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A Romano-British settlement and activity, Brauncewell Quarry



Reference Name MLI81843

Name:
A Romano-British settlement and activity, Brauncewell Quarry

Summary:
A Romano-British settlement and activity, Brauncewell Quarry. Occupation appears to date from the mid- to late second century to the mid fourth century.

Location:
BRAUNCEWELL, NORTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE

Description:
PRN 61814 (includes PRN 61817)
A fieldwalking survey recovered 142 sherds of Roman pottery, appearing to be concentrated in the west of the field, and a geophysical survey identified anomalies relating to this site. {1}{2}

This was followed by an excavation which revealed a previously unknown 2nd or 3rd century Roman settlement, comprising enclosures and agricultural activity, occupation features, and at least four burials.{3}
BURIALS - Although in poor condition, the burials were determined to be probably two sub-adult/adult males and two sub-adult/adult females, three dating to the mid-2nd century and aligned north/south, while the fourth dated to the mid-3rd century and was aligned east/west. All four were accompanied by pottery vessels, three of the four had healed/healing periostitis and one showed evidence of rickets and possible tuberculosis, as well as having multiple healing fractures. Three of the graves contained nails, indicating burial with coffins. The 3rd century grave was spatially distinct from the 2nd century burials. The 2nd century burials respected the line of the easternmost ditch of the triple ditch system on this site (PRN61813), suggesting that the ditch was still an important part of the landscape at this time.{3}
ENCLOSURES - Two enclosures used the eastern ditch of 61813 as their eastern boundary, indicating that this ditch was still extant, although probably not active, when the enclosures were created. The gully for one of these enclosures cuts the central ditch of the triple ditch system, indicating that this ditch had already been backfilled when the enclosures were created. Entrances to the enclosures were not defined. Although not excavated, the internal areas of the enclosures displayed no clear evidence of structures. No artefacts were recovered, suggesting the enclosures were used for animals. A 100m square area exists separating the enclosures, with a number of stakeholes at the eastern end, possibly for animal pens or an ephemeral structure. The reason for the separation of the enclosures is unknown. A possible third enclosure may be defined by two short sections of gully, one aligned east/west, the other aligned north/south, joining to form what may be the north-west corner of an enclosure about 30m north of the northern enclosure. Two or three non-rectilinear, spatially distinct enclosures have been identified by aerial photography to the south of Nipton Lane. Their form and arrangement suggests spontaneous development.{3}
AGRICULTURAL PROCESSING - A posthole structure adjacent to a large pit is thought to be for crop storage. An elongated pit with a burnt side is thought to be a corn drier. A further corn drier consists of a circular-shaped semi-sunken end chamber with a limestone-block-lined interior, with a further clay lining over the stone. A flue and stokehole faced south. Rubble in the end chamber is thought to be from a demolished superstructure.{3}
OTHER FEATURES - A row of postholes east of the eastern ditch of 61813 may continue to the west of the ditch immediately north of the graves, delineating the limits of the settlement. An east/west ditch about 15m east of the eastern ditch of the triple ditch system has about a 7m gap between its western terminal and the eastern ditch of the triple ditch system, which may form an entrance and may also delineate the settlement. It is possible that the settlement was exploiting the 2nd century stone quarry to the north of the settlement (61817), but this has not been established with any certainty. A line of north/south postholes between the burials and the quarry are of uncertain function. A possible trackway defined by two north-north-east/south-south-west gullies runs parallel with the central ditch of 61817 and to its west. Geophysical anomalies identified south and east of the area stripped of topsoil include two possible ovens, pits and other occupation features, and possible evidence for occupation to the east of the triple ditch system, including tentative enclosures. A large pit was identified about 13.5m to the west of the single ditch to the west of 61813. Its primary function may have been for storage, and the base may have been accessible from the south. This pit was filled with limestone rubble and domestic rubbish after its primary function became obsolete. Finds in this pit included mid-2nd to mid-3rd century pottery, nails, and animal bone. Truncated slots and gullies may be fence lines or may delimit structures or enclosures.{3}

