Watching brief by W Weller of SCAU revealed evidence of settlement activity from the Late Bronze Age to the Late Roman period, including a storage pit of a 1st century AD date and possible boundary ditches that may relate to the Romano-British settlement sites excavated in the 1930s to the south of the school.
Excavation by D Bird for the Roman Studies Group of SyAS. Excavations were aimed at completing work on the area of the ‘new’ building discovered in 2010, the villa excavated by A W G Lowther and the two-period tile kiln. A trench across the latter revealed further detail of the construction of the back walls of both kilns, the side walls of the later kiln and a possibly uniquely surviving vent associated with the first period kiln. Tiled surfaces found in the corners were probably used as post pads for a cover structure, as none were found except at the corners.
Evaluation by T Munnery of SCAU. Medieval features comprising pits, postholes, a well and a possible buried soil were revealed. Two of the features and the buried soil may be as early as the late 12th or early 13th century. A relatively large number of struck flints, mostly of Mesolithic but also Neolithic date were recovered, mostly from one location in a limited-sized test pit. Sherds of Roman and Saxon pottery recovered are likely to be residual and unlikely to indicate that significant evidence from these periods is present on the site.
Excavations by D Bird for the Roman Studies Group of SyAS. More evidence for structural phasing was encountered providing evidence for the plan of the late (northern) wing and confirming the southern corridor. At the western end of the wing, it was found that the north-west corner of the later building bonded into an earlier structure that was at a slightly different alignment and probably part of an earlier building.
A sixth season of excavation in 2013 directed by D Calow for the Roman Studies Group of SyAS. Excavation established that the northern end of an aisled structure, found in 2012, did not extend beyond the limit previously established. It appears to have been a six-bay structure, c 14m long x 8m wide with four rows of seven posts. A lack of building materials suggests either that the structure had been systematically dismantled, or more likely was of a design that left no ground impact beyond its postholes.
Archaeological excavation by A Thorne of ASE revealed the north-west corner of a Romano-British ditched enclosure and probable outlying fields and paddocks. The enclosure contained several pits and possible postholes as well as probable evidence for tree clearance. The quantities of recovered Roman pottery suggest the presence of a single domicile or farmstead during the 1st century AD. The majority of the settlement site is considered to lie to the east, outside the site boundary.
Evaluation by T Black of OA. Evidence of activity of several periods was found, mostly at the north end of the site. A buried soil covering at least 40m2 was found on the west side of the site that contained a mixture of struck flints of Mesolithic and Bronze Age date. The presence of flints of two dates in the same layer suggests this may have been a colluvial layer containing material derived from further upslope. To the east, a small pit contained undiagnostic struck flints that may be of earlier prehistoric date.
A second season of excavation by The Church Meadow Project, supported by SyAS and EEHAS and directed by N Cowlard, re-opened the 2012 trench and extended it by a further 30m. Plough damage had removed almost all features above Roman ground level although a previously encountered large pit was found to cut the remains of two Roman wells. The earlier well was roughly square with the shadow of a plank lining and a wooden cask incorporated into its construction, and was cut by the later well. An associated, substantial flint-lined pit or posthole may have supported a windlass.
Evaluation by T Munnery of SCAU. The earliest material was Late Upper Palaeolithic/Mesolithic and Mesolithic/Neolithic flintwork from later features and overburden although residual, may originate from an occupation site or sites nearby. The most concentrated phase of activity was of Bronze Age, especially Late Bronze Age, date. Pits and ditches and a buried subsoil indicate the utilisation of the site for settlement.
Evaluation trenches dug by SyAS under the direction of R Savage proved the existence of substantial brick clamps as indicated by magnetometry survey in 2009; the clamps remain undated but are probably medieval. Test pits confirmed a scattered presence of Roman tiles to the east of St Peter’s church, but only one sherd of domestic Roman pottery was found (and that well-rolled and close to the surface of the field). A test pit at an adjoining property produced large stratified sherds of early 12th century pottery, co-incident with the building or rebuilding of St Peter’s church c AD 1100–20.