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Professional Desktop survey of our land completed Nov 2005

This survey was commissioned and paid for privately by us to help understand better the history of our local area in which we detect and the amazing discoveries we have been making. Sussex Archaeology were chosen out of all the professional groups that can tender for this type of work as they portray the perfect example of detectorists and archaeologists working together in perfect harmony to improve the history of the local area. The next stage will be a full professional Geophysics survey with view to sponsoring a full archeological dig by them. We have 100% support from the local landowners that always take a very active interest in all our discoveries.

Saxon and Roman gold

Archaeology South-East


CONTENTS
1.0 INTRODUCTION
2.0 SITE TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY
3.0 ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND
4.0 CARTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE
5.0 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS
6.0 WALKOVER SURVEY
7.0 EXISTING IMPACTS ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
8.0 SUMMARY OF POTENTIAL AND CONCLUSION
9.0 PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE WORK
10.0 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
SOURCES CONSULTED
Appendix 1: Summary Table of SMR Entries
Appendix 2: Tithe Apportionment (1839)
Appendix 3: Tithe Apportionment (1844)

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Fig. 1 Site Location and SMR data
Fig. 2 1777, Chapman & Andre
Fig. 3 1796-1800, Ordnance Survey Draft Drawings, 1-inch Old Series
Fig. 4 1839/1844, Tithe Maps (composite)
Fig. 5 1875, Ordnance Survey 6-inch, 1st ed., Sheet XXVIII.
Fig. 6 Detailed Cropmark Plot of Site
Fig. 7 Cropmark Plot showing wider landscape PLATES
Plate 1. Aerial Photograph (22/06/1980) – view of western field looking NW
Plate 2. Aerial Photograph (03/07/1986) – view of site looking NW
Plate 3 Aerial Photograph (22/06/1976) – view of site looking SE
Plate 4 Aerial Photograph (17/07/1980) – view of cropmarks south looking NW

Archaeology South-East
East of Essex



1.0 INTRODUCTION


1.1 Archaeology South-East (a division of the University College London Field Archaeology Unit) has been commissioned by to carry out an archaeological appraisal, consisting of a desk based assessment and preliminary walkover survey, of farmland to the East of Colchester, Essex (Fig. 1).
1.2 This report follows the recommendations set out by the Institute of Field Archaeologists in Standards and Guidance for Archaeological Desk-Based Assessments and utilises existing information in order to establish as far as possible the archaeological potential of the site.
1.3 This report has been prepared using a standard set of sources comprising archaeological, photographic and cartographic data, including appropriate published works. During initial discussions between the author and the client, and during a subsequent site visit, attention was drawn to a vast array of artefactual material that has been recovered through the use of metal-detectors over a number of years by the client and his associates. The results of this work are far too numerous to deal with in any detail in a report of this scope, and are, in any case, catalogued in impressive detail on two websites, one run by the client (www.colchestertreasurehunting.co.uk) and the other relating to the Celtic Coin Index, maintained by Philip de Jersey of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford (www.writer2001.com/cciwriter2001/). It is the intention of this report,
therefore, to deal with these finds in a summary form and to concentrate on those aspects of the development of the site that are less familiar, particularly the important cropmark evidence. It is to be hoped that the coin evidence will be the subject of a detailed study in the future.
1.4 The site location, and study area is shown on Fig. 1. Centred on National Grid
Reference XXXXX , the site lies approximately XXXX metres to the East if XXXXXXXXThe site occupies the south-western half of a broadly square plot of land occupied by two arable fields, and measuring approximately 23 hectares. The site is enclosed by a combination of hedgerows of 18th-19th century date and modern fence lines, and the present land-use is arable, which at the time of the site visit had been harvested
1.5 It should be noted that this form of non-intrusive appraisal cannot be seen to be a definitive statement on the presence or absence of archaeological remains within any area but rather as an indicator of the area’s potential based on existing information. Further non-intrusive and intrusive investigations such as geophysical surveys and machine-excavated trial trenching are usually needed to conclusively define the presence/absence, character and quality of any archaeological remains in a given area.
1.6 In drawing up this desk based assessment, cartographic and documentary sources held by the Essex County Records Office at both Chelmsford and Colchester have been consulted. Archaeological data was obtained from the Sites and Monuments Record held by Essex County Council. Relevant sources held withinChelmsford and Colchester reference libraries and the Archaeology South-Eastlibrary were utilised, and appropriate Internet databases interrogated. These included: The Defence of Britain Project, The English Heritage NMR Excavation
Index and National Inventory, and the Magic website, which holds government digital data of designated area sites in GIS map form. Relevant aerial photographs from the National Monuments Record, Swindon, have also been also obtained.

