Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Straitgate just keeps giving…

Archaeological excavations are beginning to draw to a close at Straitgate, but the Farm has revealed yet another side to its past - as we learnt at a meeting on site today.

Two of the fields have already shown extensive evidence of Iron Age settlement, as already reported. Now, another field is showing widespread evidence of settlement during the Roman period. Numerous samples of pottery have been found, including black-burnished ware and mortaria dating back to around 300AD; baked earth and in-situ pottery possibly shows signs of a Roman corn dryer.

Perhaps the most dramatic discovery has been evidence of substantial earthworks - once a bank and ditch, enclosing possibly a settlement, maybe more... A 20-30m long feature was originally picked up on the geophysical survey; the ditch alone may extend to over 2m in depth. The bank has eroded over time and the ditch has filled with multiple layers of sediment. Pottery from the Roman period was found in the top layers of sediment, with underlying layers obviously pre-dating this. Further investigations are needed and additional trenches will now be opened in an effort to discover its full extent.

A report will be written by the contractors in due course; AI will include this with any future planning application. Whatever form this takes, it is now recognised that there have been settlements of one sort or another at Straitgate over thousands of years. The extent of the area where AI would now need to perform a full archaeological survey, should planning permission be granted, has grown yet again.

Trench running into AI's newly planted trees exposing finds from the Roman period
Baked earth and in-situ pottery possibly shows signs of a Roman corn dryer
Evidence of bank and ditch earthworks