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Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre

Greef, Andrew (2021) Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Between the 7th October and the 18th December 2019, Oxford Archaeology East undertook an archaeological excavation (0.35ha) on the proposed site of a new leisure centre at Grange Paddocks, Bishop’s Stortford. The project was commissioned by RPS on behalf of East Herts District Council.
Previous investigations within the vicinity of the excavated area, located at the intersection of the River Stort and Roman Stane Street, indicated the presence of a Late Iron Age/Early Roman settlement with continued occupation into the later Roman period.
The excavation uncovered an exceptionally rich post-conquest Roman settlement, dating primarily to the 1st-3rd centuries AD, with multiple phases of buildings and enclosures respecting the alignment of the road to the north of the site. A revised view of the cropmark data would indicate that the Roman town of Bishop’s Stortford was more substantial than previously thought, extending westwards from the known settlement at Legions Way right up to the river crossing. The excavation exposed a portion of the western end of this roadside settlement and preliminary results indicate that this portion of the town may have had a commercial/economic focus with artefactual evidence recovered that supports the suggestion of trade occurring on the site, as well as potentially the provision of services such as smithing and hospitality.
While more than one high status Roman building was clearly present in the immediate vicinity of the excavated area, as evidenced by the quantities and varieties of flue and pila tile, the buildings within the excavation area were primarily of timber construction, albeit with potentially lime-washed wattle panels and tiled roofs. Of particular note is the presence of at least four large Roman sunken-featured buildings (SFBs) from which nine of the ten neonate burials found at the site were recovered. These buildings provide an important addition to this feature type of such an early date, being more usually associated with Anglo-Saxon activity.
Extremely large finds assemblages (in particular metalwork and pottery) were recovered from the site which indicate a variety of activities taking place within the settlement and highlight the fact that, as a roadside settlement on a major route such as Stane Street, the site had access to a diverse trade network. It is also quite possible that the River Stort was utilised for trade and transport during the Roman period and that the settlement here served as some form of communications hub.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hertfordshire, hertfordshire, Bishops Stortford, bishops stortford, Grange Paddocks, grange paddocks, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, PXA, pxa, UPD, upd, Post-Excavation Assessment, Post-excavation Assessment, post-excavation assessment, Updated Project Design, updated project design, Roman, roman, Pottery, pottery, pot, sherd, ceramic, vessel, Roman pottery, roman pottery, animal remains, animal bone, animal bones, bone, bones, roman animal remains, HSR, hsr, human remains, Human Remains, neonate, burial, neonate burial, structure, building, settlement, roman building, roman structure, roman settlement, Roman settlement, CBM, cbm, ceramic building material, Ceramic Building Material, Roman CBM, roman cbm, Tile, tile, flue tile, tegula, pila, pila tile, sunken featured building, SFB, sfb, Roman sunken featured building, roman sunken featured building, Roman SFB, enclosure, enclosures, boundary, ditch, enclosure ditch, coin, coins, roman coins, lorica squamata, brooch, roman brooch, Stane Street, stane street, ecofacts, environmental remains, charred plant remains, whetstone, anvil, stone anvil, quern, lava quern, samian, samian ware, worked bone pin, 2496, report 2496, Report 2496, OAE report 2496
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Hertfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2023 13:36
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 07:20
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6997

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