Between January and August 2015, OA was involved in a large excavation for Bloor Homes in advance of a housing development on the edge of Thame in Oxfordshire. It was the first project to be carried out by Oxford Cotswold Archaeology, a joint venture with Cotswold Archaeology.
Arguably the most exciting discovery was that of a previously unknown causewayed enclosure. The monument, of Neolithic date, has three roughly concentric ditch circuits enclosing an area of high ground overlooking the valley of the River Thame. Later in the Neolithic, a small henge monument was constructed within the causewayed enclosure. There was virtually no activity during the Bronze Age, but in the early Iron Age a settlement was built on lower ground away from the enclosure.
The Roman period saw the construction of enclosures, which contained hearths and corn-drying ovens, as the site became an important centre for processing agricultural produce. Sunken-featured buildings, characteristic of the Saxon period, were also uncovered. It is generally thought that such buildings were workshops, and so it was gratifying to discover that many of the Thame examples contained objects associated with weaving, such as loomweights, bone pins and spindlewhorls.
From the start, we knew that the site contained some significant Iron Age and Roman archaeology, but in the event, the excavations far surpassed our expectations. The post-excavation work is likely to be equally exciting. Meanwhile, a new phase of occupation begins at the site with the construction of houses by Bloor Homes.