A geophysical survey and subsequent excavation identified a north/south gully dating to the 2nd century. Five possible postholes along the western edge may indicate a fence. The gully is thought to represent land division for stock control, or within a field system, or possibly between fields to the west and agricultural storage to the east.{4}{5}{6}{7}
QUARRYING- A geophysical survey and archaeological excavation recorded a complex of irregular, sub-rectangular, multiple-cutting pits, thought to represent a Roman stone quarry. The quarrying had been confined to a central area, suggesting a 'single centralised and organised phase of working', although a few pits were identified north and east of the main focus. Quarrying activity was dated to the 2nd century AD from pottery finds in the backfill of one of the partially excavated pits, but no artefacts associated with quarrying were recovered. It is thought that man/animal power was the main method of stone removal. The stone itself was low quality and most likely used as hardcore for roadbuilding, possibly for Mareham Lane and Ermine Street. Sited as it is, over the triple ditch complex (PRN 61813), the quarry may be seen as a deliberate destruction of the triple-ditched boundary. A large number of burnt patches scattered across the site appear to be related to the quarrying, but exactly what that relationship is is unknown. All the burnt patches are in situ, irregular in shape and depth, ephemeral in appearance, and none of them are lined, as a hearth or firepit would likely be. Their density appears to decrease as their distance from the quarry pits increases. See also PRN 61620.{4}{5}

An excavation was undertaken at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension 2001-02 prior to mineral extraction. Quarrying pits thought to date to the Roman period were uncovered. These were no excavated. A total of 832 Roman pottery sherds were recovered, which mainly dated to the 3rd and 4th centuries. Again, there were no early Roman pottery sherds were recovered. There was also no Samian pottery. {8} {9}

A possible enclosure was identified during a watching brief and excavation in 2005. It contained 2nd century pottery and is, therefore, likely associated with the Roman settlement activity in this area, however it was severely truncated and its full form was not visible making it difficult to ascertain its function. More 2nd century pottery was found in a ditch of probable Iron Age origin. {10}{11}

The area has since been destroyed through quarrying. {12}

Sources:
1 Intervention Report: Landscape Research Centre Ltd. Feb 1994. Magnetometer survey, Brauncewell.
2 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Mar 1994. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension.
3 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Aug 1994. Archaeological excavations at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry.
4 Intervention Report: Oxford Archaeotechnics. Oct 1996. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry. BQA96
5 Excavation Archive: Oxford Archaeotechnics. Oct 1996. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry. LCNCC 129.96
6 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 1998. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension Excavations 1997. BQ97
7 Excavation Archive: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 1998. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension Excavations 1997. LCNCC 101.97
8 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 2004. Excavations at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension 2001-2. BCQ01 BQN01
9 Excavation Archive: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 2004. Excavations at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension 2001-2. LCNCC 2001.277
10 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. 2005. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension: Archaeological Watching Brief and Excavations 2005. BCQ05
11 Excavation Archive: Lindsey Archaeological Services. 2005. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension: Archaeological Watching Brief and Excavations 2005. LCNCC 2005.90
12 Internet Website: 2006->. Google Maps and Street View. www.google.co.uk/maps.

Links:
Lincolnshire County Council is not responsible for the content of external weblinks.
The following reports are available from the ADS digital library.
2 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Mar 1994. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension.
3 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Aug 1994. Archaeological excavations at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry.
4 Intervention Report: Oxford Archaeotechnics. Oct 1996. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry. BQA96
6 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 1998. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension Excavations 1997. BQ97
8 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. Jan 2004. Excavations at Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension 2001-2. BCQ01 BQN01
10 Intervention Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. 2005. Brauncewell Limestone Quarry Extension: Archaeological Watching Brief and Excavations 2005. BCQ05

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Last updated: 06-December-2017 13:53:22

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