Site of Late Bronze Age/Iron Age Settlement and Midden, 400m NE Beaman's Covert

Description of this historic site

The possible site of an Bronze Age/ Iron Age settlement and midden. An enclosure and linear features are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. Large quantities of decorated Iron Age pottery and animal bone have been recovered from the site, which lies 400m north east of Beaman's Covert.

Notes about this historic site

1 Part of a probable subrectangular enclosure and linear features show on aerial photographs in Warwick Museum. During survey in 1985 a dense scatter of Iron Age pottery, animal bone and burnt stone was found. The site was gridded and material collected. 531 pieces of early Iron Age pottery, 361 pieces of animal bone and five quern stones were found. The pottery is shell-gritted and includes jars with fingertipping on rounded shoulders and vessels with decorative motifs formed by incised lines. The sherds are similar to pottery from other Iron Age sites on the North Cotswolds. The main concentration of material lies over the cropmark enclosure and probably indicates a small farmstead of Iron Age date. The occurrence of animal bone and quern stones probably indicates a mixed economy.
2 Shown on Aerial Photographs.
3 Record forms showing finds patterning. There are also details in the FI file of fabric analysis and some drawings of prehistoric pottery from Whitchurch.
4 Three Iron Age sites have been located. Crimscote Down is probably a single farm, but Birchfurlong is very extensive – possibly as large as 10 ha and represents an extensive nucleated site. Rotton Pot Furlong has only been examined very briefly. Evidence for the chronology of these sites is uncertain, although it would seem that Birchfurlong was occupied throughout the Iron Age and the same is probably true of Crimscote Down.
5 Plan of site.
6 Mentioned as a very extensive open late Bronze Age settlement. Examination of about half the site produced 4,700 pieces of prehistoric pottery, 2,600 fragments of animal bone and 24 querns. The quantities of material may suggest that this site is comparable to the extensive late Bronze [Age] midden at Potterne, Wiltshire.
7 A proposal for excavation, produced by Cardiff University. This reflects the change in interpretation of this site, from a settlement to a midden. Auger survey was undertaken in January 2006, to invesitgate the ‘spread’ of deposits; they seemed to suggest activity was concentrated at the top of the hill. Personal communication from the farmer indicates that other, previously unrecorded, cropmarks may lie adjacent to those areas of interest already identified through aerial photography. Excavation in September 2006 is targeted at the area identified through fieldwalking and test magnetometry survey.
8 Brief account of work carried out on the site in September 2006 and 2007 by Cardiff University, under the direction of Niall Sharples and Kate Waddington. Excavation of three trenches in 2006 recorded the midden deposits as a thick dark earth layer containing large quantities of pottery and animal bone. Features were clearly cut into the underlying gravel in all 3 trenches. A week of geophysical survey was undertaken in September 2007. Magnetic susceptibility proved to be an excellent method for defining the edge of the midden . A route way to approach the site, several large enclosures and a series of linear boundaries, a large trapezoidal enclosure, the ring ditches of at least two round houses were suggested. This indicates a midden and complex settlement, some of which might be chronologically related to the construction of the midden. Metalwork was also recorded dating to the Late Bronze Age / Early Iron Age by a programme of metal detector survey carried out on the site. A plot of the magnetic survey results and interpretation is included with this report.
9 Interim report on 2006-2009 excavations. In addition to reporting on the excavation and geophysical and metal detecting surveys the report details the finds assemblages with specialist contributions. An illustrated catalogue of the copper alloy finds is appended. Further post-excavation work is planned.

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