Monument record FRS 001 - Roman settlement debris and Prehistoric and Medieval finds at Barbers Point

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Roman settlement debris, partly eroded by tides and a small amount of medieval pottery in a possible medieval revetted pit.


Grid reference Centred TM 4321 5729 (114m by 133m)
Map sheet TM45NW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

2004-2006: small amount of medieval pottery in a possible medieval revetted pit during excavations (S1).

Roman Settlement debris, eroded by tides. C1-C2 pottery. Seal box, bronze pin, samian, excavated by Aldeburgh Literary Society.
`Roman remains found AD 1907' marked on OS map 1:10560.
111 miscellaneous Rom sherds and a whetstone, and a number of bones including a fish vertebrae and two boar tusks labelled `Banks of the Alde, Suffolk', or `Island, Alde River', August 11th 1870 ALF (Augustus Lane Fox, later General Pitt Rivers). All in Salisbury museum (S3). Probably same as 1870 finds - see (R3).
1907 finds in Aldeburgh (Guildhall) museum (S5).

September 2003: Magnetometer & Palaeoenvironmental Surveys. Geophysical survey (magnetometry) showed three sides of a rectangular enclosure, partially doubleditched (S6)(S7, appendix 2 & 3).

2004 & 2006: Prehistoric flint tools were recovered from across the site, mainly in residual contexts, although two possible prehistoric pits were identified. Stray finds included two Lower Palaeolithic hand-axes, perhaps collected and brought to the site from elsewhere at a later date. The small Neolithic assemblage included two leaf-shaped arrowheads, again perhaps collected later, but the bulk of the material, mainly flint flakes, was identified as of Bronze Age date.
Despite the majority of the pottery and other finds belonging to the Roman period, few features of this date were identified. The finds assemblage indicates activity during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, of relatively low status and with some connection to saltextraction indicated by the presence of briquetage.Most of the excavated features proved to be of Middle Saxon date (See FRS 001 Barbers Point (SAX). During the medieval period finds of pottery suggest a low level of activity. A revetted pit outside the north-east corner of the Anglo-Saxon enclosure may relate to reclamation of the saltmarsh and its use for grazing in the medieval and later periods. Away from the immediate vicinity of the excavations an auger-hole survey and subsequent palaeoenvironmental analysis showed that tidal channels and saltmarsh had originally separated Barber’s Point from the higher ground to the north.

2010 Excavations: The River Alde Saxon Heritage Project was commissioned by the Aldeburgh and District Local History Society following the award of a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project was designed to examine the significance of Barber’s Point during the Middle Saxon period (AD 650 - 850). The site of Barber’s Point, on the north bank of the River Alde, is strategically positioned on what would then have been an island. The 2010 excavations were designed to further investigate a partly revealed post-hole structure and to see if the burials encountered in previous excavations continued to the north. The thick overlying layer (containing abundant quantities of Roman pottery) was sieved for finds and the underlying features excavated and recorded. Despite the abundance of Roman finds surviving, features of this period were very sparse with only a few pits revealed. Neolithic-Bronze Age flint artefacts were recovered yet no prehistoric features have been convincingly identified suggesting that there was no permanent settlement. There is also some likelihood that the island was in use during the Iron Age and into the transition to the Roman period. During this early period of the 1st centuries BC/AD it is probable that the river frontage near the site was used for salt extraction, followed by intermittent light occupation during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The Roman site use was probably associated with seasonal grazing of the surrounding saltmarsh and the exploitation of nearby estuarine resources. A number of significant Roman finds were recovered including pottery, a copper alloy brooch, a silver denarius coin, an iron finger ring, a shaft of a bone pit, a fragment of a ceramic figurine, and three sherds of Roman glass.
Middle Saxon to Late Saxon remains were much more apparent - see individual record FRS 001 Barbers Point (SAX).
The medieval period was represented by 11th-14th century pottery.
(See S8 Excavation Report)

2013 Excavations: The fourth and final part of the archaeological investigations to focus on uncovering the remaining area of the cemetery and the relationship between the saxon burials and surrounding enclosure ditches (recorded under a separate record FRS 001 Barbers Point (SAX) ). Touching the Tide (a Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme) was a major supporter of the excavation. Small quantites of prehistoric pottery, struck flint and heat-altered stones were recorded and are mainly residual in the later features. A prehistoric shallow stone-filled feature and large central pit were revealed. No Roman features were identified. The Medieval period was only represented by 5 shers of medieval pottery (S9).

See Also FRS 001 Barbers Point (SAX)

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <S1> (No record type): OS, map 1:10560,.
  • <R1> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card 959-403, 1959.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: (S3); notes from (S4).
  • <R2> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TM45NW4,.
  • <S2> (No record type): Ganz C, PSIA, 13, 1907, (1), 24-32, figs.
  • <S3> (No record type): Longden, D.. Longden D, letter re Pitt Rivers collection from Suffolk, July 1991.
  • <R3> (No record type): Hele Dr N, Notes about Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 1870, 1890.
  • <S4> (No record type): Aldeburgh Literary Society, Account of `Excavations of "A Sandy Mound" (Barber's Point), Aldeburgh, .
  • <R4> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 24, 167.
  • <R5> Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History of Suffolk (Vol I 1911; Vol II 1907). VCH, Suffolk, 397-398.
  • <S5> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card Aldeburgh Gen, undated.
  • <R6> (No record type): Antiquity, 43, 242 - 244.
  • <S6> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Black D & A, 'Romans at Barbers Point?', Colchester Arch Gp Bulletin, 44, 2004, 10-12, ill.
  • <S7> Unpublished document: Meredith, J.. 2007. Archaeological Excavation Report, Barbers Point, Friston, FRS 001.
  • <S8> Unpublished document: Meredith, J.. 2012. Archaeological Excavation, River Alde Saxon Heritage Project, Barber's Point, Friston (Excavations 2010) FRS 001.
  • <S9> Unpublished document: Meredith, J.. 2015. Excavation, Barber's Point, Friston, Aldeburgh, Suffolk (Excavations 2013).
  • <S10> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S11> Source Unchecked: RCHME?. Various. Field Investigators Comments. F1 NKB 21-JUL-72.

Finds (29)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (7)

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 1:25PM

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