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Land east of Sutton, Courtenay Lane, Sutton, Oxfordshire Courtenay,Archaeological Evaluation Report Sutton Courtenay Sutton Courtenay Lane excavation - forthcoming Land East of Sutton Courtenay Lane, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire Watching Brief Report

Howsam, Charlotte and Vellet, Peter and Champness, Carl and Carne, John Land east of Sutton, Courtenay Lane, Sutton, Oxfordshire Courtenay,Archaeological Evaluation Report Sutton Courtenay Sutton Courtenay Lane excavation - forthcoming Land East of Sutton Courtenay Lane, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire Watching Brief Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology (OA) was commissioned by CgMs Consulting to undertake a trial trench evaluation on land east of Sutton Courtenay Lane, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, centred on NGR SU 5034 9237. A programme of 23 trenches were
excavated, laid out to provide a good general coverage of the site. The work was undertaken within the surrounding waste ground amongst the derelict warehouses
of the site. Due to restrictions caused by ground contamination, 11 of the excavated trenches were either wholly or partially abandoned.
The results of the evaluation demonstrated a high-level of archaeological activity in the northwest of the proposed development. Concentrations of prehistoric and
Roman remains including large settlement enclosure ditches were identified in trenches 6-15. This activity appears to represent a distinct complex of linear and
curvilinear enclosure ditches, smaller boundary ditches and discreet features comprising pits, gullies and post holes. The frequency of inter-cutting features,
particularly of the enclosure ditches, was representative of a multiple phase settlement, where the re-establishment of boundaries was clearly evident. This
settlement spanned the Late Iron Age to Late Roman periods, with possible hints of Saxon activity within the wider area.
The pottery assemblages dated to the middle Iron Age concentrated in trenches 7, 8, 9, and 11 in the north-west corner of the site, while the late Roman groups were
recovered from trenches 6, 10, 11, 13, and 14, also in the north-west corner of the site, but extending further east and may indicate a shift in settlement focus through
time at the site. Crop marks identified immediately to the north clearly shows the settlement continuing outside of the site boundary and indicate a large rectangular
enclosure with internal small rectangular and circular divisions surrounded by field systems and animal enclosures.
The remains of dispersed field systems and other low-level activity were identified during the evaluation to the east and south of the settlement area. Areas of
contaminated and disturbed ground were also located across the site and relate to previous phases of landscaping and warehouse development. The nature of
archaeological preservation within these areas are either reduced or uncertain.
A single coin of Constantine II (AD 337-340), was found within one of the enclosure ditches. Two decorated weaving combs provide evidence for the production of
domestic textile at the site. A fragment of worked antler also indicates bone working was being carried out in the vicinity. Furthermore, the environmental sampling in this
area of site produced charred remains and animal bones indicative of arable farming and settlement activity within the vicinity. Fired clay fragments interpreted as oven structure were also recovered.
Two military pillboxes and two large concrete water tanks were also recorded at the north-west and south-west corners of the derelict distribution centre. These relate to
the former WWII military warehouses that were located at the site.

Preceding phases of trial-trench evaluation and monitoring in 2016 and 2018 established the presence of prehistoric and Roman remains indicating a multi-phase settlement site, upon which the excavated area, totalling c 1.4ha, was subsequently targeted.
The recovery of a small quantity of residual worked flint provides evidence of limited earlier prehistoric activity. Evidence of earliest Iron Age activity was in the form of a possible roundhouse ditch and small quantity of pottery. The remains of a more substantial settlement dates to the early Iron Age, comprising a series of curvilinear ditches defining several roundhouses demonstrating a sequential pattern of occupation. Activity continued throughout much of the middle Iron Age when several large enclosures were established, possibly for livestock management. Multiple recuts demonstrate the maintenance of the enclosure ditches. Numerous Iron Age pits and postholes, some of which formed four-post structures, are also indicative of associated activity. Pottery dates to the latter part of the early Iron Age and throughout the middle Iron Age.
Evidence of activity spanning the Roman period was predominately composed of land boundaries, a trackway and subsidiary fields/enclosures that underwent several phases of maintenance and modification throughout the period. A late Iron Age/early Roman inhumation burial and a small assemblage of contemporary finds may indicate the earliest phase of the Roman rural settlement site. The addition of a corndryer and a nearby rectangular post-built building in the late Roman period are suggestive of a developed arable-farming regime, while the animal-bone assemblage highlights the importance of a mixed agricultural economy. The quantity and variety of finds indicate the deposition of domestic waste from nearby settlement. Signs of more deliberate, placed deposits are evident, including a probable coin hoard and human remains within the latest phases of the Roman ditches, perhaps associated with the abandonment of the site.
Subseqeunt activity is indicated by a small number of early–middle Anglo-Saxon pits and an inhumation burial. Later agricultural activity and development of the site is demonstrated by historic mapping and a small quantity of intrusive medieval/early post-medieval finds.

Watching brief
In September 2018 Oxford Archaeology (OA) was commissioned by CgMs Heritage to undertake a watching brief on land east of Sutton Courtenay Lane, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, along a 250m service trench. This was the first
phase of archaeological mitigation works for a new warehouse development being constructed on the site.
While large sections of the trench were heavily truncated, either by modern landscaping or extensive rooting, several concentrations of archaeological
features were identified. This activity appeared to be associated with the Iron Age and Roman settlement activity identified in an adjacent evaluation dug in
2016. At least four main areas of archaeological features were identified in the trench consisting of intercutting ditches, pits, gullies and a posthole.
The pottery assemblage ranged from the middle Iron Age through to the early Roman period. The watching brief assemblage appeared to be predominantly
middle Iron Age in date and may indicate that the main focus of late Roman activity was further eastwards towards the previous evaluation area. The work was also able to demonstrate evidence of Anglo-Saxon activity in the form of
a possible sunken-featured building.
A well-preserved faunal assemblage of horse, cattle and sheep/goat with evidence of butchery and de-fleshing was recovered from these features.
Evidence of wartime remains and rubbish deposits was also identified within or close to the service trench.
Overall the watching brief provided further evidence of a multi-phase settlement within the north-west of the development associated with middle
Iron Age to Roman enclosures and structures. There is a clear settlement focus of middle Iron Age activity within the service trench, with a possible shift to
the east during the late Roman period. The finds assemblage is suggestive of a moderately high-status middle Iron Age settlement that continued in use into the Roman period.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Early Medieval 410 - 1066 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2021 08:53
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2022 11:42
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6021

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