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Land at Hackthorpe, Penrith, Cumbria- Evaluation Report

Heawood, Richard (2002) Land at Hackthorpe, Penrith, Cumbria- Evaluation Report. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology North. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In November and December 2001, Oxford Archaeology North carried out an archaeological desk-based assessment and field evaluation of land to the south-west of the A6 road, within the village of Hackthorpe, Cumbria (NY 5425 2316). The evaluation was conducted at the request of John Turner, acting on behalf of The Lowther Estate, and was commissioned on the advice of the Cumbria County Archaeological Service, in advance of a possible residential development. The subject site, an area of 0.18ha fronting the main road through the village, was under pasture when the project was conducted. The desk-based assessment involved the study of primary and secondary sources held by the Cumbria Sites and Monuments Record, the County Record Office, Kendal, and the library of Oxford Archaeology North; it showed that the morphology of Hackthorpe village demonstrates probable medieval origins, and that a manor at Hackthorpe was first documented in 1361. The field evaluation involved the use of a mechanical excavator to open three evaluation trenches, each measuring c 11m x 1.6m. The upper interface of the natural solid geology was exposed and cleaned using hand tools, and the archaeological features revealed were sample excavated. In Trench 1, a possible platform revealed by the desk-top study was found to consist entirely of topsoil with occasional sandstone boulders, and should not necessarily be regarded as a man-made structure. A shallow ditch was revealed in Trench 2, together with a possible pit, which may in fact have been merely a widening of the ditch; the trench also produced several relatively large, unabraded sherds of thirteenth- to fourteenth-century medieval pottery, several of which were recovered from the ditch/pit, and a small deposit of charred grain and peas, again from the ditch/pit. Trench 3 contained a small pit which contained several fragments of probable iron smithing slag, a further sherd of medieval pottery being recovered from the south-west end of the trench. The evaluation has confirmed that Hackthorpe represents a shrunken medieval village, but has also provided valuable evidence regarding the date of the occupation and abandonment of one of its vacant plots. The absence of late-medieval and post-medieval finds, and the good condition of the thirteenth to fourteenth century pottery, suggests a cessation of activity prior to the fifteenth century, perhaps reflecting population decline as a result of the historically-attested troubles of the fourteenth century. Because of the significance of the pottery found in the evaluation, the presence of iron slag, and the potential for the survival of charred plant remains, a further stage of archaeological recording is recommended, should any development of the site occur. This could consist either of a small excavation conducted in advance of building works, or of a programme of archaeological recording built into the construction schedule, if a topsoil strip is planned.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cumbria
ID Code:2446
Deposited By: Sandra Bonsall
Deposited On:18 Feb 2015 11:28
Last Modified:18 Feb 2015 11:28

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