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Middle to late Iron Age and early Roman occupation, Kirkby la Thorpe



Reference Name MLI87599

Name:
Middle to late Iron Age and early Roman occupation, Kirkby la Thorpe

Summary:
Enclosure ditches, gullies, pits and a burial dating to the middle to late Iron Age and early Roman period, Kirkby la Thorpe

Location:
KIRKBY LA THORPE, NORTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE

Description:
63687
Cropmark remains, interpreted as being the remains of later prehistoric enclosures and hut circle, are visible on aerial photographs. {1}{2}
Geophysical survey was undertaken in this area, along a section of the Hatton to Silk Willoughby gas pipeline route. However, the pipeline route was altered after the geophysical survey was conducted. Within the area, high susceptibility values were encountered. A linear anomaly was identified that may have related to the nearby cropmarks to to a change in cultivation. It was likely that the high susceptibility values recorded in the original survey extended into the area affected by the change in route.{3}
It was recommended that evaluation trenches be excavated at the earliest opportunity. Time constraints brought about by poor weather meant that this took place very shortly before construction, and full area excavation was recommended as soon as archaeological features were recognised.{4}{5}
Activity on the site spanned the mid to late Iron Age to the third century AD. Occupation seemed to be at its height in the late Iron Age to early Roman period. The lack of late Roman artefacts suggests that the site was abandoned or sparsely occupied by this time. The earliest feature on site was a substantial middle to late Iron Age enclosure ditch (Ditch 1), found in association with smaller gulleys and a single pit. The small amount of late iron Age to early Roman pottery from the ditch suggest that it was still at least paritally open at the time of the Roman Conquest. There was no evidence of any bank formed from the up-cast of the ditch. The enclosure may have encircled a farmstead although no buildings or related structures were evident within the excavated area. A number of smaller, internal gullies may have produced small rectangular areas 8m by 6m in the northern part of the main enclosure. Another internal division broadly divided the main enclosure into a northern and southern half. These enclosures may have been used to manage livestock. In the late Iron Age or early Roman period, a rectilinear enclosure (Ditch 2), on a similar alignment, appears to have replaced the Ditch 1 enclosure. A number of intersecting and parallel ditches and gullies were also cut at this time. Only a small number of artefacts were recovered from the sterile, single fill of Ditch 2 suggesting that it did not enclose an area od settlement; it is more likely to have been the remains of an animal enclosure or field unit. Its lay-out respected the alignment of the main enclosure Ditch 1, though it was substantially smaller. It was also more regular, with straighter ditches and better defined corners. This regularity may be a result of Roman influence, demonstrating a degree of continuity through the Iron age to Romano-British transition.Three pits with late Iron Age or early Roman pottery may have been contemporary with Ditch 2. The function of these pits is not clear but they may have been dug to extract gravel or for hydrological management. The third phase on site was represented by a curvilinear ditch (Ditch 3), a gully and two large oval pits, all dating to the mid-second to early-third century AD. One of the pits produced part of a leather shoe while from the other part of a Millstone Grit quern and a (residual) late Iron Age iron brooch were retrieved. Once again, the function of these pits is not clear. A disturbed, partially articulated human skeleton was found in a heavily truncated grave in the northeast part of the site. The surviving part of the grave was sub-rectangular and although most of the skeleton, including the skull, were missing, it is likely that the skeleton may have been in the crouched position. The skeleton was probably of a mature adult over 40 years old at time of death. The robust nature of the bones suggested this individual was male. There were no grave goods or associated artefacts, so the burial is undated. If deliberately placed within the area enclosed by Ditch 3 it would imply that it was of the same phase. However, its proximity to Ditch 3 may purely be coincidental. If it was contemporary with Ditch 1, it would have been outside the main enclosure.{4}{5}

Sources:
1 Map: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1992-1996. National Mapping Programme. LINCOLNSHIRE. TF0945:LI.852.5.1-3
2 Article in Monograph: Winton, H.. 1998. 'The cropmark evidence for Prehistoric and Roman settlement in west Lincolnshire' in Lincolnshire's Archaeology from the Air. p 49, fig. 2.3.12
3 Intervention Report: Bartlett-Clark Consultancy. 2000. Geophysical survey of the Hatton to Silk Willoughby Gas Pipeline.
4 Intervention Report: Network Archaeology Ltd. Apr 2003. Archaeological Evaluation, Excavation and Watching Brief on the Hatton to Silk Willoughby Gas Pipeline 2001. HAT00
5 Excavation Archive: Network Archaeology Ltd. Apr 2003. Archaeological Evaluation, Excavation and Watching Brief on the Hatton to Silk Willoughby Gas Pipeline 2001. LCNCC 2000.102

Links:
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The following reports are available from the ADS digital library.
3 Intervention Report: Bartlett-Clark Consultancy. 2000. Geophysical survey of the Hatton to Silk Willoughby Gas Pipeline.
4 Intervention Report: Network Archaeology Ltd. Apr 2003. Archaeological Evaluation, Excavation and Watching Brief on the Hatton to Silk Willoughby Gas Pipeline 2001. HAT00

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Last updated: 02-December-2017 13:49:04

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