Anglo Saxon strap end


2.0 SITE TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY


2.1 The area has no specific topographical features other than being generally flat and level, with a gentle slope down to the stream valley along the southern and south-western margin of the site.
2.2 The natural geology of the site comprises sands and gravels of the Kesgrove Formation, with London Clay along the southern margin.


3.0 ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND AND POTENTIAL


3.1 Introduction
3.1.1 The Sites and Monuments Record maintained by Essex County Council (ECC),and held at County Hall, Chelmsford was consulted. Details were taken of all archaeological sites and listed buildings within a 1-kilometre radius of the site (hereafter referred to as the Study Area). Sites with generalised grid references within the 1-kilometre radius were also included. The identified sites are tabulated in Appendix 1 and shown plotted on Fig. 1 (site numbers within brackets refer to cropmarks).
3.2 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Designated Sites
3.2.1 These comprise cultural heritage sites of a higher degree of status and significance, some of which enjoy a certain degree of legal protection from development and include Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs), Listed
Buildings, Historic Parks and Gardens, Ancient Woodland and Conservation Areas. These designations and others such as Archaeologically Sensitive Areas and Areas of High Archaeological Potential are typically detailed in BoroughCouncil Local Plans and County Council Plans with appropriate planning policies
pertaining to each category.
3.2.2 No designated sites lie within the study area, although two Listed Buildings are present in the vicinity
3.3 Archaeological Periods Represented
3.3.1 The timescale of the archaeological periods referred to in this report is shown below. The periods are given their usual titles. It should be noted that for most cultural purposes the boundaries between them are not sharply distinguished, even where definite dates based on historical events are used. Sub-divisions within periods are not considered separately.


Prehistoric: Palaeolithic (c. 500,000 BC - c. 10,000 BC)
Prehistoric: Mesolithic (c. 10,000 BC - c.5,000 BC)
Prehistoric: Neolithic (c. 5,000 BC - c.2,300 BC)
Prehistoric: Bronze Age (c. 2,300 BC - c. 600 BC)
Prehistoric: Iron Age (c. 600 BC - AD 43)
Romano-British (AD 43 - c. AD 410)
Anglo-Saxon (c. AD 410 - AD 1066)
Medieval (AD 1066 - AD 1485)
Post-medieval (AD 1486 to date)


