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An Early Neolithic enclosure near West Cotton, Raunds
A major complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments lying along the Nene valley between Raunds and Stanwick, was investigated in the 1980s as part of the Raunds Area Project. An outlying circular enclosure on higher ground to the east of the prehistoric monuments beneath West Cotton deserted medieval village, the Cotton ‘Henge’, was trial trenched in 1993, but a firm date was not obtained. Recent extensive trial trenching in advance of a proposed extension to the Warth Park industrial and warehouse complex provided a further opportunity to examine this enclosure. A section across the outer ditch produced primary and lower secondary fills containing quantities of mature oak charcoal. Charcoal from the primary fill has provided a radiocarbon date within the early 4th millennium, 3965–3800 Cal BC at 95% confidence. Even allowing for an old wood effect, this indicates that at least the outer enclosure, at 70–75m diameter, most probably dates to the early Neolithic. It lies directly in line with the long mound at West Cotton, with which it was broadly contemporary. More widely, it would also have been broadly contemporary with the known causewayed enclosure at Briar Hill, Northampton and a newly discovered causewayed enclosure east of Wellingborough, both of which also lie on the slopes of the Nene valley. The smaller inner enclosure, which may have enclosed a mound, as well the flint scatter across the surrounding slopes, probably date to the late Neolthic to early Bronze, so that, like the rest of the Raunds monument complex, there was use and reuse throughout the Neolithic and early Bronze Age.
Late Neolithic pits and an Early Bronze Age cremation cemetery at Middleton Chase, Banbury Lane, Middleton Cheney
Martin Cuthbert and Bob Zeepvat
In 2012 an excavation was undertaken in advance of housing development to the south of Banbury Lane, Middleton Cheney, following the discovery of two pits containing Late Neolithic grooved ware pottery during the evaluation. Further definitive evidence of Neolithic activity was not located, but three Early Bronze Age cremation burials lay in the vicinity of the Neolithic features. Two cremation burials were unurned and unaccompanied by grave goods; the third was interred in an inverted collared urn, which also contained a ceramic spoon and a bronze awl. An Early Bronze Age circular post-built structure was located south-east of the cremations. The date of the Neolithic and Bronze Age features has been confirmed by radiocarbon dating. More recent features comprised a Roman field boundary ditch and postholes, remnants of medieval ridge-and-furrow cultivation strips, and a post-medieval inclosure ditch.
A Bronze Age and Early Iron Age landscape at Harlestone Quarry, Northampton
Andy Chapman, Jason Clarke and Anne Foard
At Harlestone Quarry five areas were excavated in advance of ironstone extraction between 2006 and 2014, a total area of 4.1ha. This took in part of a Bronze Age to early Iron Age landscape, uncluttered by later activity apart from medieval field boundaries and furrows of the former field system. A single pit and residual charcoal from a pit alignment have been radiocarbon dated to the early Bronze Age. A system of shallow linear boundary ditches and a curvilinear ditch, perhaps forming part of a large enclosure, are undated but are most likely to date to the late Bronze Age. A scatter of pits, largely within the enclosure, contained domestic material including pottery and hearth debris. Two pits contained pyramidal fired clay loomweights, and one of these pits has been radiocarbon dated to the late Bronze Age. A pit alignment lay to the south of the ditched boundaries. It is undated but probably had an origin in the early Iron Age. An area to the south of the pit alignment contained two possible four-post structures and scattered pits containing late Bronze Age to early Iron Age pottery. To the north, a loose cluster of pits included another possible four-post structure and an outlying pit has been radiocarbon dated to the end of the early Iron Age. To the east, beyond the excavated area, the pit alignment appears to terminate at a triple-ditched boundary system.
A Middle Iron Age settlement at Banbury Lane, King’s Sutton
Albion Archaeology carried out an excavation in 2013 at Banbury Lane, King’s Sutton, in advance of residential development. The earliest activity comprised a late Neolithic Grooved ware vessel, probably a secondary deposit into one of two undated boundary ditches, which may have been part of a middle/late Bronze Age field system. A middle Iron Age settlement comprised a roundhouse, small enclosures, four-post structures and pits, which produced moderately sized assemblages of pottery and animal bone. The settlement may have had a primarily pastoral economy and is likely to have been used over the course of two to three centuries, probably coming into use in the 3rd century BC, as indicated by radiocarbon dating of two early dog burials, and falling out of use in the late Iron Age, probably the 1st century BC. Subsequent activity was limited to medieval ridge and furrow cultivation and two medieval and/or post-medieval buildings, with further associated agricultural remains.
