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From Ancient Eden to a New Frontier: an Archaeological Journey Along the Carlisle Northern Development Route

Brown, Fraser (2023) From Ancient Eden to a New Frontier: an Archaeological Journey Along the Carlisle Northern Development Route. UNSPECIFIED. Oxford Archaeology Ltd. (In Press)

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The Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR) forms a major road around the western side of Carlisle, which opened to traffic in February 2012. This volume describes the results of an extensive programme of archaeological investigation carried out along its route by Oxford Archaeology North, between May 2008 and April 2011.

These investigations revealed highly significant remains dating to the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods from Stainton West, a site situated on the floodplain north of the River Eden. These related to a Mesolithic seasonal, aggregation encampment, dating between c 6000 cal BC and c 4300 cal BC. This lay on an island between two palaeochannels and was associated with domestic features and an in-situ flaked-lithic assemblage of over 300,000 pieces, dominated by a narrow-blade lithic technology. Waterlogged deposits of organic sediment and the remains of a beaver lodge and dam in the main palaeochannel defining the western edge of the island, also contained a wealth of palaeoenvironmental evidence relevant to the earlier part of the period in which the encampment was occupied. Neolithic activity at Stainton West began in c 3800-3700 cal BC. This activity comprised tree felling and the construction of a wooden platform in the main palaeochannel, which was associated with the intentional deposition of tree-felling debris, coarse stone tools, flaked lithics, pottery, and wooden artefacts, including a paddle and two spectacular ‘tridents’. Palaeoenvironmental remains relating to this activity were also recovered providing evidence for an elm decline, and herding and small-scale arable farming. Later Neolithic activity was also evident in the form of two burnt mounds, established during the first half of the third millennium cal BC.

The investigations also revealed evidence for Chalcolithic and Bronze Age activity, which included a sequence of burnt mounds at Stainton West in use until approximately 1600 cal BC. Several other sites along the scheme provided evidence for settlement and agriculture, dating between the twenty-third and the ninth centuries cal BC, which included structures, roundhouses, boundary ditches, and ceramics.

Significantly, during the construction works, a transect across the Hadrian’s Wall Roman frontier was also examined at Knockupworth. This identified the initial, Hadrianic, phase of Turf Wall, the subsequent slighting of both this and the Vallum earthworks to the south, and the Stone Wall that was constructed, around AD 158-60, when the Hadrianic frontier was reoccupied.

Important evidence for early medieval activity was also revealed. This took the form of five apparently near-contemporary rectangular posthole buildings near the Cargo road. These were dated to between the early eighth and middle of the tenth centuries AD, and probably formed a small agricultural settlement. Other remains along the route relate to the agricultural landscape that existed in the later medieval and post-medieval periods.

This volume is the result of a multi-disciplinary approach to the archaeology and palaeoenvironmental data, with the work of a range of authors from Oxford Archaeology North and several external specialists. The results provide a glimpse into the rich history of the Carlisle area, as well as shedding important light on prehistoric hunter-gatherers and farmers, the Roman frontier, and early historic communities in the wider Solway area.

Item Type: Monograph (UNSPECIFIED)
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cumbria
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: Parsons
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2023 11:18
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 08:11
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7094

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