3.4 Prehistoric: Palaeolithic
3.4.1 Palaeolithic material has been found at a number of sites in Essex and the neighbouring part of Suffolk, with significant quantities of material derived from the river valleys around both Colchester and Ipswich. As with elsewhere in Britain the vast majority of these find spots are of artefacts, typically hand axes, which have almost certainly been washed into river terrace deposits at various times throughout the Middle and Late Pleistocene (Wymer 1980). Importantly however, flint tools have been recovered from a surviving occupation surface at
Clacton-on-Sea, south-east of the study area. Whilst the majority of archaeological data relating to this period relates to isolated artefactual recovery, it is possible that significant in situ sites remain to be discovered, as Essex was situated on the fringe of the great Anglian ice sheet some 450,000 years before present, a period immediately post-dating the earliest known colonisation of Britain (Pitts and Roberts 1997).
3.4.2 The Essex SMR records show no Palaeolithic finds within the Study Area.
3.5 Prehistoric: Mesolithic
3.5.1 The Mesolithic saw the return of human communities to Britain in response to improving post-glacial climatic conditions. The warming climate led to the spread of woodland that provided a rich source of resources for human groups. Settlements comprised semi-permanent base camps occupied during the winter months and a series of seasonal hunting camps. Evidence for this period from much of Essex, particularly in situ material, is rare, consisting predominantly of diagnostic lithics, such as microliths and transversely sharpened core-adzes, forming flint scatters. The area between the Rivers Stour and Colne has a relatively high density of Mesolithic finds and this may indicate ongoing exploitation by transient groups of people, rather than by sedentary communities
settling in the area. The area formerly contained a concentration of heathlands used as common pasture (Hunter 1999), and similar areas have been identified in other counties as being favoured zones for Mesolithic occupation, possibly through the drier, less dense woodland proving easier to traverse.
3.5.2 The Essex SMR records one Mesolithic find within the Study Area. This comprises a flint tranchet axe and probably represents a casual loss by a mobile hunting community.
3.6 Prehistoric: Neolithic
3.6.1 The Neolithic saw the development of agriculture and the first evidence for largescalecommunal activity. New ideas relating to the domestication of animals and the cultivation of cereals were adopted, together with new technologies such as pottery. Environmental evidence indicates a major phase of woodland clearance
taking place, as land was opened up to provide fields and sacred spaces. Essex is replete with Neolithic sites, both domestic and monumental. Domestic sites are often represented archaeologically by concentrated flint scatters with associated pits, and occasionally ditched enclosures, whilst standing earthworks, such as
causewayed enclosures, earthen long and round barrows, cursus monuments, henges and standing stones are indicative of the ritual environment. The area between the Rivers Stour and Colne is no exception, with a number of important sites, such as at Lawford . Many of these sites are represented by cropmarks (see Section 5).
3.6.2 The Essex SMR records two finds of Neolithic date within the Study Area. Both comprise isolated flint artefacts, an axe head and a chisel .
3.7 Prehistoric: Bronze Age

2000BC Bronze Age flat axe


3.7.1 The Bronze Age is best characterised by the introduction of metals, firstly gold and copper and later bronze, and first developed as part of a cultural package labelled as Beaker.1The transition to the Bronze Age in terms of the landscape is marked by a significant increase in both visible settlement patterns, and in the
number of round barrows constructed, often with single inhumation or cremation burials. These monuments heralded a new way of thinking about society as they represented the burial of individuals in contrast to the communal burials of the 1 It used to be thought that the Beaker assemblages, which often included archery equipment, wereintroduced by a group of invaders, the ‘Beaker folk’. This idea has been replaced by one of indigenous native people adopting a new ‘lifestyle package’, with no associated movement of populations preceding Neolithic. This suggests the emergence of social elites, the division of people into the rulers and the ruled. Although in many parts of the country (e.g. the South Downs) the barrows remain as upstanding earthworks, in the eastern counties they tend to have been ploughed away, leaving only ring ditches and
cropmarks. By the Middle Bronze Age, c.1500 BC, nucleated cremation cemeteries predominated within an increasingly structured world, and agricultural demarcation of the landscape assumed greater visibility in the landscape through the development of field systems.

850BC Bronze Age axe hoard


3.7.2 The Essex SMR records two Bronze Age sites within the Study Area. Both are artefactual in nature. The most significant comprised a cremation urn (a tripartite collared urn) of Early Bronze Age date, in the field just southwest of the Site. The urn was found to contain ‘six pints’ of bones, identified as those of two individuals, an adult and a child. The find undoubtedly forms part of a much wider ritual landscape represented in the
extensive cropmark evidence that is known in the vicinity (see Section 5). The second SMR entry relates to a casual find of a Late Bronze Age socketed axe head . No evidence was found of Beaker period activity to substantiate a local tradition of a Beaker burial located in the vicinity. It is probable that this is a confused reference to the Bronze Age cremation discussed above.
3.8 Prehistoric: Iron Age
3.8.1 The Early and Middle Iron Age (up to c.100BC) saw the continuation of trends developed in the Late Bronze Age. In the Late Iron Age most of Essex and Suffolk were in the territory of the Trinovantes, whose tribal capital was at Camulodunum (Colchester), an open site bounded by long stretches of ditches and banks. It is known that the situation was not static as, for example, the Trinovantes’ capital was attacked and occupied by the Catuvellauni (from the west) under Tasciovanus c.20 BC, although Trinovantian rule returned under Dubnovellaunus (de Jersey 1996). The Trinovantes were subsequently absorbed into the Catuvellaunian empire under Cunobelinus.

