Monument record SKT 053 - Stowmarket Relief Road

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Analysis of samples revealed sediment accumulation spanning 9000 - 1300 years BP.


Grid reference TM 0532 5874 (point)
Map sheet TM05NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Analysis of sediment samples from peat deposits on the line of the Stowmarket Relief Road demonstrated that sediment accumulation began close to 9000 years BP, and continued until around 1300 years BP. The preservation of pollen was found to be patchy, but the beetle and plant remains were well preserved, and full analysis is recommended (S1).
Analysis of the plant macrofossil and beetle evidence was undertaken, with further radiocarbon dating. The beetle assemblages suggest a series of changes in fluvial systems, starting with the infilling of a palaeochannel with rapidly flowing water (c. 7180 cal BC to 3360 cal BC), followed by a period of slower moving/standing water and the steady accumulation of peat in a floodplain/back swamp environment (c 3360 cal BC to 1710 BC), and a final phase of increased local wetness and rising watertables (c. 1710 cal BC to 765 cal AD). The coleoptera demonstrate a series of changes in the local vegetation, indicating a generally open environment, conflicting with the plant macrofossil data that indicates Alnus carr woodland. The analyses also provide evidence for human activity in the Gipping Valley, with the appearance of dung beetles in a sample dating to c. 3360 - 2370 cal BC, indicating the presence of grazing animals during the Neolithic/Bronze Age. Evidence for open pastoral habitats was recorded for the Bronze Age (2370-1710 cal BC), while the presence of flax in the macrofossil record for 1090-220BC cal BC can be used to infer cultivation of processing of flax in the vicinity of the sampling site. The beetle assemblage from the latest sample (220 cal BC - 760 cal AD) also suggests human habitation or the dumping of domestic waste nearby. Overall the analyses provide a detailed record of environmental changes associated with the development of the River Gipping, and represent the first coherent body of such data for Suffolk (S2).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Hopla, E-J, Gearey, B., Tetlow, E. and Grinter, P.. Palaeoenvironmental assessment of deposits from the River Gipping floodplain, Stowmarket Relief Road, Suffolk.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Gearey, B., Grinter, P. and Gearey, B.. The Holocene fluvial development of the River Gipping, Stowmarket, Suffolk from Coleoptera and Plant Macrofossil Analyses.

Finds (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jul 10 2020 2:27PM

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