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The publication of Northamptonshire Archaeology
Dennis Jackson – 80 not out
A Bronze Age Cremation Burial from Upton, Northampton
Between September and November 2007, an archaeological watching brief was carried out by Northamptonshire Archaeology during flood attenuation works on the north side of the River Nene, between Kislingbury and Upton, Northampton. The topsoil was stripped in three separate areas. In one area a small pit contained the cremated bones of an adult within an inverted Collared Urn. This burial has been radiocarbon dated to the early 2nd millennium BC, the early Bronze Age. A number of postholes lay nearby, one of which cut the cremation pit and may have contained a grave marker. However, there is no indication that this burial lay close to a round barrow or any other funerary deposits, so it appears to have been an isolated burial. A series of undated shallow, parallel gullies and postholes, possibly part of a water-meadow management system, and a post-medieval or modern boundary ditch were recorded in the other watching brief areas.
Excavation of a Romano-British Enclosure Complex at Burton Wold Farm, Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire
Investigation of cropmarks known from aerial photographs revealed a rectangular complex of smaller enclosures, pits and other features, dating from the 1st-4th centuries AD. This report gives an integrated account of the archaeological work carried out during groundworks for the construction of a wind farm on land in Burton Wold Farm in the eastern part of Burton Latimer parish. It combines evidence from desktop assessment, geophysical survey, trial trench evaluation, watching brief and full excavation – focusing in particular upon the cropmark complex in the northern part of the Development Area, where Turbine 7 was to be located. Here geophysical survey gave an overall view of the form of the complex as a whole, while excavation allowed a small area within the larger complex to be examined in detail. Sections were excavated through enclosure ditches, gullies and a large pit. The enclosures are thought to have functioned as pens for livestock. Although no evidence of houses or other structures was found, considerable quantities of pottery suggest domestic activity nearby within the enclosure complex. The site went out of use by the 4th century AD.
Excavation of the Roman Villa and Mosaic at Rowler Manor, Croughton, Northamptonshire
Investigation of the Roman villa site at Croughton began in 1991 when evidence of settlement was unearthed during the construction of a gas pipeline. Subsequently the location of a villa was revealed by the presence of tessaerae found during fieldwalking and metal detecting. Excavation exposed a mosaic pavement portraying Bellerophron slaying the Chimaera. Assessment and evaluation by English Heritage led to scheduling in 1995. A change of ownership raised the possibility of displaying the mosaic in situ beneath a cover building. This required Scheduled Monument consent which was granted, but a further change in ownership resulted in the re-burial of the mosaic and its continued preservation in situ. This report presents the results of investigations at the site since 1991; it includes a full account of the mosaic pavement and excavations as well as episodes of trial trenching, geophysical survey and fieldwalking.
Archaeological recording of a Roman Villa at Brigstock Road, Stanion, Northamptonshire (April – May 2002)
In the course of topsoil stripping prior to the construction of a composting facility, part of a Roman villa was unexpectedly revealed, together with ancillary structures. A pond-like feature beneath the excavated part of the villa contained dumped occupation debris, including carbonised plant remains, dating to the later first century AD, and indicating the presence of occupation on the site from at least this time, while pottery from quarry pits to the north, excavated in 1984, may suggest an origin as early as the mid-first century AD.
The main villa building was constructed in the later first century AD. The excavated remains comprised the westernmost room of a villa building aligned west to east, and at least 30-35m long, with a corridor along the northern side, perhaps forming an open veranda. The excavated and aerial photographic evidence would suggest a simple plan form, with the main strip building perhaps comprising some five domestic rooms. There were remnants of tessellated pavements in both the corridor and the excavated room, and displaced smaller tesserae from the room may suggest the presence of a small central mosaic. Fragments of painted wall plaster also came from this room. Amongst the ceramic building material from the demolition rubble there is a small amount of box-flue tile suggesting the presence of at least one room with a hypocaust heating system. A corn drier or malting oven lay to the west of the villa, along with a small oven that incorporated the base of an amphora. In this area there was also a stone-lined well, and its fills contained sherds of amphora, partially articulated cow skeletons and the skeleton of a raven.
In the late second or early third century the building was abandoned. Deposits of burnt debris lying on the scorched surface of the tessellated pavement probably relate to the systematic dismantling of the building, as accumulations of burning debris. Very small quantities of fourth-century pottery indicate that there was some later activity in the vicinity of the villa.
Bury Mount: A Norman Motte and Bailey Castle at Towcester, Northamptonshire
Jim Brown and Iain Soden
The site of the former motte and bailey castle has recently been the subject of archaeological investigation. The earliest features and deposits preserved beneath Bury Mount were probably of Roman origin. Two substantial pits were excavated, which were sealed by buried soils. The soils accumulated during the post-Roman period and had been continually disturbed. Ditches created during this period were allowed to silt naturally and were redefined and later backfilled in the late 11th century.
A stone building was constructed following the Conquest, and was replaced by the Norman motte in the 12th century. A circular ring of embanked earth formed the base using sandy clay and gravels from the motte ditch and from the surrounding township. Further deposits were tipped onto the ring of earth, raising its height, and spreading down into the centre, where the deposits became thicker to fill the cone-shaped central hollow.
By the later medieval period the motte was probably disused and remained so until the Civil War. During the 19th century Bury Mount was landscaped, planted with trees and the motte ditch was recreated as a watercourse. Two cottages were built into the south side in the mid-19th century and the land was used for garden horticulture. The watercourse was intermittently maintained until the cottages were abandoned and demolished.