Celtic gold coins from 45BC


3.8.2 Two main groups of evidence exist for Iron Age activity in the vicinity of XXXX. One comprises the linear cropmarks of field systems, ditched trackways and enclosures (see Section 5 for details). The other consists of a considerable number of Iron Age coins, including a significant and unusual proportion of gold
issues ( pers. comm. – see Website for details). The political ebb-andflow outlined above (see 3.8.1) is reflected in the variety of different tribal groupings represented in the coin finds, which exist as both single finds and as
hoards, with an interesting concentration around XXXX. The prevalence of gold coinage in this area must be associated with the proximity of Camulodunum. It is also possible that peninsula was afforded some
special status. However, it would be unwise to speculate too far at this point, given that many of the artefacts are literally ‘fresh’ out of the ground and have not had time to be thoroughly ‘digested’ by the relevant experts, and also by the fact that the outstanding results from this area may be skewed by the unusually sustained and systematic attention it has received over a number of years.
3.8.3 Ironically, given the number of coins and other artefacts found over recent years, the Essex SMR records no Iron Age sites within the Study Area itself.

Roman finds


3.9. Romano-British
3.9.1 Roman settlement in Essex comprised a network of small towns surrounded by a dense scatter of smaller settlements, including villas but mainly consisting of individual farmsteads. The exception to this pattern comprised the native centre of Camulodunum, captured by Roman troops (with the aid of an elephant) in
AD43 and established first as a fortress and subsequently as the provincial capital. Destruction during the Boudican uprising saw a reduction in status to provincial backwater. In landscape terms, there was much continuity with earlier periods, although there was a gradual transformation in building types, with circular round houses replaced by rectangular structures of stone and timber construction. Villas were established in the countryside, surrounded by extensive field systems, many of which are still visible as cropmarks (see Section 5).
3.9.2 The Essex SMR records one Roman-British area. This comprises a gold coin of Drusus Senior (brother of the Emperor Tiberius) found on a farm in c.1890

Offa Rex Saxon coin


3.10 Anglo-Saxon


3.10.1 Essex was one of the first areas to be heavily settled by Germanic peoples, who tended to prefer the more tractable soils of the coastal plan and river valleys. A unified kingdom of the East Saxons emerged by the late 6th century from a patchwork of smaller territories possibly based on late Roman precursors (Rippon
1996). The kingdom lasted until the 9th century, when it was subsumed into Wessex. Little is known of this Anglo-Saxon area , although the name would suggest it originated as a daughter settlement of XXXXX . The two parishes appear to form sub-divisions of a much larger original estate. The name is of Saxon origin , but the earliest reference is in the Domesday Book in 1087. The settlement pattern, which largely developed from the Mid-Late Saxon period, differed from the classic Midland pattern of nucleated villages clustered around church and manor and surrounded by open fields. Essex conforms to the ‘Ancient Countryside’ pattern (Rackham 1980; Roberts & Wrathmell 2000) of dispersed settlement comprising small hamlets and isolated farmsteads set within a mosaic of irregular enclosures and patches of open field arable cultivation. Isolated churches are not indicative of former nucleated settlement sites (Deserted Medieval Villages) but are rather a central focus to which a scattered population would gather for significant social events (attending church, festivals, markets etc).
3.10.2 The Essex SMR records reveal no Anglo-Saxon sites within the Study Area, although a number of artefacts have been recovered during metal-detecting sweeps.


