Programme of investigation comprising evaluation, excavation and a watching brief by D Saxby of MOLA. Evaluation revealed evidence of Iron Age and Saxon activity in three areas of the site, with the subsequent excavation targeting these areas. Within the middle of the site a 0.4m-thick layer of sand was revealed that produced 1544 Early Mesolithic flints including microlithic flint points, microburins and at least four core adze fragments and a scraper (c 9600–7600 cal BC).
Watching brief by H Archer of CA during trenching and other groundworks revealed a series of alluvial deposits ranging from fairly uniform silty sand at the upper levels to lower deposits of fine clayey silt with some organic material continuing below the level of excavation. Residual finds recovered from the topsoil were, with the exception of six prehistoric flints, almost entirely post-medieval in date.
Evaluation by T Smith of Bristol & Region Archaeological Services recovered evidence for flint-working consisting of microdebitage, including complete and broken flakes and one small exhausted pyramid core of probable Mesolithic date. Recovery patterns suggested the assemblage was evenly distributed within the gravel deposits. No knapping concentrations were evident and it is likely that any former ground surfaces were removed during later landscaping, probably in advance of the construction of the Brethren’s Hall.
Excavation by T Munnery of ASE of two of seven identified areas (SMS1 and WB6) highlighted as being of archaeological significance following evaluation (SyAC 94, 364).
Evaluation by M Fleming of WA revealed a tree-throw hollow and an east–west linear feature that contained worked flint of Mesolithic date, which was considered to be present owing to post-depositional movement. Worked flint was also present in two adjacent trenches, but was thought to be redeposited. (See Harding, this volume, 271–6)
Excavation by A Haslam of PCA targeted three areas of the site, identified following earlier evaluation (SyAC 99, 218). Area 1 was situated in the south-western corner of the site. It revealed two parallel, north-west/south-east orientated ditches, interpreted as a droveway, and a series of small pits and postholes that formed a sub-rectangular enclosure, possibly an animal pen or paddock, to their east. All were of probable Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age date. A further sub-pen was identified within the south-eastern corner of the enclosure.
Excavation by A Haslam of PCA of 1m2 test pits across a colluvial deposit that covered the site, and previously identified during a programme of evaluation (SyAC 99, 218), produced c 7000 pieces of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age struck flint. The bulk of the assemblage dated from the later Bronze Age to the Iron Age and may derive from middening practices spanning those periods. Although redeposited, the flint assemblage clearly represents all stages in the reduction process, from the preparation of raw materials through to the manufacture, use and discard of tools.
Evaluation by W Weller of SCAU revealed a very small collection of unstratified worked flint and two sherds of medieval pottery, but no archaeological features.
Excavation by T Munnery of SCAU. The earliest features revealed were a small number of tree-throw hollows of Mesolithic and Bronze Age date, a similarly dated cremation that may have been originally within an organic container and two Bronze Age pits. An early medieval trackway and field system were revealed that were aligned to the western edge of a partially exposed palaeochannel. A post-built structure was carefully placed next to the trackway in the corner of a former field defined by a series of boundary ditches.
Watching brief by J Condliffe of WA. To the east of Whitehill Lane, a series of eleven postholes on an east–west alignment associated with a large quantity of ceramic building material was identified. This north-west corner of the field is shown on OS maps up to 1897 as being a brick quarry and the posthole alignment probably indicates the line of the boundary fence that surrounded it. To the west of Whitehill Lane, a pit cut by a large posthole was revealed. Each feature contained two sherds of highly abraded Iron Age pottery.