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CERAMICS COURTYARD, CUMBRIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS, CARLISLE, Cumbria Archaeological Excavation Assessment Report

Town, Matthew (2006) CERAMICS COURTYARD, CUMBRIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS, CARLISLE, Cumbria Archaeological Excavation Assessment Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology North (OA North) was commissioned by Swarbrick Associates, on behalf of the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, to undertake an archaeological excavation on
the campus of the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Carlisle (NY 40370 57290). The work took place following an application for Scheduled Monument Consent and planning
permission to roof over a courtyard between existing buildings to the east of the complex.
The fieldwork was undertaken in September 2004. The College is situated in an area which has been identified as being of considerable archaeological importance and is statutorily protected as a Scheduled Monument (County Sites and Monuments Record 5782, Scheduled Monument 28484). The main college building is situated between the line of Hadrian’s Wall and the probable course of the associated Vallum, c200m to the south-east of the Wall. It is also only approximately 500m north-east of the north-eastern defences of the Roman fort of Stanwix, the largest fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
Preliminary evaluation work undertaken by OA North (2004b) showed that archaeological features were present on the site sealed below 1.3m of post-medieval overburden and possible alluvial or colluvial deposits. Beneath these deposits was a ditch, aligned northwest to south-east, which is almost at right angles to Hadrian’s Wall and the Vallum. The
full profile of the ditch was not seen but exceeded 2m in width and 1m in depth with steeply sloping sides, and appeared to be of post-medieval date. A deposit of orange-sandy silt, with a high proportion of stone inclusions, was cut by the ditch, and this probably represents a putative parade ground seen in excavations by the Central Excavation Unit (CEU), Carlisle Archaeological Unit (CAU), Lancaster University Archaeological Unit (LUAU), Newcastle University Archaeological Practice, and OA North on the college site
and in its environs. Archaeological mitigation on the Ceramics Courtyard site comprised the excavation of two
triangular areas within the courtyard, separated by a modern trench running north/south containing active services. Area A covered roughly 70m2 within the eastern half of the
courtyard and incorporated Evaluation Trench 1, while Area B covered approximately 35m2 within the western part of the courtyard, incorporating the limits of Evaluation
Trench 2. Excavations revealed overburden deposits across the area, and a large waste water tank in Area A, associated with the construction in the nineteenth century of the
buildings forming the courtyard of a reformatory school. These directly overlay postmedieval plough-soils relating to the use of the land as a field, prior to the school’s
construction. Sealed beneath the plough-soils was an extensive deposit of redeposited natural clayey silt and cobbles, laid down in two phases. This represents the putative parade ground identified during previous excavations and more recently during the evaluation by
OA North; previous excavations have dated this deposit to the second century AD, although no dating evidence was recovered on this occasion. The parade ground deposits
were found to seal an earlier ground surface, consisting of a thin dark-grey organic deposit. Cutting through this was a series of plough-marks running north/south and partially filled by parade ground deposits. The plough-marks and the ground surface represent a relict agricultural horizon, dating to before the parade ground and therefore of Romano-British date or earlier; such plough-marks have also been identified in other excavations nearby.
Ceramics Courtyard, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Carlisle: Archaeological Excavation Assessment Report 5
For the use of Cumbria Institute of the Arts and Swarbrick Associates © OA North April 2006 In Area B, the ditch identified in the OA North evaluation was identified again, clearly cutting the parade ground deposits and presumably, therefore, of post-medieval date, as suggested in the evaluation. A further ditch was also identified to the east of this, cutting the earlier ground surface, but sealed and partially filled by the parade ground deposits.
This ditch was excavated to 1m in depth, but flooding and section collapses forced the abandonment of the area before excavation was complete due to safety concerns;
nevertheless, this ditch can be interpreted as an early land division, comparable to examples identified in other nearby excavations, and is clearly of Romano-British date or
earlier. The post-medieval ditch was not examined at all following concerns by the structural engineer that further collapses could undermine the buildings and road
This assessment examines the results of the excavation, and evaluates the potential for future analysis of each category of data with regard to the project’s research aims. The
process has been designed to correspond to the objectives laid out in the guidance document Management Of Archaeological Projects 2nd edition (English Heritage 1991).
Having assessed the significance of the preliminary results and considered the potential of individual datasets to sustain further analysis, several data categories have been
recommended for post-excavation analysis, whilst others are judged to have already been sufficiently analysed. Revised research objectives are presented to guide further analysis,
synthesis, and interpretation of the evidence, with a view to eventual publication. The analysis of the data will provide important information on the character of Roman activity in the environs of Stanwix fort. This may be amalgamated with the archaeological evidence revealed by recent excavations in Stanwix to produce a greatly enhanced picture of the extent and nature of Roman and later settlement in Stanwix as a whole.
An updated research design has been compiled, and an appropriate programme of analysis outlined. It is recommended that a text suitable for publication either as a contribution to a volume on the archaeology of Stanwix or as an article in the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society should be

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cumbria
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 14:44
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6540

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