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West Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire

Sparks, Lee and Dodd, Mark West Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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In June 2018, Oxford Archaeology were commissioned by Taylor Wimpey to
undertake an archaeological evaluation on the site of a proposed housing
development to the north of West Road, Sawbridgeworth (TL 47842 15448).
A programme of 19 trenches was undertaken to ground truth the results of a
geophysical survey and to assess the archaeological potential of the site.
The evaluation confirmed the presence of archaeological remains in areas
identified on the geophysics. Parts of a NW–SE‐aligned trackway were found
in Trenches 1 and 2. Field boundaries identified by geophysics (also present
on the 1839 tithe map) were found in Trenches 5 and 7, towards the south of
the site, and in Trenches 12 and 16, in the centre of the site.
Geophysical anomalies identified in the northern part of the site were
investigated and identified as geological.
The archaeology is consistent with the geophysical survey results and it is likely
that much of it has been truncated by modern agricultural activity.
Oxford Archaeology carried out an archaeological evaluation on the site of
proposed residential development north of West Road, Sawbridgeworth,
Hertfordshire, in February 2021. The fieldwork was commissioned by Taylor
Wimpey as a condition of planning permission.
Preceding geophysical survey of the c 5.7ha development site was undertaken
in 2016 and identified a concentration of linear and curvilinear anomalies in
the north-east corner of the site and two areas of several broadly NW–SE
aligned anomalies in the southern half of the site. Subsequent trial trench
evaluation, comprising the investigation of 19 trenches, was undertaken by
Oxford Archaeology in 2018, targeted upon the geophysical survey results. The
evaluation revealed a small number of ditches in the centre and south of the
site, correlating with the geophysical anomalies. Although generally undated,
the ditches were suggestive of a trackway and associated enclosure/field
boundaries. Other ditches encountered on site correlated with post-medieval
field boundaries depicted on 19th-century mapping.
Given the results of the 2018 evaluation, in conjunction with those of the 2018
investigations at nearby Chalk’s Farm, which uncovered the remains of late
Bronze Age–early Iron Age and early Roman settlement and agricultural
activity, it was deemed necessary to undertake a further phase of evaluation
at the site. Four additional trenches were excavated in the southern half of the
site to further investigate the previously revealed ditches.
The continuations of the trackway ditches were revealed in the centre of the
site, with remnants of a metalled surface also identified. Adjacent ditches may
demonstrate the maintenance and modification of the trackway or perhaps
associated enclosure/field boundaries. Artefactual dating evidence recovered
from these ditches was limited and of mixed date, comprising small pottery
sherds of late Bronze Age–early Iron Age date and fragments of Roman
ceramic building material. It is probable that these remains provide evidence
of outlying agricultural activity associated with the later prehistoric and early
Roman settlement evidence at Chalk’s Farm.
A further undated ditch and a parallel early Roman ditch were revealed in the
south of the site, suggestive of additional land divisions, probably agricultural
A post-medieval field boundary ditch and modern land drains are
demonstrative of agricultural use of the landscape during these periods.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Hertfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC > Late Bronze Age 1000 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 27 May 2022 14:51
Last Modified: 27 May 2022 14:51
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6294

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