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Tewitfield Viking Treasure Find Site, Lancashire. Assessment Report

Heawood, Richard and Howard Davis, Christine and Newman, Rachel and Quartermaine, Jamie (1998) Tewitfield Viking Treasure Find Site, Lancashire. Assessment Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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In July 1998, Lancaster University Archaeological Unit carried out an archaeological evaluation of farmland near Tewitfield, North Lancashire (SD 5136 7372), at the request of Lancashire County Archaeological Service and funded by English Heritage.
A find of silver metalwork of Viking Age had been made by a metal detecting enthusiast in late 1997, in a field which had recently been ploughed and sown with grass for pasture. Two clusters of Bronze Age and Roman finds had also been located towards the south of the same field. The silverwork, which was subject to the Treasure Act, was inspected by specialists and found to be very similar in character to artefacts from the very large Cuerdale Hoard, found near Preston in 1840. Like the Cuerdale Hoard, it probably dated to the early tenth century. A geophysical survey, undertaken by English Heritage, revealed potentially significant resistivity anomalies in close proximity to the reported find spots, and raised the possibility that the finds might be associated with a buried feature. The present evaluation was required to provide an archaeological context for the treasure find, which would inform a Coroner's inquest into the significance and provenance of the silver and allow for the management of a potentially very important archaeological resource. The evaluation aimed to investigate several of the geophysical anomalies, and to identify the existence and character of any archaeological features in the area where the silver was found. It was also intended that it should evaluate the area of Bronze Age and Roman finds.
Evaluation trenches were excavated across the most significant geophysical anomalies, but all were found to be of natural origin, probably being meltwater channels created in periglacial conditions at the end of the last glaciation. A recent former field boundary and a modern feature, probably a post pit, were recorded, but no significant archaeological features were located. The trenches, trench spoil, and the immediate surrounding areas were subject to intensive metal detecting by Matt Hepworth and David Kierzek; in addition, two small open areas around the two reported concentrations of Viking Silver were partially stripped of topsoil to allow deeper detecting. No further silver objects were recovered, but a variety of iron, copper alloy, and lead artefacts were found. Those objects found which could be dated were predominantly of postmedieval or modern origin.
The evaluation has demonstrated that the Viking Silver finds were not associated with any boat burial or other major structure and it is unlikely that the site was the focus for either burial or settlement in the Viking period. It is probable that the presence of the silver was the result of a casual loss in antiquity or deliberate burial for later repossession. There is no evidence that further Viking artefacts remain in the field, but evaluation is by necessity a sampling exercise, with trial trenches investigating only a proportion of any area. However, the partial stripping of two key areas for deeper metal detecting suggests that no further material lies in the vicinity of the existing finds.
The results of the evaluation are presented and considered here in the form of an assessment report according to the format suggested in the English Heritage guideline document Management of Archaeological Projects 2nd edition (English Heritage 1991). No further postexcavation analysis of the evaluation archive is recommended.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Lancashire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Early Medieval 410 - 1066 AD
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 11:54
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 11:54
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6747

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