Imber Court Trading Estate, Orchard Lane, East Molesey

A phase of post-demolition evaluation, test pits and strip, map and record excavations by W Perkins of PCA, following pre-demolition evaluation in 2016 (SyAC 101, 214), showed severe disturbance across much of the site owing to its former industrial uses. However, initial evaluation showed that areas of undisturbed land were present and the later phase of work revealed more of a series of natural palaeochannels, first recorded in 2016, threading across the north-west of the site. Many contained either burnt or worked flint, suggesting an early utilisation of the upper eastern slopes above the river Ember to the west, and probably connected with seasonal hunting, wildfowling and fishing within what would have been a braided river wetland environment. To the west of the palaeochannels a series of curvilinear ditches was revealed, possibly relating to a large enclosure. They comprised five north--south aligned parallel ditches, the main ditch displaying a number of recuts. Prehistoric pottery and worked flint from the Late Bronze Age/ Early Iron Age was recovered from the basal fill of the main ditch while the recuts and later ditches showed evidence pertaining to the Late Iron Age/Early Romano-British period. No evidence of settlement was revealed so the function of the ditches is uncertain, although it seems likely they relate to settlement activity. Redefinition of the ditch system occurred in the Late Iron Age/Early Romano-British period and may indicate possible re-occupation at that time. A single north--south ditch in the same area produced a quantity of unabraded medieval pottery that appeared to have been deposited as almost whole pots in a discrete ‘single event’ deposition. Residual medieval pottery occurred in a number of later features. At the extreme south of the site, the north wall of the north wing of the former Ember Court was exposed. Most of Ember Court lay outside the site boundary to the south but the exposed section demonstrated that an earlier 16th-17th century wall (or foundation) had been strengthened by the addition of a later buttress and remedial construction dating to the 18th--19th centuries. A series of horticultural bedding trenches recorded in the 2016 evaluation may have been part of its kitchen gardens.