North Park Farm Quarry, Bletchingley

Excavation by T Munnery of SCAU. The earliest features revealed were a small number of tree-throw hollows of Mesolithic and Bronze Age date, a similarly dated cremation that may have been originally within an organic container and two Bronze Age pits. An early medieval trackway and field system were revealed that were aligned to the western edge of a partially exposed palaeochannel. A post-built structure was carefully placed next to the trackway in the corner of a former field defined by a series of boundary ditches. The structure is considered to relate to industrial rather than domestic activity, possibly for the storage or processing of agricultural materials or products. The medieval evidence, compiled from more than a decade of excavations at North Park Farm Quarry, forms an unusually complete picture of the functioning of a landscape in the 11th and 12th centuries. Its regularity suggests a carefully planned development and its demise was the consequence of a fundamental reorganisation of the local economy, itself part of a dramatic shift in the regional organisation of the landscape in the century or so between 1150 and 1250. The detail with which this development can be demonstrated at Bletchingley makes it the best example of this change, and of great importance.