Monument record LCS 148 - Medieval grain processing features , Greater Gabbard Wind Farm Onshore Works, Sizewell Wents, Leiston

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Early medieval to 14th century site with large-scale oven, together with complexes of smaller ovens/grain driers, as well as evidence of associated structures possibly a granary, also evidence of fishing equpment.


Grid reference Centred TM 470 626 (59m by 76m)
Map sheet TM46SE


Type and Period (22)

Full Description

2008: Geophysical survey identified potential archaeological anomalies: two linear responses that may represent former field boundaries and an isolated pit-like response. A number of weaker linear and curvilinear trends may also be of interest (S3).

2008: Evaluation trenching revealed a series of five post-holes most of substantial proportions, containing medieval pottery and a lava quern-stone re-used as post packing. The post-holes probably represent the remains of a substantial building. A north to south ditch, shown in the geophysical survey, crossed the trench to the west of the line of post-holes. The remains of a hearth or oven, probably pre-dating the post-holes as heat altered reddened clay and charcoal was found in the fill of the adjacent post-holes. The hearth contained medieval pottery. Two smaller post-holes were seen to the south. Occasional medieval pottery was seen across the surface of a homogenous mid-dark brown silty sand layer under the topsoil. Below this layer was an even darker brown to dark grey sandy deposit up to 0.5m deep containing medieval pottery fragments, heat altered flint and high levels of fine charcoal particles. Finds recovered included medieval pottery, some Roman pottery, small quantities of fired clay, lavastone, flint and animal bone. The assemblage is almost entirely medieval (S4).

2008: Excavation recorded a fairly localised spread of features predominately the result of a relatively short-lived occupation that occurred during the high medieval period at the periphery of an 'industrial suburb' of the medieval urban centre of Sizewell. The high medieval features included a large-scale oven, together with complexes of smaller ovens thought to be grain driers. Residues from the oven contained burnt cereal grains and the remains of heather, the fuel source gathered from the adjacent common. Shelters that enclosed the ovens were found but no dwellings were identified, suggesting that this was a working area dedicated to the processing of crops. Robust structures, based around large earth-fast posts were recorded in association with the grain driers. The post-holes clearly represent large structures, possibly granaries or windmills. Fishing equipment including hooks, weights, boat nails and possible net fragments were identified in the finds assemblage. Re-used boat planks dating to the second quarter of the 13th century were found adjacent to the site. All the fishbones collected from the site are species caught in freshwater. The spread of the archaeological features seems to represent the pinnacle of the settlement's westerly expansion and the relatively short occupation of the site peaked at or soon after the turn of the 14th century. The cut off in the archaeological evidence is abrupt; no post 14th century features were found and the post-medieval artefacts recovered from the ploughsoil were negligible. Modern ploughing of the light soils has impacted heavily on the site, despite this truncation the archaeological data gathered from this site is an important resource.

In addition, several shallow peat-filled water pits ran across the site, within 5m of the edge of a natural palaeochannel, no finds were recovered but the pits are thought to be of greater antiquity than the medieval features on the site, and the pattern of iron-panning suggested that the belong to a period when the site was inundated with water, or prior to it. (S5).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Wessex Archaeology. 2009. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment, Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm Extension Project, Suffolk.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Atfield, R.. 2007. Archaeological Monitoring Report, Leiston Substation 132kV Cable Route.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Wilkins, I., Collier, E. and Wood, E.. 2008. Geophysical Survey of the Site of the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm Onshore Works, Sizewell Wents, Leiston.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Atfield, R.. 2008. Archaeological Evaluation Interim Summary, Greater Gabbard Wind Farm Onshore Works, Sizewell Wents, Leiston.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Gill, D., Cass, S. and Craven, J.. 2013. Post-Excavation Assessment Report, Greater Gabbard Wind Farm Onshore Works, Sizewell Wents, Leiston.

Finds (39)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Record last edited

Jul 10 2020 4:41PM

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