90–106 High Street, Staines-upon-Thames

Evaluation and excavation by M Edmunds, A Haslam and P Jorgenson of PCA carried out prior to and following the demolition of the former shops and residences fronting the High Street (Historic Building Recording: SyAC 101, 222). Staines-upon-Thames is located above a series of low-lying gravel islands within the flood plain of the middle Thames valley, on the north bank of the river Thames at its confluence with the braided tributary channels of the rivers Colne and Wraysbury. Roman deposits, c 0.50m thick, encountered across much of the excavated area, are thought to represent the start of land reclamation within this riparian environment during the Roman period. No evidence of any gravel islands or eyots was encountered. Cut features within this deposit, in the form of linear ditches and gullies, are interpreted as field boundaries and drainage ditches. A large circular feature with Roman pottery and worked bone was probably a well or watering hole. Evidence of medieval land reclamation in the form of thick dump layers was encountered across the site. These sealed the Roman cut features and represent further ground stabilisation during this period. Pits, ditches and gullies were identified that contained medieval and residual Roman pottery. The features probably represent drainage features, boundary ditches and rubbish pits located to the rear of properties that fronted the High Street from the medieval period onwards. During the post-medieval period further ground consolidation took place, evidenced by various dump deposits. Activity in the form of rubbish pits, thought to be 17th century in date, continued into the post-medieval period to the rear of the properties on the High Street. Further features dating from the 18th into the 19th century in the form of industrial timber structures, indicative of manufacturing or processing activities such as tanning, were also recorded. By the 19th century, excavated features of this date, including domestic rubbish pits, wells and cesspits are indicative of activity in the backyards of individual properties at this time.