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Gill Mill Quarry Extension Area 3 and Regrade Area, Ducklington, Oxfordshire Archaeological Evaluation Report

Booth, Paul Gill Mill Quarry Extension Area 3 and Regrade Area, Ducklington, Oxfordshire Archaeological Evaluation Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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The evaluation of Gill Mill Quarry Extension Area 3 and Regrade Area
comprised the excavation of 39 30m x 2m trenches in two parts of the area,
divided by the quarry haul road. The evaluation was intended to provide
information on features (mainly concentrated in the south‐west half of the
site) identified by a previous geophysical survey, and to test areas with no
geophysical survey anomalies to see if archaeological features were present
in these areas.
A small flint assemblage from the south‐west half of the site suggested
activity in this area in the Mesolithic period and also in the Neolithic and
Bronze Age. The principal settlement focus, as located by the geophysical
survey, was continuously occupied from the middle Iron Age (possibly no
earlier than c 200 BC) up to the early Roman period, perhaps going out of
use by about AD 100. The middle Iron Age settlement included ditched
enclosures and at least one probable roundhouse location defined by a
circular gully (in Trench 26). Associated finds consisted mainly of pottery in
local traditions, and the economy was probably based on mixed agriculture,
although herding of sheep may have been the most important component of
A late Iron Age‐early Roman settlement covered the area of its middle Iron
Age predecessor, but in addition occupation of this period extended further
to the south‐east and was also encountered in the north‐east half of the site,
where a small ring gully, perhaps surrounding a fodder stack, was probably of
this date, and a post‐built structure (in Trench 12) almost certainly of this
period. The main elements of the late Iron Age‐early Roman settlement were
again boundary and enclosure ditches, but their overall layout is unclear. The
location of probable (undetected) structures is once more indicated by
circular or oval gullies (eg in Trench 18). More pottery was dated to this
period (380 out of a site total of 567 sherds); it suggests a fairly typical lower
status rural community, with a similar economy to that seen earlier.
No later Roman features were identified. Two small pits in the north‐eastern
half of the site were of medieval date. Medieval (and probably also later)
plough furrows from a ridge and furrow system were widespread across the
site, most obviously in the north‐eastern half and lying north‐east of a
substantial NW‐SE‐aligned ditched boundary of post‐medieval date, but also
south‐west of that boundary.
The prehistoric and Roman elements of the site can be interpreted in the
context of the wide ranging archaeological work previously undertaken in
the Gill Mill quarry, and they make an important contribution to
understanding of the development of this landscape from the Mesolithic
period onwards, but particularly in the middle Iron Age to early Roman
periods. The site is a good example of those where occupation ends by the early part of the 2nd century AD as part of a widespread pattern of
reallocation of landholding at that time.
Correlation of features in the evaluation trenches with the results of the
geophysical survey shows that the latter located the most prominent ditched
features of later prehistoric and Roman date, and some of the elements of
the ridge and furrow system, thereby providing a useful general outline of
the archaeological features on the site. Features are, however, more widely
and densely spread than the survey reveals. The overall extent of both
middle Iron Age and late Iron Age‐early Roman settlement may therefore
have been greater than the geophysical survey would suggest, and many
components within these settlement, such as pits and smaller ditches and
gullies, were not identified by the geophysical survey. Elements of the late
Iron Age‐early Roman settlement certainly extended into the north‐eastern
half of Area 3 where, for example, important structural features and
associated ditches in Area 12 were completely undetected by the geophysics

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 09:50
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 09:50
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7124

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