|23 January 2021
Remains of Iron Age village discovered in Essex
The remains of an Iron Age village has been found at Tye Green, about 70 kilometres northeast of London. Fieldwork suggests the site was important in the late Iron Age and early Roman periods.
The site has a large defensive enclosure dug in the late 1st century BCE, with 17 roundhouses and 17 semi-circular shapes which could have been windbreaks. Smaller semi-circular structures are also associated with hearths. The depth of the roundhouse gullies suggests the buildings were up to 15 metres in diameter. Archaeologists say the enclosure had an avenue-like entrance aligned with the central roundhouse. Other structures are similar to medieval granary stores.
Among other finds was an area with large amounts of animal bone and oyster shell, and votive offerings with a possible link to the Cult of Mercury, Roman god of communication and commerce. Artefacts discovered include more than 100 brooches ranging from the 1st century BCE to 3rd century CE, 10 Iron Age coins, Roman coins, hairpins, beads, finger rings, and a copper alloy cockerel figurine.
The settlement was expanded but some time during the later 1st century CE a number of the larger roundhouses burned and the main enclosure was cleared. Oxford Archaeology researchers say this could be evidence for reprisals following the Boudiccan uprising, or simply the settlement devolving into nearby villas and smaller farmsteads.
Edited from Dunmow Broadcast (2 January 2021)
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