26th May 2017:
The latest publication by Oxford Archaeology brings together the reports of two sites in the Upper Thames Valley in Gloucestershire. The sites, Horcott Quarry, Fairford, and Arkell’s Land, Kempsford, are in close proximity to each other, but excavations revealed contrasting pictures
At Horcott, on the second terrace, there was periodic activity from the early Mesolithic onwards. A major earlier Iron Age settlement contained roundhouses and at least 135 four-post structures, suggesting an exceptional focus on grain storage. An early-middle Roman farmstead incorporated a small stone-founded building, while from c AD 250-350 a large cemetery lay in an adjacent enclosure. Two further groups of burials were contemporary with a substantial Anglo-Saxon settlement including a timber hall and 33 sunken-featured buildings.
By contrast, at Arkell’s Land, on the first gravel terrace, activity on a significant scale only began in the later 1st century AD. It comprised enclosures, field systems and trackways, with the most intensive settlement, as at Horcott, in the middle Roman period. The site was probably linked to an adjacent estate centre at Claydon Pike. There was no post-Roman occupation.
Horcott Quarry, Fairford, and Arkell's Land, Kempsford: Prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon Settlement and Burial in the Upper Thames Valley in Gloucestershire, by Chris Hayden, Rob Early, Edward Biddulph, Paul Booth, Anne Dodd, Alex Smith, Granville Laws and Ken Welsh, is priced at £25 and available from Oxbow Books.