A riverside timber revetment at 130 Bridge Street, Peterborough
Archaeological evaluation in advance of development identified a line of upright oak timbers set along the edge of the River Nene and into palaeochannel infilling material containing thirteenth century material, west of the present Town Bridge. The timbers have been radiocarbon dated to the fifteenth century, and may have formed a structure to protect the bridgehead from the effects of tidal scouring or alternatively they could have formed a section of wharf. The occurrence of infilled river channel material to the rear of the revetment indicates a degree of land reclamation and perhaps channel straightening in the medieval period.
[pp. 163- 172]
Excavations at the corner of Kingswell Street and Woolmonger Street, Northampton
Kingswell Street and Woolmonger Street are integral to our understanding of the layout and development of the medieval town of Northampton. The site is close to the heart of early Northampton and excavation has revealed a sequence of development that relates to the broader pattern of town growth.
In the mid-10th to early 11th centuries there was a large late Saxon cellared structure, similar to others found within the early town, although this area was marginal to the main focus of late Saxon occupation in Northampton. The cellar was succeeded by a Saxo-Norman timber building on the same alignment, although the larger part of the site was open ground, and the roads appear to have been less formally defined.
Intensive occupation of the site did not occur until the 13th-14th centuries when property boundaries were defined by areas of quarrying. Four medieval buildings were constructed within these plots, including a malthouse and a bakehouse. The arrangement of the buildings emphasised the formalisation of both adjacent streets for the first time, although a continuous frontage was not in evidence.
Pottery of the 15th century was sparse, seemingly due to documented civil improvements on Kingswell Street in 1641, but the frontage was developed during this century. Occupation of a medieval building on the Kingswell Street frontage continued in the 16th-17th centuries, with cess pits to the rear. There was no evidence for the Great Fire of Northampton in 1675.
The 17th-18th-century frontage contained at least one surviving medieval building, but this was lost with the erection of new buildings in the 19th century. Clay tobacco-pipemaking debris helped to identify the tenement of Master tobacco-pipemaker, George Henshaw (1767-1774) at 15 Kingswell Street. His tenure formed part of a substantial documented history of the site for the later post-medieval period.
A medieval potters’ tenement at Corby Road, Stanion, Northamptonshire
Pat Chapman, Paul Blinkhorn and Andy Chapman
Excavation by Northamptonshire Archaeology of a house plot at Corby Road, Stanion uncovered a cluster of pits within a potters’ tenement containing waster dumps. A total of 600kg of pottery comes from over 200 vessels. Glazed jugs were the major product but jars and bowls are also present. This assemblage adds significantly to the understanding of the Lyveden/Stanion pottery industry, which supplied much of medieval Northamptonshire and parts of the surrounding counties with its more utilitarian table ware. There are also smaller quantities of glazed roof ridge tiles, a few with crests, and ceramic kiln furniture.
There were two distinct phases of pottery production, dating to the second half of the 14th century, and the second half of the 15th century. The evidence comes from a combination of the dating of associated pottery of other types and typology. It is now certain that the production of Stanion B ware was considerably longer-lived than first anticipated. It has been regarded as ending in the 14th century, but the evidence from this site shows that production was still taking place in the later years of the 15th century. It would therefore seem appropriate now to give the tradition a chronology of AD 1200-1500.
The evidence also indicates a revision of the Lyveden/Stanion D ware, generally regarded as starting around AD 1400 to replace the B ware, based on the evidence from Lyveden. However, wasters of both fabrics have been found at Stanion in all the pit groups. It is suggested that it should now be dated AD 1350-1500, and may even have started earlier.
It is notable that none of the kiln waste from this site is wheel-thrown, it has all been coil-built and finished on a turntable. The Stanion potters were very late in taking up the wheel, and the evidence from this site indicates that it was in the early 16th century at the earliest.
A review and a gazetteer of other archaeological work in Stanion, including details of a kiln excavated in 1990, is also provided.
The Tin Tabernacle, Havelock Street, Desborough
The Tin Tabernacle on Havelock Street, Desborough dates from the late nineteenth century. It is a pre-fabricated, timber-frame building clad with corrugated iron and lined with tongue and groove match board pine. These buildings were used primarily by non-conformist churches which were springing up all over the country in huge numbers and, as congregations grew, funds were raised to provide affordable dedicated buildings of worship. The Desborough Tin Tabenacle has survived through different usages with the basic structure largely intact, and the building has provided an uncommon and distinctive element of the local architectural landscape.
A prefabricated temporary building at Cranford Primary School, Kettering, Northamptonshire
The implementation of the 1944 Education Act raised the school leaving age from 14 to 15 in 1947. As a result a rapid expansion of space was required to accommodate the additional pupils. One response was the provision of temporary accommodation in prefabricated buildings, utilising the designs for standard huts issued by the Ministry of Works during World War II. A prefabricated building was erected in the grounds of Cranford school in 1946 but, far from being temporary, this was still in use some six decades later. Once common, these buildings are becoming increasingly scarce, and this example was recorded before demolition. The basic structure remained largely as built although the windows had been replaced and few original internal fixtures or fittings survived. The construction method was as described in the Ministry of Works construction manual, although the dimensions of the building and some use of materials suggest that it was a modified form of a standard type 24 hut.
An eleventh-century copper alloy stirrup-strap mount from Overstone, Northamptonshire
The Northamptonshire Portable Antiquities Scheme, 2007,
Some Recent Archaeological Publications
Northamptonshire Archaeology Reports Online
Archaeology in Northamptonshire 2007
Compiled by Pat Chapman (Northamptonshire Archaeology) with additional contributions from Richard Ivens
Northamptonshire Archaeology: Volume 9, 1974 – Volume 19, 1984 (including microfiche sections)
(CD in back pocket; pdf files)
Contents and Place-name Index to Northamptonshire Archaeology, Volume 1, 1966 to Volume 34, 2006
(CD in back pocket; pdf file)
Stanion pottery: photographic archive
(CD in back pocket; pdf file)