Dig 3 – Test-pit 5 and the big picture

The final test pit excavated in Dig 3 was Test Pit 5, which was dug further north-west into Dovehouse Meadow, set back 30m from Webbs Lane. Results from geophysical survey suggest that this area was separated from Test Pits 3 and 4 by a bank of earth, probably a hedge bank, and therefore in a separate field area.

A view of Test-pit 5 being excavated in 2016, from the south-east.

Excavation removed 70cm of soil to reveal natural clay at the base of the pit. Archaeology comprised 10cm of turf covering 50cm of topsoil and 10cm of subsoil. No features were recorded in the trench and the soil character was very different from other pits in Field 1, with much thicker topsoil present.

Finds include a small quantity of medieval pottery, predominately 1100-1400 (possibly with some later medieval material present too), a single sherd of Roman Samian ware (1st-2nd century AD), and a handful of worked and fire-cracked flints. One curious discovery in the pit was three spherical marble-sized flint nodules. Whilst natural, these were noticeably different to the natural flint else in the pit and it is suggested that they might have been deliberately curated, perhaps used as sling shots to scare away birds in the field.

CONCLUSION

Overall, Dig 3 was a big success. Test pits in the south-east corner of Field 2 have confirmed the presence of buildings in the area. Evidence suggests that they lie within a small yard area and have a farming or industrial function, probably associated with the neighbouring Mill House. Domestic activity is noticeably absent. These test pits also show that medieval settlement did not extend this far west along Webbs Lane. Whilst all three pits in Field 2 produced medieval pottery, sherds are all small and abraded, which is more indicative of domestic refuse being spread on fields as manure. The field has also produced a single sherd of Roman pottery and several worked flints, a sign of a prehistoric presence in the area.

Washing all the finds from the five test pits.

The presence of large quantities of broken roof tiles in both Test Pit 3 and Test Pit 4 is a noticeable contrast to the absence of brick rubble and other building material from these two pits. This might suggest that the buildings in this corner of the field were of timber construction with tiled roofs.

The end of Dig 3 – Cake and a chance to look at all the washed finds.

Test Pit 2, close to the centre of the hamlet has uncovered stratified evidence of early medieval occupation, perhaps dating back to the end of the Anglo-Saxon period (mid-late 11th century). This is much earlier than the earliest known written record for Streetly End and contributes to the growing evidence that there is settlement here from at least the 12th century onwards. This is also supported by evidence from Test Pit 1 which has identified a house platform that was likely occupied from the 12th century through to the early 20th century. Tellingly, the pottery in this pit appears to have an unbroken sequence, suggesting occupation was continuous through the medieval, late medieval and post-medieval periods. This again adds to the growing body of evidence that Streetly End did not suffer the same degree of population decline as other areas of the parish in the late medieval period.

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