Iron Age/Roman British settlement at Marsh Farm, Salford Priors.
Evidence of Iron Age/ Romano British settlement uncovered during a series of evaluations and excavations. The site is located 600m to the east of Marsh Farm, Salford Priors.
1 Evaluation of a cropmark site in advance of quarrying was unable to clarify the status of trackways associated with a known Roman settlement, (SAM 162). Open area excavation revealed them to be parts of overlapping field systems of uncertain date. After removal of the ploughsoil, part of a late Iron Age settlement was uncovered at the eastern end of the site. A single house structure was represented by a pennanular gully, while several lengths of ‘banana gully’ containing heat cracked stones could be other houses or sheltered cooking places. A small Iron Age ring ditch protruded under the eastern edge of the excavation and was cut by a ditch which presumably enclosed further settlement to the south east.
2 An archaeological evaluation of this cropmark complex was carried out by the Warwickshire Museum in 1991. The features, representing the remains of settlement and a field system, appear to span the Iron Age and Romano British periods.
3 A second phase of evaluation was carried out in 1992. All the trial trenches with the exception of one contained archaeological remains. Many of these deposits showed a continuation of the types of feature met during the excavation of Phase 2. In several places the indications of aerial evidence were confirmed, and the presence of features not visible as cropmarks suggested a more intensive use of the site.
4 Two Roman coins from the 4th century found in, or before 1985 at SP07955188 which lies within this ditch area. The method of recovery was not recorded.
5 Evaluation in advance of road construction May/June 1993. At the southern end there was a large undated enclosure containing a surface scatter of Neolithic flintwork. In the central area was evidence of Roman British occupation (2nd-4th century) with quantities of painted plaster, roof and hypercaust tile suggesting a villa site within the scheduled area. To the north was an enclosure with material dating to the late Iron Age/early Roman period which related to features of this date excavated in the Marsh Farm quarry.
6 To the south (in area C2) a stone building not previously detected was investigated. Its NE corner survived as a single course of roughly dressed limestone. It had probably been aisled in plan. Two deep squared pits, one revetted with stone, connected by a stone lined drain, were revealed on its southern side. They were probably associated with water management. Another stone building, better preserved was found in area C1. The footings of a central partition divided the building in two. The eastern side had a loose laid stone floor with a large cess pit in the SE corner. The western side had an earth floor with a central hearth surrounded by post holes. The remains of a T-shaped corn drier were uncovered under the western half of the building.
7 Revision of the information given in the above entries: areas C 1-3: 2400 sq m uncovered exposing part of the late Iron Age field system on the western side. A 6.5 wide trackway appeared to be aligned N-S on the eastern side of this enclosure. A farmstead of two enclosures was identified to the south – short linear gulles with parallel rows of postholes may represent internal structures, but the same stuctures also occurred outside the enclosures. The excavation was extended to investigate the bath complex in area C2 and the 3rd-4th century stone building in area C3. Area C4 contained a large clay filled ditch of uncertain function containing abraded Romano British tile. Area C5 revealed the eastern side of the cropmark enclosure and a large pit and a small posthole, but there was no dating evidence. Limited quantities of high status pottery were found.
8 Further work during the watching brief (January-June 1994) established that a small bath complex had been inserted in the southern end of the ailsled building in area C2. There were four rooms with sunken floors, of which three (on the western side) were heated, being connected by a central flue. The furnace and further unheated rooms were missing. The bath house went out of use in the Roman period; the roof and walls were robbed and the rooms backfilled with loose rubble, painted plaster, flue and roof tile fragments. Large enclosure ditches were cut through the building suggesting that this part of the site then reverted to agricultural use.To the northeast of the aisled building, the remains of an oven were also observed. A second year of excavations at Marsh Farm Quarry took place in August September 1994. The site was found to be dominated by linear ditched trackways which align on the west side of the villa complex, and were probably used to control the livestock in and out of the villa/farm complex.
9 Excavation of Phase 4 at Marsh Farm Quarry encovered a far lower density of occupation than in Phase 2 to the sout, suggesting that this area lay outside the main settlement. Only a single pit contained pottery and heat cracked stones and evidence of more than one fill. There was also only one example of the feature representing partial hut circles or wind breaks. The finds included pottery, flint daub, and an iron blade.
10111213 Crop mark evidence of enclosures, ring ditches and trackways evident on aerial photographs were mapped as part of the English Heritage National Mapping Project.
14 Portable Antiquities Scheme find provenance information: Date found: 2005-12-18T00:00:00Z Date found (2): 2006-01-18T00:00:00Z Methods of discovery: Metal detector