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Isotope report to accompany Prehistoric activity and a late Roman cemetery at Worthy Down Camp and Service Families Accommodation, Hampshire: Archaeological excavation report

Teague, Steven and Biddulph, Edward and Hayden, Chris and Gibson, Mark and Foreman, Stuart and Jay, Mandy Isotope report to accompany Prehistoric activity and a late Roman cemetery at Worthy Down Camp and Service Families Accommodation, Hampshire: Archaeological excavation report. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology. (In Press)

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Isotope report to accompany excavation report.
Oxford Archaeology carried out a programme of archaeological investigation between 2014 and 2016 at Worthy Down Camp near Winchester in Hampshire as part of Project Wellesley, a major development at the site. The archaeological work was commissioned by Skanska on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. The fieldwork was undertaken in several phases and comprised different forms of investigation, chiefly trial-trench evaluation, open area excavation and the monitoring of development works.
Apart from worked flint of possible Mesolithic date, the earliest archaeological evidence belonged to the Late Neolithic period in the form of a pit, which contained, among other finds, large sherds from at least eight late Neolithic Grooved Ware vessels, an assemblage of unabraded flint flakes typical of late Neolithic knapping, and bones from a buzzard and foetal and perinatal pigs. Residue from charred food waste from one Grooved Ware vessel returned a radiocarbon date of 2894-2706 cal BC. The finds appear to consist of mixed midden material relating to everyday subsistence and a specialised focus on pig-keeping, although the possibility of that some of the objects, most plausibly the pottery, were deliberately selected for deposition cannot be ruled out.
Two pits were dated to the middle Bronze Age. One pit contained animal bone, worked flint flakes and cores, quantities of burnt flint, and the remains of at least five pottery vessels in Deverel-Rimbury-style. The results of organic residue analysis suggest that some of the vessels had been used to process dairy products. A charred twig returned a radiocarbon date of 1200-1000 cal BC. Like those from the Neolithic pit, the finds are typical of domestic waste. A Deverel-Rimbury pottery urn had been inserted snugly into the second pit. No cremated bone was recovered, and it is possible that the vessel functioned as a ‘cool container’ for the storage of dairy or other products or formed part of a cenotaph.
Occupation resumed in the late Bronze Age after a hiatus. The features assigned to this period were dispersed but relate to settlement and farming activity and include two circular post-built structures, two four-post structures that served as granaries, and a boundary ditch. A pattern of postholes may outline a large rectangular structure, but it could not be closely dated within the prehistoric period. Parts of a large ditch shown by cropmarks to extend for several kilometres were uncovered in the excavation. Dating evidence suggests that the ditch continued to receive material into the late Roman period or beyond, but it is possible that the ditch was originally dug as a boundary or trackway in the Iron Age or earlier.
Excavations uncovered part of a late Roman cemetery. Some 19 inhumation graves were recorded, with coins placed in the graves dating them to the second half of the 4th century AD. The burials were generally orientated NW-SE, with the head commonly at the west end, and displayed diverse rites; one burial, for example, had been decapitated, while another was crouched. Osteological analysis showed that the population had an atypical demographic profile, being skewed towards younger adults, and had suffered from poor dental health and nutrition, joint and bone disease, and fractures caused by violence or injury. Isotope analysis suggests that several individuals spent their childhoods outside Britain, potentially the Mediterranean. Two skeletons exhibited traits consistent with Black and Black or Asian ancestry. Overall, the analysis pointed to a population of low-status agricultural workers, perhaps bonded labourers or slaves, attached to a villa estate.
No evidence dating to the medieval or post-medieval periods was uncovered.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Primary Archives
Geographical Areas > English Counties > Hampshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC > Late Bronze Age 1000 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC > Middle Bronze Age 1600 - 1,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2020 09:50
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 10:48
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5857

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