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Sibford Road, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, Evaluation & Excavation

Boothroyd, John and Smith, Ian and Donnelly, Mike Sibford Road, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, Evaluation & Excavation. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Evaluation phase

Between the 27th and 29th of March 2017, Oxford Archaeology undertook an archaeological evaluation comprising nine trenches on land east of Sibrford Road, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire (NGR SP 35644 33828), in advance of a proposed housing development.
Prior to the evaluation, a series of linear anomalies had been identified within the development area through the use of geophysical survey. These features were interpreted as likely to represent prehistoric droveways.
Archaeological features were identified within six of the nine trenches confirming the results of the geophysical survey. A series of parallel diches were recorded running east to west at the northern end of the site before turning to the south-west. While these features are likely to represent droveway ditches, pottery recovered from the features suggests they are of Roman, rather than prehistoric, origin.
In addition to the droveway ditches, two inhumation burials, one confirmed and one suspected, were identified in Trench 1. The excavated grave was observed to be stone lined and a superficial clean of the inhumation indicated a prone burial with the head placed between the feet. Late 1st to 2nd century Roman pottery was recovered from the backfill of the grave.
A small assemblage of artefacts and ecofacts was recovered from the site, including pottery, clinker and animal bone

Excavation summary
Excavation by Oxford Archaeology at the northern edge of Hook Norton uncovered a small assemblage of prehistoric flintwork, a middle Iron Age pit containing a neonate burial, and an area of Roman settlement. The Roman activity could be divided into two broad phases. The earlier phase comprised a ditched trackway adjoined by a sequence of boundaries that were reorganised and rearranged recurrently over a period during the first and early second century, as well as the remains of a neonate buried in a ditch and a cremation burial of an adult. This was superseded by domestic occupation that continued until at least the late third century and included at least two rectangular stone-founded buildings, cobbled yard surfaces, a corndrying oven and seven burials. The range of features and the evidence for crop processing and animal husbandry are indicative of a farming settlement, but beyond that characterisation of the site is problematic, the absence of a settlement enclosure boundary or of the boundaries of fields and paddocks that typically surround farmsteads of this date being particularly unusual. The small size of the buildings may indicate that rather than representing domestic houses they are ancillary structures associated with an unidentified focus somewhere beyond the excavation area, perhaps extending beneath Redlands Farm to the north or into the unexcavated field west of Sibford Road.
The graves include two decapitated burials interred within stone-lined cists, which are the only burials here that were provided with such linings and are thought to be the only such examples thus far identified in the Cotswold/Upper Thames Valley region. The excavation report will be published in Oxoniensia, attached here are expanded animal bone, human bone and flint data and reports.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 12:21
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2021 15:19
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5913

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