Monument record IPS 735 - Co-op Dairy Site, Boss Hall, Sproughton Road, Ipswich.

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Eastern extent of the Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Boss Hall, Sproughton Road was identifed during evaluation work. Also Post Medieval Ditches.


Grid reference Centred TM 1417 4536 (165m by 154m)
Map sheet TM14NW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

2014: An archaeological evaluation was carried out within an area of land formerly occupied by the Co-operative Society’s Dairy at Boss Hall, Sproughton Road, Ipswich. A series of eleven trial trenches were excavated across the site, three of which contained human burials that have been dated to the Early Anglo-Saxon period (specifically the 6th to early 8th century). The burials consisted of inhumations and urned cremations. They are undoubtedly a continuation of the previously recorded Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Boss Hall, which was discovered and partly excavated in 1990. The burials were restricted to trenches adjacent to the south-western boundary of the site and did not extend across the evaluation area indicating an eastern limit to the cemetery although no formal boundary or marker was identified. Following the initial trenching exercise an additional five trenches were cut with the aim of confirming the limits of the cemetery. No further burials were located suggesting the cemetery is confined to the area of the three western trenches. Trenches were also excavated within the footprint of the former dairy building. No archaeological features were exposed but, other than occasional localised intrusions, the surface of the natural subsoil was generally undisturbed confirming the potential for archaeological features to survive. A pair of parallel ditches on an approximate north to south alignment was recorded in two trenches to the east. No dating evidence was recovered from the excavated sections although the western ditch is coincidental with a boundary marked on 19th century maps suggesting at least one of these features is relatively late (S1).

17 early Anglo-Saxon grave goods were found from grave 002, this includes a five silver primary Sceatta; an incomplete girdle Hanger; an irregular roughly oval shaped fragments, which may be from the top of the shank; a copper alloy cicular sectioned piece of wire projecting from it, possibly the remains of the wire ring this girdle hanger was hanging from; a copper alloy complete figure of eight shaped link, with fragmentary iron loops through either loop; a complete probably silver ring now in four adjoining fragments, several iron concreted lump possibly several fragments or objects; two iron incomplete shaft, cuvilinear, possibly a ring; several iron fragments with a circular sectioned shaft, possibly a nail or ring fragment.
This grave assemblage is likely to be for an adult female, this assumption is based on the grave goods alone as no human skeletal material survived. The excavators have confirmed that although it is impossible to say where they were in relation to the body the grave goods were situated together along the south side of the grave around a third to half the way down, i.e. probably alongside the lower chest/waist/hip area. This location and nature of the grave goods perhaps indicates that they were part of a chatelaine, defined as one or more chains which hung from the waist and carried a variety of objects; chatelaines were buried in graves from the 6th to early 8th century (Geake 1997, 57-58).The discovery of the five silver primary sceattas within the grave makes this assemblage especially significant. All five secattas are of primary Series BI; their presence in combination with the other grave goods, might allow the grave to be dated to as early as the c680s. They were possibly deposited within a bag or pouch, and textile fragments, which may be related, were also found adhering to most of the adjacent iron finds (S2).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Sommers, M.. 2014. Evaluation - East of England Co-Op Dairy Site, Boss Hall, Sproughton Road, Ipswich.
  • <S2> Digital archive: Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. Portable Antiquities Database.

Finds (18)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jan 14 2020 2:37PM

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