3.11 Medieval
3.11.1 This area developed as part of a dispersed settlement, and are listed together in Domesday (Reaney 1969). The parish appears to have been divided among three manors both prior to the Conquest and subsequently. The early historian Philip Morant identified the area occupied by Queen Edith (wife of Edward the Confessor) in 1066, which was subsequently granted to Walter the Deacon (Morant 1768) and held by an unnamed knight. The record shows a mixed farming economy, with plough teams indicating some arable cultivation and the presence of cattle, horses and 100 sheep indicating extensive pasture. Woodland is listed as suitable to support 40 pigs, although this is a unit of measure rather than of stock (the record specifies 12 pigs later in the entry), and the woodland itself may not necessarily have been close by – many manors had out lying pannage rights (the right to feed pigs in the manorial woodland) in areas of common waste beyond the bounds of the manor itself. By the 12th century, the manor formed part of the Barony of Hastings, held by the Hastings family of Little Easton near Great Dunmow. The 14th century saw the manor in the hands of the Godmanston family, two members of which (Walter in 13812 and John in 1452) served as Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire.
3.11.2 The church of was the focal point of the parish, indicated by its position at the hub of a network of roads, tracks and paths that stretch out to every corner of the parish. It is not mentioned in Domesday (which is not, however, proof that it did not exist), but the earliest part of the existing structure is the early 12th
century nave .
3.11.3 The Essex SMR records three medieval sites within the Study Area. , while the remaining two entries relate to artefacts found within the churchyard
3.12 Post-medieval
3.12.1 The post-medieval period, prior to the 18th century, had seen a gradual modification of the Medieval and earlier landscape, much of which had become enclosed in piecemeal fashion. Up until the 18th century, the general field patterns were probably consistent with the irregular and sinuous enclosure of medieval date, representing original assarting from the woodland, of which only a small portion survives in the narrow sinuous plot across the road. These early enclosures elsewhere were modified during the 18th century to
produce large regular fields with straight boundary hedges of hawthorn. Most of these later boundaries have been removed since 1950. The history of the site during this period has been one of uneventful agriculture.
3.12.2 The Essex SMR records no post-medieval sites within the Study Area.
3.13 Undated
3.13.1 The Essex SMR records eight undated sites. One entry is of little significance, relating to an undated wooden pipe found in a pond. The remaining seven entries are crop marks, which will be discussed in greater detail in Section 5 comprises field boundaries and a ring ditch, XXX comprises at least 25 ring ditches and a series of linear features, XXX (including the Site) consists of mainly linear features suggestive of field systems and trackways, but also includes numerous ring ditches and several enclosures.XXX consist of field boundaries, XXXX comprises ring ditches, pits and two trackways. Finally, XXX is made up of pits and linear features. Dating crop marks is notoriously difficult, and some may suggest the presence of prehistoric, or later archaeological features
(see Section 5 for further discussion).


4.0 CARTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE


4.1 The earliest map consulted of sufficient detail was Chapman and Andre’s survey of Essex from 17773 (Fig. 2). This clearly shows the site in a recognisable form, with the sinuous and maze-like medieval road network. The existence at this time of unenclosed heathland commons, utilised as common waste by the surrounding communities, is clear from the map, with examples at Ardley Heath and Shuckmore Heath. The land use of the site itself cannot be discerned, but is likely to have been open farmland.
4.2 The Ordnance Surveyors’ draft plan of 1796-1800 (Fig. 3) shows the area with more detail added. The field patterns shown bear little resemblance to those of the 19th and 20th centuries, although enough points of agreement can be discerned to indicate that the field patterns shown were a fairly accurate record rather than a
stylistic convention. The pattern shown on the map suggests that they represent the original medieval piecemeal enclosure landscape before it was reorganised to form the regular geometric pattern visible on later maps. The reorganisation must have taken place only a few years after this map was surveyed.
3 An earlier map of the area dating to 1627 was listed in the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford, but could
not be found

4.3 The Tithe Maps for the parishes (1844) (Fig. 4) show a different landscape to that depicted in 1800. The original field patterns had been completely swept away, to be replaced by large rectangular fields forming a regular grid pattern with straight boundaries. This pattern is fairly piecemeal in nature, as the maps indicate other blocks of fields in the vicinity that have retained the original medieval patterns. This may perhaps reflect a wealthier or more progressive landowner willing to spend money reorganising his land to accommodate new farming techniques while his neighbours were unwilling or unable to follow suit. Field names on Tithe Maps
can often indicate sites of archaeological potential. In this case, they are of little interest, although the name Cock Field may refer to a former use for cockfighting. Osier Meadow indicates the streamside cultivation of willow to provide withies for basket making, etc (Field 1993).
4.4 The 1st edition 6” Ordnance Survey map of 1875 (Fig. 5) shows that more modifications had taken place during the previous thirty years, with the site now covered by three huge fields with several smaller plots along the southern and eastern margins. The 1897 and 1923 editions of the 25” map (not illustrated) show
an identical picture, and the current field pattern is very similar apart from the removal of several of the smaller field boundaries around the edge.

