Archaeological test pit excavations at Meldreth, Cambridgeshire

Lewis, Carenza and Pryor, Alex and Betts, Kathryn (2013) Archaeological test pit excavations at Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. Project Report. Access Cambridge Archaeology.

Full content URL: http://www.access.arch.cam.ac.uk/reports/cambridge...

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Abstract

This report presents the results of a programme of archaeological excavation of 32
1m2
‘test pits’ in the Cambridgeshire village of Meldreth carried out in summer 2013.
The programme was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its ‘All Our
Stories’ programme and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council
(AHRC) Connected Communities theme which funded the Cambridge Community
Heritage programme at the University of Cambridge in 20012-13. Over three
weekends, more than 300 residents of the village of Meldreth and the local area took
part in the excavations in 32 different locations throughout the present village. The
results provided new evidence for the development of the area now occupied by the
village, which mostly lies alongside a small stream, from the prehistoric period
onwards.
Parts of the area appears to have been quite intensively used by humans in the
prehistoric period, with unusually large volumes of Bronze Age pottery recovered
from at least four different sites likely to be indicative of settlement and/or burial.
Pottery of Roman date favours the south of the present village, and suggests
settlement took the form of a dispersed scatter of small settlements such as
farmsteads surrounded by arable fields to the north. No evidence was found for any
activity dating to the period between the 5th –9th centuries AD, but Saxo-Norman
pottery was found widely, with particular concentrations on the manorial site of
Topcliffe as well as in the south of the village around Flambards moated site. The
absence of any Thetford ware from Meldreth suggests that this activity is likely to be
post-Conquest in date and that the medieval settlement originates in this period
rather than earlier. The high medieval period sees the settlement extend westwards,
probably laid out in the 12th or 13th century over former arable, with apparently new
settlement sites founded at Chiswick and North End. This growth ceases in the late
medieval period, although Meldreth does not appear to be as badly affected in this
period of widespread demographic and settlement contraction as many settlements
in the eastern region. In the post-medieval period, however, the test pit data
indicates that Meldreth stagnated, with the southern end of the settlement
particularly badly affected.

Keywords:Archaeology
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:19263
Deposited On:29 Dec 2015 22:38

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