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Late Saxon and Medieval Activity at Chapel End Sawtry, Cambridgeshire

Thatcher, Chris and Clarke, Rachel (2019) Late Saxon and Medieval Activity at Chapel End Sawtry, Cambridgeshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Archaeological excavations were carried out by OA East in advance of the construction of residential housing at land adjacent to Chapel End, Sawtry between March and September 2017. This revealed a sequence of archaeological deposits dating from the Roman to post-medieval periods. Much of this activity was clearly located on the periphery of settlement, which during the medieval period was probably focused to some extent on Chapel End but mainly around the churches of St Andrews and All Saints (associated with the two manors of Beaumes and Moynes) to the north-east and north-west of the site respectively.
Isolated features possibly dating to the Roman and Middle Anglo-Saxon periods were revealed in the southernmost part of the site (Area 1), with a number of Roman finds also recovered as residual elements in later features across the site. However, the first definitive evidence of land division dated to the Late Saxon period, represented by a series of fragmentary ditches, some of which lay on a broadly north-west to south-east alignment, along with a scatter of associated pits and post-holes. During the early medieval period there appears to have been a phase of reorganisation indicated by a slight shift in the predominant layout of the linear features across the site to a broadly co-axial alignment that respected the route of Chapel End road. The major boundaries were larger and more extensive than their Late Saxon predecessors, while there was also evidence for possible backplot ditches in Area 2, where the remains of a timber structure were also found. These features probably represent the eastern extents of properties and fields fronting onto Chapel End. A track or field lane may have been located in the southern part of the site, in an area of lower ground.
A phase of expansion followed during the high medieval period, with evidence for re-establishment of boundaries, quarrying, pit-digging, creation of large ponds with a concomitant increase in the levels of finds. The site appears to have been abandoned or changed use by the mid- 15th century, the reasons for which are probably relatively complex but may in part have been exacerbated by rising water levels. During the post-medieval to modern periods the site (on both sides of Chapel End) appears to have been fields; characterised by a number of large ponds.
The finds and environmental assemblages recovered by the excavation, although small, are fairly typical of sites of this date in rural Cambridgeshire. Overall, this excavation has helped to shed some light on the development of this part of the polyfocal settlement of Sawtry and how this may have been linked with the moated site and SMV to the north of Chapel End.

Item Type: Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cambridgeshire, cambridgeshire, Sawtry, sawtry, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, full report, Early Medieval, early medieval, Medieval, medieval, Post-Medieval, post-medieval, Post Medieval, post medieval, Pottery, pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, vessel, Roman pottery, roman pottery, Early Medieval pottery, early medieval pottery, Medieval pottery, medieval pottery, field system, field systems, early medieval field system, medieval field system, ditch, boundary ditch, early medieval boundary ditch, medieval boundary ditch, post-medieval ditch, coin, post-medieval coin, medieval jetton, jeton, jetton, pit, storage pit, extractive pit, quarry pit, medieval quarry pit, medieval extractive pit, animal remains, animal bone, bone, bones, medieval animal remains, post-medieval animal remains, structure, beamslot, beam slot, posthole, post hole, medieval structure, roman pit, Ecofacts, ecofacts, charred plant remains, pond, ponds, medieval pond, settlement, periphery, settlement periphery, 2357, report 2357, Report 2357, OAE report 2357
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cambridgeshire
Period > UK Periods > Early Medieval 410 - 1066 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 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: 17 Feb 2023 12:49
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 12:49
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7009

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