Pottery, pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, vessel, Medieval pottery, medieval pottery, Post-Medieval pottery, post-medieval pottery, Post Medieval pottery, post medieval pottery, Modern pottery, modern pottery, Early Medieval pottery, early medieval pottery, Collegiate pottery, collegiate pottery, Thetford ware, thetford ware, St Neots ware, st neots ware, Shelly ware, shelly ware, Sandy ware, sandy ware, Grey ware, grey ware, Ely ware, ely ware, Medieval Ely ware, medieval ely ware, East Anglian Redware, east anglian redware, Hedingham, hedingham, Hedingham Fineware, hedingham fineware, Hedingham Courseware, hedingham courseware, Late Medieval East Anglian Redware, late medieval east anglian redware, jug, bowl, South-east Fenland Medieval Calcareous Buff ware, south-east fenland medieval calcareous buff ware, Tin-glazed ware, tin-glazed ware, Creamware, creamware, Stoneware, stoneware, stone ware, Pearlware, pearlware, pearl ware, Refined White Earthenware, refined white earthenware, Staffordshire-type Slipware, staffordshire-type slipware, slag, metal-working debris, MWD, mwd, Metal-working Debris, clay pipe, CTP, ctp, clay tobacco pipe, Clay Tobacco Pipe, CBM, cbm, Ceramic Building Material, ceramic building material, Brick, brick, Tile, tile, peg tile, floor tile, floor brick, pantile, ridge tile, daub, fired clay, animal remains, animal bone, animal bones, bone, bones, worked stone, worked stones, dressed stone, architectural fragment, architectural fragments, building stone, reused stone, St Andrew-the-Less, Barnack stone, barnack stone, window, moulding, lancet, Balustrade of Monumental Tomb, balustrade of monumental tomb, Balustrade, balustrade, coin, coins, long-cross penny, Edward 1, Edward I, farthing, Victoria, halfpenny, jetton, jeton, token, tokens, jettons, jetons, buckle, buckles, shoe buckle, dress pin, aglet, thimble, tag, spigot handle, worked bone, knife handle, pin, crotal bell, spoon, Gecophone, gecophone, knife, nail, nails, horseshoe, horse shoe, key, whetstone, quern, millstone, mill stone, lava quern, mortar, stone vessel, lamp, stone lamp, parchment pricker, stylus, handle, knife handle, dice, die, toggle, needle case, pin case, worked wood, wood, plank, awl, peg, bowl, lathe-turned bowl, glass, bullion glass, window glass, bottle, shard, HSR, hsr, Human Remains, human remains, burial, crouched burial, Bronze Age burial, bronze age burial, Bronze Age, crouched burial, bronze age crouched burial, inhumation, disarticulated remains, Radiocarbon date, radiocarbon date, C14, Ecofacts, ecofacts, cattle, cow, sheep, goat, pig, horse, dog, shell, marine shell, marine molluscs, oyster shell, insect remains, pollen, pollen sample, grain, cereal, wheat, rye, barley, well, pit, pits, welle, oven, hearth, tank, wall, walls, building, buildings, drain, ditch, yard, courtyard, structure, structural, property, properties, plot, plots, backyards, back premise, pub, George and Dragon yard, shop, workshop, layer, surface, drain, drains, public house, inn, The George, the george, the shamrock, The Shamrock, The Black Bull, the black bull, shamrock passage, Shamrock Passage, Brown's Yard, brown's yard, house, houses, terrace, terraced house, terraced houses, OS map, os map, Ordinance Survey, ordinance survey, paddock, paddocks, animal paddocks, monastery, dissolution, Dissolution, cess pit, cess-pit, stone lined, clay-lined tank, chimney base, 1806, report 1806, Report 1806, OAE report 1806
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC > Late Bronze Age 1000 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2020 09:54
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2020 09:54
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5826

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