Land north of Tanyard Farm, Horley (Horley North East Sector Development

Excavation and watching brief by D Swift of ASE. Extensive evidence for Middle to Late Iron Age settlement was revealed to the south of the Burstow Stream, including a rare double-ring gully and post-built structure of a possible ritual nature. An apparent hiatus in occupation occurred until re-settlement in the 1st century AD, although field systems elsewhere on the site showed evidence for continuity. A further hiatus in occupation was noted until activity resumed in the late 2nd–early 3rd centuries AD. No apparent reason for the interruptions in settlement was noted, although it was postulated that the low-lying nature of the site and its location close to the stream led to periodic inundation of various areas resulting in settlement temporarily shifting to higher ground. Evidence for 12th–14th century agricultural activity was also revealed which, together with the earlier activity, reflected modern field patterns and boundary alignments, suggesting prolonged and continuing use of the landscape. The location of this large and hitherto unsuspected site within the Wealden landscape shows that archaeological evidence may occur in a wide area that has previously been considered to be largely unproductive. In addition, the scale and continuing nature of Iron Age/Romano-British occupation in the area contributes significantly to our current understanding of early settlement patterns in the county, and provides for a re-examination of such evidence and further research potential in the future.
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