Ipswich UAD child record record IPS 1216 - Well 0026

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Middle Saxon Well


Grid reference Centred TM 1656 4423 (3m by 3m)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

The roughly oval well pit was over 3.2m wide at the top, tapering to 1.8m at its base, and 3.1m deep. The timber well shaft comprised a circle, 50cm in diameter, of individually split oak planks surviving up to 80cm high above the bottom of the well.
The base of the shaft was not fully excavated, but ten staves from the west side were recovered: eight from the shaft (0073, 0074, 0075, 0076, 0077, 0078, 0079, 0081) and two timber fragments (0080, 0082) from the outside edge of the main ring (shown as 0253 on the general plan). The edges of the staves were chamfered as with barrel staves, but no means of securing the staves was evident.
The timbers were submitted for dendrochronology and a date later than AD 712 was determined for the felling of the tree. The pottery dating implies that this is far too early for the use of the staves in the well. The well pit (0026) produced two Ipswich ware and two Thetford ware sherds implying an ELS construction date but the lack of any pottery other than Ipswich ware in the shaft fill contradicts this and suggest that the Thetford ware sherds may well have resulted from a final filling of the shaft. Evidence of the shaft only recorded 50cm below the top of the feature, implying a collapse and/or deliberate infilling of the top of the shaft after a long period of silting. Unfortunately, the depth of the Thetford ware sherds was not recorded. However, the well pit was cut by ELS pit 0027 and a late MS date for the construction of the well seems most likely.
If the two Thetford ware sherds do genuinely reflect an ELS construction date for the well, the timber used for the barrel staves would have been very old at the time of use or cut from the heartwood of a large oak which was not felled until much after AD 712, (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Wade, K. 2014. Ipswich Archive Site Summaries, Site Name: Smart Street.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 17 2017 9:27AM

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