Monument record BLG 037 - Roman agricultural activity and possible medieval farmstead, Land to the West of Stowmarket Road

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Excavation identified limited Roman agricultural activity and Later Prehistoric activity. The majority of the evidence was for medieval land use, possible a small farmstead.


Grid reference Centred TM 1153 5104 (331m by 279m)
Map sheet TM15SW


Type and Period (10)

Full Description

February 2016: A geophysical survey by means of fluxgate gardiometry was undertaken. Only limited geophysical evidence of potential archaeological remains was identified in the form of a small number of discrete and linear anomalies that might signify pits and ditches. Modern and recent responses included those induced by a buried service, boundary features and potential ridge and furrow cultivation. (S4)

September 2016: Evaluation did not identify any feature of demonstrably prehistoric date, though the recovery of a small quantity of humanly struck flint attests to a human presence in the landscape. One pit on the north of the site might be Iron Age, though its dating is based on a single abraded pottery sherd (which could equally be Anglo-Saxon). Similarly no features of Roman date were found.
The majority of recorded features were of Late Saxon/Early medieval date (11-12th century AD) and formed a clear concentration in the east of the site. Comprising ditches, pits and possible structure; remains, these may constitute occupation, such as a farmstead, alongside the former Roman road. Recorded post-medieval remains were confined to three field boundary ditches, two of which are shown on the 19th can earlier 20th century Ordnance Survey mapping. The third ditch was previously unknown and, although roughly parallel with the mapped ditches, is suspected to have predated them (S1)

October 2018: Excavation targeted remains found in the east of the site during the evaluation phase. The recovery of residual worked flint and occasional pottery fragments of Mesolithic to Early Iron Age date provides limited evidence for a transitory presence in the landscape at this time. Two pits have been tentatively assigned a more specific Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age date.

Limited evidence for Roman agricultural activity was encountered on the site, as demonstrated by the remains of a large boundary ditch, a lesser boundary ditch and several small pits. The large ditch, NW/SE aligned ran parallel to Stowmarket Road, with a smaller perpendicular ditch meeting it. The ditches together delineated three area of Roman land use likely for agricultural purposes. The small pottery assemblage recovered was suggestive of a possible earlier Roman date for this land use, while charred plant remains were suggestive of a mixed agrarian economy.

The majority of the features were indicative of earlier medieval (11th-13th century) land use activity, possibly representing part of a small farmstead, that comprised of three buildings, only one of which was fully uncovered, and a possible field system. The general paucity of diagnostic artefactual material from features of this period made establishing precise dates for the construction and use of the buildings and field system difficult. The fragmentary pottery assemblage, together with parallels in building styles that can be drawn from other sites, perhaps even suggests their pre-Conquest origin. Environmental plant remains were indicative of a mixed arable economy, with the buildings perhaps partly being used for storage of crops as well as a dwelling.

No remains of land use post-dating the medieval period were identified within the excavation area, although field boundary ditches recorded beyond it to the northwest and southeast during the evacuation are indicative of continued agricultural land use (S2).

Included in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History annual round up of individual finds and discoveries for 2018. (S3)

See also Prehistoric record.

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Ennis, T.. 2016. Archaeological Evaluation Report: Land to the West of Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Cullum, R.. 2019. Archaeological Excavation Report: Land to the West of Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham.
  • <S3> Article in serial: Minter, F., Rolfe, J. and Saunders, A.. 2019. Archaeology in Suffolk 2018, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Bunn, D.. 2016. Geophysical Survey: Land to the west of Stowmarker Road, Great Blakenham.

Finds (15)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 25 2022 3:22PM

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