OA Library

An Early Neolithic Funerary Monument and Late Bronze Age Settlement at land off Newmarket Road, Burwell, Cambridgeshire: PXA and UPD

Blackbourn, Kathryn (2023) An Early Neolithic Funerary Monument and Late Bronze Age Settlement at land off Newmarket Road, Burwell, Cambridgeshire: PXA and UPD. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of OAE_Report_2616_V2_BURNMR21PXA_LR.pdf] PDF
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike.

Download (15MB)


Between the 26th of April and the 23rd of December 2021, Oxford Archaeology East undertook a c. 8ha excavation at land off Newmarket Road, Burwell, Cambridgeshire (TL 59265 66543). The excavation was split into two areas (Area 1 and 2) and features encountered dated from the Early Neolithic to the post-medieval period, with the majority of features uncovered in Area 1 representing a large Late Bronze Age settlement.
The earliest evidence on site came from a funerary monument (599) located in the south-west part of Area 1, which contained a central burial, possibly of a male (Skeleton 747). A single posthole believed to represent a grave marker was also present. A small quantity of worked flint and animal bone was recovered from these features and a radiocarbon determination from the burial returned a date of 3756-3638 cal BC, placing the features firmly in the Early Neolithic. Further activity dating to the Neolithic was identified in the form of a small number of pits in Area 2, which contained Middle Neolithic pottery. These pits may represent the presence of occupation within this area.
A single unurned cremation (3856) in Area 2 dated to the Middle Bronze Age. The majority of features in Area 1 and a single pit in Area 2 date to the Late Bronze Age and represent a large unenclosed settlement comprising pits, post-built structures and burials. Radiocarbon dates from a number of these features provide a date range for the settlement between 1047-808 cal BC. Two inhumation burials were recovered, with grave 4109 containing the skeleton of a female with three crania places upon her. A total of 293 pits were recorded, of which 40 were categorised as large storage pits (measuring over 1m deep). These pits were initially used for storage and later re-used for the disposal of midden material; they yielded substantial quantities of artefacts including pottery (134kg in total), animal bone, disarticulated human bone, flint, fired clay, metalworking mould fragments, worked bone, worked and burnt stone, metalwork and items of shale and amber. Of note is an assemblage of 630 fired clay mould fragments (for metalworking) from pit 489 and the presence of a double horse burial in pit 3111. These pits also produced large assemblages of charred remains, including cereals, weed seeds and chaff. Two pit groups (295 and 1506) were also recorded on the outskirts of the settlement, with the former possibly representing storage pits similar to those usually seen in the Iron Age.
Postholes were abundant with a total of 1588 being identified, of which 965 were attributed to 83 groups representing roundhouses, four- and six-post raised grain stores and fencelines. There appeared to be a distinct concentration of roundhouses in the western part of the site and an area of grain storage along the settlement’s eastern limits. Finds from these features occurred in much smaller quantities, more reminiscent of accidental discard.
A small number of pits dating to the Early Iron Age were recorded in Area 2; however, none of the features from the Late Bronze Age settlement were thought to continue into this period, perhaps suggesting settlement shifted northwards at this time.
The Late Bronze Age settlement at Burwell is one of the largest and best-preserved examples in the region and its rich assemblages of artefacts and ecofacts will aid in answering a number of the period’s regional research questions.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire. cambridgeshire, Burwell, burwell, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, PXA, pxa, Post-Excavation Assessment, Post-excavation Assessment, post-excavation assessment, UPD, upd, Updated Project Design, updated project design, Neolithic, neolithic, Early Neolithic, early neolithic, Bronze Age, bronze age, Late Bronze Age, late bronze age, Early Iron Age, early iron age, Post-Medieval, Post Medieval, post-medieval, post medieval, Pottery, pottery, sherd, ceramic, vessel, pot, Neolithic pottery, neolithic pottery, Early Neolithic pottery, early neolithic pottery, Middle Neolithic pottery, middle neolithic pottery, Bronze Age pottery, bronze age pottery, Late Bronze Age pottery, late bronze age pottery, Early Iron Age pottery, early iron age pottery, Roman pottery, roman pottery, amber bead, shale bangle, fired clay mould, sword mould, metalworking, metalworking mould, spindle whorl, Bronze Age spindle whorl, Bronze Age weight, weight, storage pit, Bronze Age storage pit, pit, pits, funerary monument, Early Neolithic funerary monument, inhumation, inhumation burial, Early Neolithic inhumation burial, Late Bronze Age inhumation burial, burial, burials, human remains, HSR, hsr, cremation, Middle Bronze Age cremation, C14, C14 dating, radiocarbon dating, ecofact, ecofacts, charred plant remains, settlement, late bronze age settlement, Late Bronze Age settlement, roundhouse, round house, structure, structures, worked bone, worked bone artefact, work bone awl, worked bone needle, worked bone spearhead, post-medieval ditch, early iron age pit, 2616, report 2616, Report 2616, OAE report 2616
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Early Iron Age 800 - 400 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC > Early Neolithic 4000 - 3000 BC
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 > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC > Middle Bronze Age 1600 - 1,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC > Middle Neolithic 3500 - 2700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Hamilton
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2023 07:56
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2023 07:56
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7007

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item