Iron Age and Roman Settlement to the north-west of Crick
Andrew Mudd, Nicola Powell and Dan Stone
Excavations prior to housing development to the northwest of Crick located probable middle to late Bronze Age activity with the discovery of a possible burnt mound. These are uncommon features in Northamptonshire and this one, with an associated stake- or post-built structure, brings the total to three from recent work in the area. An Iron Age settlement enclosure, built over earlier Iron Age boundary ditches, contained the remains of ring gullies (roundhouses) and ancillary buildings or structures represented by ditches and postholes. The inside of the enclosure was reorganised in the Roman period, with a ditch bisecting the interior and truncating earlier features. A relatively small amount of pottery and animal bone was recovered, but the environmental evidence was good and points to a mixed pastoral/agricultural economy. Pottery shows that the main period of use was early Roman, with no indication of activity beyond c.AD 200. The enclosure ditch gradually silted up, its banks slumped inwards and a later trackway cut through its south-eastern side. A small amount of Anglo-Saxon pottery in later features, including what may have been a quarry pit, shows that there was later activity.
A Roman corn-drying kiln at Cogenhoe found in 1962
A Roman corn-drying kiln with an E-shaped flue structure, dated to the 4th century AD, was excavated in 1962 by Richard Hollowell. Comparisons are made to other excavated examples, including Stanion Roman villa. In the 1970s the site was reopened and the structure was consolidated. It was open to public view into the early 1980s, and was then reburied.
Late Iron Age to Early Roman and Middle Anglo-Saxon settlement at Darsdale Farm, Raunds
A late Iron Age to early Roman rectilinear enclosure, boundary ditch and field system produced pottery and animal bone suggesting that the settlement was of average status. Evidence for craft production included two triangular loomweights. The postholes of a small timber hall and other probable timber structures have been radiocarbon dated to the middle Anglo-Saxon period (mid to late 7th to 8thbcenturies AD). The settlement had been abandoned before the late Saxon period, but it may have been a precursor to medieval settlement at nearby Thorpe End.
Late Saxon burials at All Saints Church, Little Billing, Northampton
Archaeological excavation was undertaken at All Saints Church, Little Billing, Northampton, on the footprint of a proposed extension and along associated service trenches to the north of the church. Many of the burials encountered relate to the late medieval and post-medieval usage of the graveyard. However, two burials had stones placed around the head, an early medieval burial practice that is likely to pre-date the Norman Conquest. The deepest burials, beyond the proposed foundations of the extension, were left in situ.
Late Iron Age settlement and a medieval windmill north of Brick Kiln Road, Raunds
Excavation on land north of Brick Kiln Road, Raunds uncovered a late Iron Age unenclosed farmstead. The domestic area included a roundhouse ring ditch and two ancillary ring ditches. A separate livestock zone comprised a much maintained rectangular enclosure and field system. The ring ditches and enclosure went out of use sometime before AD 100 although a linear boundary ditch survived longer. In the medieval period the site was under plough and lay near the parish boundary of Raunds and Ringstead. The late Iron Age boundary was respected into the medieval period, with a headland in roughly the same location, with a medieval post mill located on the headland. This post mill ceased to be used before the 18th century as it does not appear on the historic maps. Another nearby post mill trial trenched in the 1990s is also described.
Late Iron Age to early Roman settlement and medieval settlement at Harley Way, Benefield
An area of late Iron Age and Roman settlement, dated 1st–2nd century AD, comprised three large ditched enclosures constructed in two phases, as well as other features including at least one T-shaped corn-drying oven. There was also some activity in the 4th century AD. A second area contained parts of four plots that would have lain at the eastern end of the deserted medieval hamlet of Churchfield. Initial boundary ditches were constructed in the later 12th century. Two plots contained partially surviving building ranges in limestone, dated to the 13th to mid-14th centuries. A further plot inserted between the other two in the second half of the 14th century, contained a single building. The settlement had been abandoned by the end of the 14th century.
TMedieval and later activity in the former precinct of St John’s Hospital, Northampton
Simon Carlyle, Jonny Geber and Philip L Armitage
An archaeological excavation was undertaken on the site of St John’s Car Park, St John’s Street, Northampton, within the former precinct of the medieval Hospital of St John. Two clusters of medieval pits found were probably used for the disposal of domestic rubbish, and contained pottery dating from the 12th to the early 14th centuries. Assemblages of bone included meat-rich cuts from sheep and cattle, a variety of fish including both marine and freshwater species, and the presence of squirrel and cat may indicate the preparation of pelts for fur clothing. Botanical remains included the common range of cereals but also more unusual items such as figs, plums and cherries. It is possible, but by no means certain, that these remains relate to the diet and economy of the Hospital inhabitants. Later features included a wall probably relating to an 18th-century building, and pits and wells containing 19th-century rubbish.
Historic Building Recording at the Anchor Brewery, Oundle
The former Anchor Brewery presented a rare, near complete mid-19th century brewing and malting complex, along with ancillary buildings such as stables, cart shed and a blacksmith’s workshop. Both the buildings and the surviving fixtures and fittings are described in detail.
A Bronze Age cairn at Wakerley Great Wood
A Claudian pit group of bone hinges and box fittings from a ‘military’ latrine pit beneath the proto-villa at Piddington Roman villa
A Roman military harness pendant from Wellingborough
Archaeology in Northamptonshire 2014
Compiled by Pat Chapman
Archaeology in Northamptonshire 2015 Compiled by Pat Chapman
Archaeology in Northamptonshire 2016