Flexford, Guildford

Four seasons of excavation directed by D Calow of SyAS, following magnetometry and earlier trial trenching. A V-shaped Roman ditch, 2m wide x 1.2m deep, running east--west at the northern end of the site was found to continue into the neighbouring field where there was a second ditch alongside it on a slightly different alignment. The ditches may form the northern boundary of the Roman site. A Roman furnace was located that was similar to two previously identified, and which had an unusual 2m-long gully leading to the hearth. The furnaces appear to have been used for small-scale iron production. One trench was located to examine a possible building floor that had been identified during earlier work. A surface consisting of 20m² of packed flints was uncovered with postpits on two different alignments, earth and flint surfaces, together with fragments of tegula, imbrex, floor tile and an antefix. The postpits were 60cm in diameter with flints packed around 30cm diameter posts. The postpits were interpreted as the remains of one, or more probably two, 14 x 8m Roman aisled buildings each with six bays. Charcoal from an area of burning probably associated with the demolition of one of the structures gave a 14C date of AD 250–410 (95% probability). Excavation of the suggested ditched enclosure showed the ditches to be Roman in date, but varying significantly in shape, depth and finds. In a separate area remains of two Roman blacksmiths’ hearths were found each located at one end of a 2m-long gully. Two further gullies of 1st and 2nd century date were identified nearby; both were filled with slag, hammer scale and other metalworking debris. Excavation in the southern part of the site, previously surveyed by magnetometry, and from which a placed deposit of Roman objects had been recovered in 2010, revealed a circular feature with a shelving base c 10m in diameter and up to 50cm deep lined with closely packed flints and filled with sediment and debris with 3rd and 4th century pottery. A charcoal sample from the base of the sediment gave a 14C date of AD 138–339 (95% probability). This has been interpreted as a pond that may have been used for washing animals, carts or agricultural products. Missing fragments of the samian patera, first found in 2010 (SyAC 97, 201), were also recovered. In a separate area a large flint surface, edged by a ditch, with earth floors, slag, pottery and settlement debris, but with no evidence for domestic hearths, provided further evidence for Roman blacksmithing and indications of a timber-framed building. Excavation of two of a small group of anomalies at the extreme south of the site found two Roman north–south bustum burials, one of which contained calcined human bone with fragments of skull at the north end and of long bones at the southern end. A charcoal sample from one gave a 14C date of AD 131–236 while charcoal and calcined bone samples from the second gave a 14C date of AD 250–410 (both at 95% probability). (427, 431, 433, 436)