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A Late Iron Age and Early Roman agricultural landscape at Gidding Road, Sawtry, Cambridgeshire

Thatcher, Chris (2021) A Late Iron Age and Early Roman agricultural landscape at Gidding Road, Sawtry, Cambridgeshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between July and December 2019 Oxford Archaeology East (OA East) carried out an open-area excavation on 4.6ha of land south of Gidding Road, Sawtry, Cambridgeshire (TL 1623 8329), in advance of residential development. The principal remains revealed by the excavation dated to the Late Iron Age and Romano-British periods and relate to a larger area of settlement and agricultural activity on the western edge of the modern village, elements of which have also been recently investigated by excavations immediately to the north of the site, at Glebe Farm.
The sequence of Iron Age and Romano-British features revealed by the excavation developed on either side of a north-east to south-west aligned seasonal watercourse (winterbourne) which bisected the excavation area. Activity appears to have begun in the Late Iron Age/earliest Romano-British period, when boundary ditches were laid out on the land either side of the winterbourne. In the southern part of the site these ditches were associated with the remains of several possible temporary structures/shelters and with a possible ditched droveway, which provided access to, and crossed, the winterbourne. Activity continued uninterrupted into the later 1st century AD, when modifications were made to the existing layout of boundary and droveway ditches and several large waterholes were dug in the northern part of the site. From the late-1st to mid-2nd century AD activity intensified on the northern side of the winterbourne, with the establishment of a multiphase rectilinear enclosure and a system of small fields/plots. Two of the ditched boundaries were associated with isolated Romano-British burials; one cremation burial and one inhumation. Although no definite structures/buildings were identified, evidence for contemporary settlement in the vicinity was provided by a substantial assemblage of Roman pottery (4913 sherds, 55,331g) and by a restricted range of other finds including metalwork and fired clay, alongside animal bone and charred plant remains.
The pottery assemblage suggests that activity at the site peaked in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, with 97% of the pottery dating to this broad period. From the later 2nd century AD, the level of activity significantly declined and features that were clearly dated between the later 2nd-4th century AD were restricted to a midden deposit and a large pit or waterhole along the northern edge of excavation. Palynological analysis of a sequence from one the waterholes in the northern part site of the site suggests this decline in activity may have corresponded with a marked change to wetter conditions, but it may also relate to a local reorganisation of settlement associated with the growing influence and importance of the major transport and trade route represented by Ermine Street, located just over 1km to the east, where there is evidence of extensive Roman settlement.
Limited land-use continued into the Early Anglo-Saxon period, evidenced by a small assemblage of pottery (24 sherds, 537g) from the upper fills of earlier features. Evidence for later activity was restricted to the remains of medieval – post-medieval ridge and furrow and modern field boundaries.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Sawtry, sawtry, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, full report, Iron Age, iron age, Late Iron Age, late iron age, Roman, roman, Romano-British, romano-british, pottery, Pottery, pot, ceramic, vessel, sherd, Iron Age pottery, iron age pottery, Late Iron Age pottery, late iron age pottery, Roman pottery, roman pottery, watercourse, water course, winterbourne, droveway, ditch, ditches, ditched droveway, boundary ditch, boundary ditches, structure, structures, temporary structure, agriculture, cremation, inhumation, burial, burials, Roman burial, roman burial, HSR, hsr, Human Remains, human remains, cremated remains, animal remains, animal bone, animal bones, bone, bones, burnt bone, Palynological analysis, pollen, waterhole, watering hole, palynological analysis, medieval ridge and furrow, ridge and furrow, furrow, furrows, post-medieval ridge and furrow, 2531, report 2531, Report 2531, OAE report 2531
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
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 East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 09:16
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2021 11:14
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6149

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