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Land off Gilden Way, Harlow, Essex: PXA and UPD

Webb, Robin (2021) Land off Gilden Way, Harlow, Essex: PXA and UPD. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Between October 2017 and December 2018, Oxford Archaeology East carried out open area excavations on land off Gilden Way, Harlow, Essex (centred on TL 4815 1225). Covering five arable fields, the works followed several phases of archaeological investigation – including fieldwalking, geophysical survey and evaluation trenches – carried out over a number of years and ahead of construction works. A total of 10.99ha were machine stripped for the excavations, split between 16 separate areas during two phases of fieldwork (Phase 1: Areas 1-3; Phase 2: Areas A-M). In conditions ranging from snow and frost to baking sunshine, the excavations revealed areas of archaeological activity spanning from the Neolithic to medieval periods with some post-medieval disturbance. Neolithic activity spread east to west across a gravel ridge/terrace on a plateau at the top of the hill. At the western edge in Area D, a causewayed enclosure overlooked a tributary of the River Stort and enclosed an area of pits. In contrast to other causewayed enclosures in the area, the current example contained a large quantity of pottery (8816 sherds, 54.7kg) and 9,000 worked flints, recovered from its fills and from associated pits. Further east, also on the gravel ridge, a possible Neolithic longhouse sat amongst contemporary pits in Area K. Bronze Age activity was limited to a possible field system at the eastern edge of the development area, as well as three pits and a posthole in Area K. Iron Age activity was found across the central areas, specifically Areas B-C and G-K, concentrated on the gravel brow of the hill. The activity spanned the whole of the period, with the focus being in the centre of Area K, where unenclosed Early Iron Age settlement consisting of pits and postholes was superseded by a group of rectilinear and D-shaped enclosures in the Middle and Late Iron Age. As well as a large number of pits, settlement features consisted of three complete roundhouses in the centre of Area K (as well as possible truncated ones), enclosures and boundaries, droveways and pens that spread from Area I in the west to the eastern edge of Area K. Romano-British land-use was expected to be the main activity within the Phase 2 excavation areas, due to the presence of a Roman villa (MEX 13089) directly to the north of the site. However, Roman activity primarily consisted of field systems and a trackway. Three clusters of cremations, as well as isolated examples, were also encountered in Areas G, I, K and M (a total of 31 cremations and two possible memorial pits), with the majority of cremations containing vessels. In addition, a corn-drier and oven/kiln were encountered to the south of the villa. Medieval activity was concentrated in the Phase 1 excavation areas and included a moated enclosure with possible structures both inside and outside. Pottery dates the activity in the area of the moat to between the 12th – 13th centuries when the field belonged to Ralph, son of Ralph de Harlow. This area is situated c.400m from the DMV of Harlowbury (MEX 222). Post-medieval activity included fragments of furrows, field boundaries and quarrying pits. The artefacts and ecofacts recovered during the archaeological works included silver, potin (a base-metal silver-like alloy) and copper alloy coins; items of personal adornment, nails, horseshoes and craft related material. Metalworking debris included smithing waste, hearth bases and vitrified clay of Iron Age date. The pottery included Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, medieval and post-medieval material. Worked flint was recovered from across the site and dated to the Mesolithic (residual), Neolithic and Bronze Age, whilst burnt flint was also recovered. In addition, worked and burnt stone as well as some fragments of building stone were recovered. Two glass beads, one jet bead and a worked animal bone hairpin were also recovered. Shards of glass of Roman and post-medieval date were recovered from across the site. The CBM that was recovered consisted predominantly of redeposited Roman material, whilst fired clay and a fragment of clay tobacco pipe were also retrieved. The animal bone that was recovered from across the excavation areas represents largely domestic species from throughout the active periods of the site (Neolithic to post-medieval), whilst the mollusca were recovered from unphased, Roman and medieval features.

Item Type:Client Report
Uncontrolled Keywords:Essex, essex, harlow, harlow, Excavation, excavation, archaeological excavation, Neolithic, neolithic, Bronze Age, bronze age, Iron Age, iron age, Early Iron Age, early iron age, Middle Iron Age, middle iron age, Late Iron Age, LIA, lia, Roman, roman, Medieval, medieval, Pottery, pottery, pot, ceramic, sherd, vessel, Neolithic pottery, neolithic pottery, Iron Age pottery, iron age pottery, Early Iron Age pottery, early iron age pottery, Middle Iron Age pottery, middle iron age pottery, Late Iron Age pottery, Roman pottery, roman pottery, Medieval pottery, medieval pottery, causewayed enclosure, causeway enclosure, neolithic causwayed enclosure, neolithic causeway enclosure, River Stort, river stort, gravel terrace, settlement, settlement activity, Early Iron Age settlement, early iron age settlement, post hole, post holes, pit, pits, d-shaped enclosure, roundhouse, round house, roundhouses, round houses, droveway, boundary, boundary ditch, boundaries, ditches, ditch, field system, agriculture, farming, Roman field system, roman field system, Iron Age field system, iron age field system, Iron Age roundhouse, iron age roundhouse, cremation, cremations, Roman cremations, roman cremations, human remains, cremated remains, cremation burials, corn drier, corn-drier, oven, kiln, moated enclosure, medieval moated enclosure, Harlowbury, building stone, coin, coins, Roman coins, roman coins, Late Iron Age coin, late iron age coin, post-medieval, Post-Medieval, post medieval, Post Medieval, furrow, ridge and furrow, quarry, quarry pit, nail, nails, animal remains, animal bones, bones, animal bone, bone, brooch, colchester type brooch, glass, hair pin, worked bone pin, jet bead, bead, CBM, cbm, Ceramic Building Material, ceramic building material, brick, tile, 2205, report 2205, Report 2205, OAE report 2205, UPD, upd, Update Project Design, PXA, pxa, Post-Excavation Assessment, post-excavation assessment, Post-excavation Assessment
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Essex
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Early Iron Age 800 - 400 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Late Iron Age 100 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD > Middle Iron Age 400 - 100 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
ID Code:5949
Deposited By: Hamilton
Deposited On:03 Mar 2021 10:08
Last Modified:03 Mar 2021 10:08

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