Lane House, 33 Epsom Road, Ewell

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. A series of pits containing Roman and modern rubbish were found in the well area. A previously uncovered area of chalk blocks standing above the surrounding flint may represent a chalk floor within a Roman building. A large pit contained the remains of an amphora together with a series of mortar, flint and chalk linings and may be a re-use of an earlier feature such as a well or cistern. A linear flint feature corresponding to the anticipated line of Stane Street proved to be lying on or within disturbed soil. A section across the feature revealed a deep, subcircular pit c 1.4m deep. Augering suggested the fill extended a further 0.5m, and pottery and a Chi-Rho coin suggest a late Roman date for this feature. The pit may have been a latrine, although environmental samples have so far revealed only evidence of water molluscs. Over 200 Roman coins were retrieved with the help of metal detectorists, together with metal and bone hairpins, brooches and an intaglio ring. The large quantity of Roman pottery recovered was broad in type and included many finewares. A few possible prehistoric sherds were also recovered. In 2014, the final season of excavation revealed a recut ditch of probable 1st century date roughly in line with the anticipated route of Stane Street that, together with those found in 2012-13, are interpreted as parallel roadside ditches. No agger or road base was apparent between the ditches; the area was noted to be generally clear of features, suggesting the road may have been built up on a causeway with the surface materials destroyed by ploughing and robbing. Between this ‘causeway’ and the roadside ditches the remains of possible metalled roadside tracks, roughly 3m wide were revealed, which in places extended over the ditches. These may suggest later encroachment onto the roadside, although they may also represent later road resurfacing. A shallow perpendicular gully and three substantial postholes adjacent to the road suggest probable roadside development. A number of pits of later Roman date produced coins of late 4th century date, a bone assemblage representing domestic animal and fowl, and three pits that produced pottery of 2nd–4th century date. The latter displayed signs of repetitive use with some indication of an industrial function. A re-examined pit cut into the roadside ditch revealed a large rectangular feature identified as a timber-lined well. It was c 3m deep, including an augered depth of 0.8m that was not excavated. There was evidence for corner posts with internal planking, the wood surviving only as a grey/white mottled deposit. Cutting the lower extent of the well was a series of three pits, located one above the other that displayed a very similar sequence of contexts, each apparently involving the setting in place of an amphora (or part of an amphora). Although their purpose is not clear, they show evidence for the same type of processes – possibly industrial – continuing over time. (Bulletin 442, 451)