Archaeological test pit excavations at Shillington, Bedfordshire

Lewis, Carenza and Pryor, Alex and Turner, Derek (2013) Archaeological test pit excavations at Shillington, Bedfordshire. Project Report. Access Cambridge Archaeology.

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

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Abstract

This report presents the results of a programme of archaeological excavation of 23
1m2
‘test pits’ in the Bedfordshire village of Shillington 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 days,
more than 300 residents of the village of Shillington and the local area took part in
the excavations in 23 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. The landscape was used by humans in the prehistoric period, apparently
favouring the area nearer the small brook running west of the prominent hill which
dominates the land around the parish. One test pit near this stream produced
convincing evidence for undisturbed settlement remains in the immediate vicinity.
Small quantities of pottery of Roman date came from five different sites, two of them
away from the Brookside area hinting at a pattern of settlement or agricultural land
use moving beyond the lower lying zones. No evidence was found for any activity
dating to the period between the 5
th
– 9
th centuries AD, but Saxo-Norman pottery of
10th
– 11th century date was found in two distinct concentrations, suggesting more
than one hamlet present, possibly part of a nucleated pattern of settlement, at this
time. The high medieval period saw settlement at these sites grow and that at three
other ‘ends’ appear, indicating a pattern of mixed dispersed and nucleated
settlement. This growth ceases in the late medieval period, with Shillington
particularly badly affected in this period of widespread demographic and settlement
contraction compared to many settlements in the eastern region. In the postmedieval
period, however, the test pit data indicates that Shillington gradually
recovered, with former dispersed settlements mostly reoccupied, although it did not
achieve its pre-14th century levels and some of the medieval ‘ends’ remained
uninhabited until the 19th century.

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:19265
Deposited On:31 Dec 2015 22:39

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