Roman finds


5.0 AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS


5.1 A search was made of the vertical and oblique collections of the National Library of Air Photographs held at the National Monuments Record Centre, Swindon. A total of 15 vertical prints and 67 specialist oblique laser prints were consulted spanning the period 1946-1996. Only five of the examined photographs had no cropmarks visible (marked with an * in the tables). Crop mark plots were also obtained from Essex County Council SMR office (see Figs 6 & 7). The following aerial photographs were checked.
Table 1: Vertical Aerial Photographs
Sortie No. Frames Date Scale XXX

5.5 The ring-ditches are the earliest type of cropmark to be identified, generally of Early-Middle Bronze Age date, although some may extend back into the late Neolithic. A number of particularly large circular cropmarks, up to 30m in diameter and comprising wide encircling ditches, have until very recently been interpreted as henges (circular ritual sites of Late Neolithic date), of which one example, described as a Class 2 henge (i.e. having two opposing gaps or ‘entrances’ in the encircling ditch), is visible within the western part of the site (Feature L on Fig. 6) (Erith 1968; Hedges 1980; Holgate 1996; Kemble 2001). However, recent excavations on similar sites within the county have consistently reinterpreted them as either Late Bronze Age enclosures or Medieval and later windmills (Brown & Germany 2002).
5.6 Linear cropmarks forming enclosures Extensive areas of cropmarks forming rectilinear enclosures are a major feature in the landscape (as revealed by air photographs), often consisting of complex systems suggesting superimposed multi-period landscapes. Some are likely to be of prehistoric origin – at many sites, the rectilinear enclosure boundaries respect the positions of ring-ditches, suggesting that the barrow cemeteries were still
visible in the landscape as upstanding earthworks. Some may even be contemporary with the cemeteries, representing a ritual focus set within field systems – such an arrangement is represented at Ardleigh.
5.7 However, many of the enclosures may well be of later date, primarily Iron Age and Romano-British, and lie within a much larger system of cropmarks aligned on common NW-SE and SW-NE axes which pre-empt a similar alignment in the medieval and later field boundaries and road network. The lack of any significant correlation between the cropmarks and the medieval field boundaries (as indicated on the 1800 map) suggests that medieval enclosures may have been laid out afresh following a period of abandonment (perhaps associated with
woodland regeneration, as hinted in Domesday), but within a landscape whose basic ‘grain’ was still evident (probably in the form of trackways now followed by modern roads and footpaths).
5.8 Other linear cropmarks
These are difficult to interpret and date, representing both isolated linear boundary features identifying the edges of discrete areas, whether individual fields or larger territorial units such as estates, and also constituent parts of
enclosures/field systems, of which the other elements have been destroyed (or are not visible as cropmarks). They range in date from the Neolithic up to the 20th century.
5.9 Sinuous cropmarks
These cropmarks are clearly differentiated from the examples discussed above by their sinuous nature. They wind through the landscape with little or no clear relationship with the other types of cropmark, and are often wider with more diffuse edges. These are probably of natural origin, representing geological features or the course of former waterways (palaeo-channels). It is known from environmental studies that the flat plateau that now characterises the north Essex landscape was formerly dissected by many more small stream valleys than are
now evident in the modern landscape. These valleys have subsequently silted up.
5.10 Small discrete cropmarks
These cropmarks are also difficult to characterise and date. Some may represent geological features of natural origin, while others may be archaeological in nature, perhaps representing clusters of pit graves.
5.11 The andscape
The Site is covered by a dense and complex network of cropmarks, including examples of all the types discussed above. The complex nature of the cropmarks indicates quite clearly that a multi-period landscape is represented here, with many cropmarks crossing others with little regard to alignment.
5.12 The barrow cemeteries
The earliest features are likely to be the ring-ditches. Three groups are evident (Fig. 6 - A, B and C). A comprises one large ring-ditch with at least four smaller examples scattered around it, one of which clearly contains a central burial pit (Plate 2). The two northernmost ring-ditches, and possibly the larger one, are cut by later linear cropmarks suggesting that they had ceased to be visible when these later field systems were laid out.
5.13 Group B also comprises one large ring-ditch flanked to the north by at least ten smaller examples (Plate 1). Several pits are visible within some of these ringditches. This group appears to be respected by a rectilinear enclosure boundary, which encloses it on the north-east and north-west sides before heading off to the
north-west. This may indicate that the enclosure was contemporary with the cemetery (although if so, why not enclose the southern part as well, or was this side limited by a stream channel now represented by a wide sinuous cropmark?), or was laid out at a time when the cemetery was no longer in use but still visible as a landscape feature (and perhaps retaining some spiritual resonance as sacred ground).
5.14 Group C contains one possible ring-ditch, which is cut by (or possibly cuts) the western arm of a rectilinear enclosure. The three separate groups of ring-ditches indicate that some compartmentalisation of the landscape was taking place. This is further suggested by reference to Plate 2, where each group occupies a distinct
block of land bounded by sinuous cropmarks and largely amorphous areas suggestive of geological features. These may well relate to former stream channels.
5.15 Enclosures
The most striking cropmarks concern an extensive series of rectilinear enclosures. At least two separate phases are visible from the photographs (Plates 1-4) (although many more phases may actually exist, as not all the features that respect, or appear to respect, each other are necessarily contemporary), with a complex arrangement of regular rectilinear enclosures of various sizes crossed by, or crossing over, a less regular pattern of slightly curvilinear cropmarks. The regular enclosures are best interpreted as field systems, probably evolving over time with not all the visible elements of contemporary date. Several smaller square features (Fig. 6 – D & E) are visible within the overall pattern, possibly relating to small paddocks or possibly even settlement foci (although there is no obvious sign of internal features). Five lengths of trackway are visible, delineated
by parallel ditches (Fig. 6 - F-J). These represent droveways allowing access to and between the various fields and other enclosures, and were probably originally bounded by stock-proof hedges similar to those that survive in the present landscape.
5.16 A curvilinear enclosure (Fig. 6 - K), now straddled by the parish boundary, is noticeably different from the largely geometric pattern within which it sits. Nevertheless, it seems to be part of the field system, as it lies within the easterncorner of one large square field. A large number of prominent discrete features are visible within it (Plate 2), which may suggest the presence of pits. This feature may be a possible settlement enclosure, with the pits representing storage pits for grain, a common Iron Age practice.


