OA East was commissioned by Lovell to conduct an excavation in advance of residential development for the Hundred Houses Society, on the outskirts of Chesterton. This site lies adjacent to a known medieval moat, and prior to the work it was anticipated that any archaeology present would be medieval in date. However, it was also suspected that much of this might have been destroyed during the construction of council houses in the 1930s.

Surprisingly, the work indicated that damage from the 1930s council houses was restricted, and so clear evidence for medieval activity was present. This comprised boundary ditches and several post-built structures likely to be agricultural buildings at the rear of medieval plots. More surprisingly, the excavations also revealed a dense swathe of Iron Age archaeology. This included ditches that formed parts of small sub-rectangular enclosures dating to the middle and late Iron Age, along with scatters of early Iron Age pits. These pits contained pottery, a relatively large number of sawn antler fragments and well-preserved animal bone that may represent ‘ritual’ deposits. Indeed, some confirmation for this was provided by articulated remains of at least six animals, including sheep, dog and pig, that had been carefully crammed into one of the pits.

Taken together, these Iron Age remains were clearly part of a larger settlement extending beyond the footprint of the development site. They are nonetheless an important discovery for this suburb of Cambridge, particularly as they represent the earliest, significant settlement yet to be discovered in Chesterton.


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