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A Late Iron Age and Romano-British settlement at Lamp Hill, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire

Thatcher, Chris and Phillips, Tom (2022) A Late Iron Age and Romano-British settlement at Lamp Hill, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between July and October 2018, Oxford Archaeology East (OA East) undertook an open area excavation within an area of land known as Lamp Hill, located approximately 600m south-east of the National Trust property at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire. The total excavation area encompassed 1.6ha and was undertaken in advance of a new car park to service the property.
Located on a ridge of higher ground, in a prominent position overlooking the Rhee valley, as well as Roman Ermine Street and Akeman Street, the earliest evidence for activity on the site – apart from a small assemblage of earlier flints – dated to the Late Iron Age. This comprised a sequence of small enclosures and linear boundaries on the upper reaches of the south-facing slope. To the north, the remains of up to five ring gullies, probably agricultural in function, survived on the plateau of Lamp Hill. New enclosures were constructed at the end of the 1st century BC and while the ditches made some reference to those of the previous phase, there was also a sense of rapid re-adjustment. This trend continued into the Latest Iron Age and Conquest period as the area encompassing the crest of Lamp Hill became dominated by a large, tri-partite ‘Hilltop Enclosure’. The peak of activity occurred during the Conquest period (c.AD 43 – 80), when there was a final phase of expansion of the Hilltop Enclosures, marked by another realignment and re-cutting of boundaries and enclosures, coupled with a high volume of small finds, mostly metalwork. While there was a lack of roundhouses during the peak phases of activity, the amount of material culture (particularly evident from the pottery, fired clay and metalwork) found within the ditches of the enclosures was indicative of occupation. What is also clear from the date of much of the metalwork, coins and to an extent the pottery, is that activity declined in the decades following the conquest, a decline that may be associated with the Boudican uprising of AD 60/1. A significant assemblage of metalwork was recovered with a large proportion dated to the 1st century AD, although some items were residual in later features. Dominated by dress accessories, tools (mainly knives) and miscellaneous items, the best dating evidence is provided by a group of 19 Latest Iron Age brooches dating to c. AD 10-40/50, and a smaller group of six brooches introduced at the conquest, but with none later than c. AD 70. There was also an unusually large number (10 in total) of Late Iron Age/Pre-Claudian coins, including a well-preserved silver unit of Tasciovanus (25 - 10 BC) and five units of his ‘son’ Cunobelin (10 BC – AD 41). Other key groups of artefacts included four pieces of metalwork associated with the military and four or five possible votive objects. These include miniatures of a hammer and Colchester brooch, a fired clay disc with a central perforation and scored lines, and most notably, one of the most significant finds from the site, a copper alloy/iron spatula handle that depicted a stylised male figure bearing a torc to their chest (SF 5116). Of probable Celtic origin, the item may have served a medicinal or literary function and the torc may signify a deity. Although new enclosures were laid out in the Early Roman period, by the 2nd century AD the site appeared to be part of a wider field system, with little evidence of new material coming to the site. There was a discrete concentration of Late Roman activity in the north-west corner of the site, the most notable finding being a hoard of nine coins within the upper fill of an Early Roman enclosure ditch. Dominated by Tetrarchic nummi of four rulers – Maximian, Diocletian, Constantius and Galerius (AD 293 – 305) – the suggested date of deposition is the early 4th century. Late Roman pottery was found in the same fill, while at least two other features nearby also contained Late Roman pottery. Evidence for activity in subsequent periods was almost entirely absent until the modern period, when the north-western portion of the site was subject to coprolite mining.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Wimpole, wimpole, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, full report, Wimpole Hall, wimpole hall, Iron Age, iron age, Late Iron Age, late iron age, Roman, roman, Post-Medieval, post-medieval, Post Medieval, post medieval, Pottery, pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, vessel, Iron Age pottery, iron age pottery, Late Iron Age pottery, late iron age pottery, Roman pottery, roman pottery, Post-Medieval pottery, post-medieval pottery, Post Medieval pottery, post medieval pottery, farmstead, settlement, late iron age farmstead, late iron age settlement, Roman settlement,early roman settlement, farming, field system, enclosures, late iron age enclosures, roman enclosures, late iron age field system, roman field system, Boudican revolt, military, Roman military equipment, land use, spatula handle, Cernunnos, animal remains, animal bone, animal bones, bone, bones, knife, coin, roman coin, button, pit, extractive pit, post-medieval extractive pit, post-medieval coprolite mining, votive object, votive artefact, kiln furniture, brooch, roman brooch, iron age brooch, Colchester type brooch, 2505, report 2505, Report 2505, OAE report 2505
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 > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2022 08:32
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 08:32
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6504

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