5.17 Other features
The western side of the site is occupied by a large circular cropmark (Fig. 6 - L). This feature superficially resembles a henge in shape, and has often been interpreted as such. However, recent excavations on similar sites have revealed that many of them are actually windmill mounds. A similar interpretation is suggested for this example. This suggestion is supported by photographic evidence. Plate 1 shows the feature clearly positioned astride several linear cropmarks relating to a rectilinear enclosure. The linears are not visible where they would cross the feature, indicating that it is later in date (a henge would normally be dateable to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, while the rectilinear enclosures are probably of later prehistoric date). In addition, the
feature is formed of a whitish ring of material, suggestive of a mound that has been ploughed flat and the material spread about. The fact that the mound material retains a distinctive colour suggests that it is not of any great antiquity, as colour differentials would be expected to disappear over time.
5.18 Finally, two areas of amorphous dark blotches (Fig. 6 - M and N) visible on Plates 1-3 highlight areas of gravel quarrying, probably of 18th-19th century date (Erith 1968).


6.0 WALKOVER SURVEY


6.1 A rapid walkover survey by the author was undertaken in respect of the site on 11th October 2005. Conditions were good, being generally dry, bright, and sunny.
6.2 The objective of the walkover survey was to identify historic landscape features not plotted on existing maps, together with other archaeological surface anomalies or artefact scatters, in order that they may be described and added to the existing archaeological dataset for the appraisal site.

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