North Park Farm Quarry, Bletchingley

Two phases of investigation by P Jones of SCAU, adjacent to areas previously investigated in 2011 (SyAC 98, 253). No features of archaeological interest were revealed during soil removal to the west of the ‘Mesolithic hollow’ excavated in 2005 (SyAC 94, 370). There would appear to have been relatively little use of this area during the Mesolithic period, but later Bronze Age to Early Iron Age occupation was evident from redeposited material within a near-shore fluvial deposit of a watercourse. The identification of a Late Saxon to early medieval ‘burnt complex’ in the west central part of the site showed two phases of usage and included a hearth, a pit with debris from a wattle-and-daub wall filling it, and two ditches, as well as a number of other features. A layer of black clay sealed and filled all features. Pottery from the layer represents at least 30 large cooking pots or cauldron-type jars and one possible pitcher. Such a skewed range of vessel types is atypical of early medieval domestic sites where jugs or pitchers are usually better represented. The feature complex may represent an industrial or craft-related activity site that required the burning of large quantities of arboreal material – perhaps a charcoal burning site – established a short distance from the settlement of its craftsmen because of the proximity of woodland and running water. Alternatively, the charcoal may have been produced elsewhere and redeposited on the site, perhaps as a deliberate act of levelling, a possibility enhanced by the lack of refitting pottery sherds. (Bulletin 446)