|25 August 2005
Ancient settlement discovered in Buckinghamshire
Archaeologists working ahead of contractors building the Linslade/Stoke Hammond bypass (Buckinghamshire, England) have uncovered the remains of an ancient settlement overlooking the town. The team of 10, led by Martin Lightfoot, have been painstakingly excavating three sites along the route of the new road and evidence shows that people were living there during the late Bronze Age and into the Iron Age.
Among the artefacts prised from the clay, and Martin's favourite piece, is pottery clearly showing the fingerprints of whoever made it more than 3,000 years ago. "The first period of activity recorded on Site A was probably during the later Bronze Age continuing into the Iron Age (about 750 BCE to 43 CE)," said Martin. The remains of some ring gullies indicate the presence of round houses, which were the usual buildings during this time. "Activity continued from the Iron Age to the Romano-British period (43 to 410 CE) with a series of ditches used for controlling cattle and keeping them away from the houses of the settlement and areas of crop cultivation," he added.
"Site B lies to the south east of Site A and consisted of round houses, again probably of later Bronze and Iron Age date, some pits and a few ditches," said Martin. "It is likely that the settlement moved from one site to another, either because the area was abandoned then re-occupied on new ground, or due to a process of expansion and contraction of the settlement over a period of time. One of the ring ditches on the site is larger and deeper than the others and may have been a round-barrow, a low mound of earth covering a burial, rather than a house. Although no grave was found within the ring ditch a cremation urn was discovered nearby," he added.
Martin, who lives in Leighton, said the dig, which was the culmination of many months' research, "exceeded expectations" and should be completed in about two weeks.
Source: Leighton Online (23 August 2005)
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