North Park Farm Quarry, western extension

Watching brief by J Warrender, L McCaig and G Santa Maria of WA during stripping of topsoil and subsoil over several areas, encompassing c 2ha, revealed multiple features including cremation burials, pits, postholes and linear features. The cremations comprised both urned and unurned burials, provisionally dated to the Bronze Age. A number of short lengths of ditch were also recorded although they did not appear to form any coherent boundary to the mortuary activity. The cremations were generally dispersed across the area though small clusters were observed. To their north-west, where a significant deposit of colluvium was observed (c 1m), archaeological features comprising further Bronze Age cremations, pits, postholes and at least one four-post structure were revealed to cut the colluvium. Following their excavation, the deposit was lowered revealing further cremations at a greater depth, again cutting the colluvium. Once these were excavated, final stripping of the remaining colluvium was undertaken to the natural sand geology. In the far west of the area, a large, probable palaeochannel measuring c 40m wide was revealed. No archaeological features were seen to cut the ‘channel’ fills and archaeological features, including the cremations, reduced in frequency towards the feature, suggesting it was extant in some form during the Bronze Age. Along the far northern edge, a penannular or possibly complete ring ditch, measuring c 12m in diameter, was revealed. It was interpreted as a potential round barrow with at least one internal feature but was re-covered and fenced off to allow further investigation during the 2016 excavation season. The lack of evidence of settlement would suggest that the areas monitored are predominantly associated with prehistoric mortuary practices.