Monument record LVM 121 - Roman activity, land Adj to Bears Lane (AS) EXC

Please read our .


Archaeological evaluation identified Roman activity including a cluster of pits and ditches, a kiln and occupation layer. The remains indicate the presence of a substantial Roman buildings in the area.


Grid reference Centred TL 9162 4877 (214m by 222m)
Map sheet TL94NW


Type and Period (16)

Full Description

Archaeological evaluation revealed a cluster of pits and ditches, associated with a kiln, a grave and a surface or layer focussed on the central-southern area of the site that are of Roman date, probably within the later half of the 2nd century AD. The artefactual evidence is consistent with substantial domestic occupation and a building in the immediate vicinity. The Roman pottery includes as Samian ware dish with a maker's stamp. The animal bone includes butchered cattle, horse and deer bone. Other finds include copper alloy coins, a pin, strap end, and a bronze or brass disc bearing the bust of an emperor, possible part of a brooch or similar adornment. In the late 19th to early 20th century a Roman tessellated pavement (or bathhouse or crypt) was reported a short distance to the north of the site, possibly in the grounds of Grove House (LVM 018) but the details remained unconfirmed and anecdotal. The evidence from Bear's Lane appears to add credence to the presence of a significant Roman building in the vicinity, including quantities of fragmented tegula and imbrex tile roof. The kiln may also relate to this structure, as it included large fragments of imbrex tile and an unusual half-box tile, which may have been backfilled from a nearby bathhouse. Alternatively it may indicate the kiln was designed as a furnace to heat a hypocaust or bathhouse (and it was not designed to fire pottery/tile, or serve as a corn drier). A sparse number of post-medieval quarry pits and ditches were also recorded along with very low quantities of residual prehistoric struck flint and pottery (S1).

Included in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History annual round up of individual finds and discoveries for 2018. (S2)

Archaeological evaluation revealed three phases of archaeological activity. No Early prehistoric features were identified, with an assemblage of Mesolithic to Early Neolithic struck flints being recovered. The first phase of activity on the site, comprised two isolated pits that both contained a single sherd of probable late Bronze Age to early Iron Age pottery. The Second Phase of the site was split into two sub-phases of Roman activity with substantial activity occurred on the site during 1st to 2nd century AD. The archaeology encountered of this date comprised a ditch system which enclosed extensive and well-preserved evidence for late 1st to early 2nd century AD pottery production. Two pottery kilns, in addition to a further probable pottery kiln, and an oven were identified during the excavation. One of the kilns appears to represent a failed and abandoned kiln load; the seeming abandonment and subsequent preservation provides a rare insight into the loading of a Roman coarse ware kiln. The kilns may reflect the domestic demand of a nearby occupation in Lavenham. In addition was a series of pits and the skeleton of an adult male with associated with material evidence dating to the 1st to 2nd century AD. Between the 2nd and 3rd century AD the intensity of activity within the excavation area appears to have decreased; however, the evidence suggests that more substantial occupation activity remains in situ to the east. Within the eastern section of the site a large hollow was identified. Within the hollow, a single pottery kiln and juvenile burial of 2nd to 3rd century AD date were identified. Subsequently, the hollow was backfilled with the kiln and burial being sealed. The deposits within the hollow contained the accumulated debris from domestic occupation. The pottery assemblage is commensurate with a modest to substantial scale of domestic occupation in the close vicinity, including significant consumption of table ware vessels as well as jars. The pattern of supply is characteristic of the mid/late 2nd to 3rd centuries in the region, probably after c.AD225. No features of Medieval date were identified during the excavation. The final third phase was represented by Five features of a post-medieval date. The most notable feature of this phase was a large pit which exhibited evidence of three periods of in situ burning; environmental analysis suggests that it was utilised to burn agricultural refuse (S1).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Unpublished document: Thomelius, S. & Podbury, L. & Newton, ASA.. 2020. Archaeological Excaation- Proposed new development, Land adjacent to Bears Lane, Lavenham, Archaeologcial Assessment and updated project design.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Thomelius, S.. 2019. Archaeological Evaluation Report: Land adjacent to Bears Lane, Lavenham.
  • <S2> Article in serial: Minter, F., Rolfe, J. and Saunders, A.. 2019. Archaeology in Suffolk 2018, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History.

Finds (30)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Sep 26 2022 2:38PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.