with significant results (Bates et al. forthcoming).
Particular interest attached to this region because it provided
an area where it was possible to examine the junction and
relationship of the slope-wash deposits with the valley bottom
sediments (Barham and Bates 1990, 54).
The Neolithic/Bronze-Age Site (Figs 4-6)
A series of prehistoric features and deposits, dated to the
Neolithic/Bronze-Age period, were located at the eastern corner
of the plot, occupying a sloping spur of brickearth overlooking
the river at an elevation of between 23.50 and 21.50m above OD.
These remains appeared to relate to a larger site that extended
uphill, beyond the limits of the investigated area (Fig. 3). The
excavated features consisted of a group of fairly shallow,
circular pits (Fig. 4, Fs 102, 105, 109, 133, 138, 140, 151 and
153; see Table 1 for details). These had all been cut into the
top of the brickearth and lay buried at a depth of between 1.00
and 2.50m below present ground level, sealed by later
down-washed soils (Fig. 6). Each pit was filled with deposits of
black ashy soil containing much charcoal and large quantities of
calcined flint fragments but virtually no other datable finds.
Charcoal samples from the fillings of Fs 102 and 133 were
submitted for radiocarbon dating and the results obtained
indicate a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze-Age date (see below).
Their very distinctive ashy fills leave
little doubt that these pits are all broadly contemporary.
Nevertheless, pit F. 105 was partially cut through F. 109 (Fig.
4) suggesting that they represent a sequence of individual
events, rather than a single episode of multiple pit digging.
None of the pits showed any evidence of burning on their sides
or base to suggest that they had once contained fires (Table
On their downhill side, the pits were surrounded by
an Ďaproní of dumped ashy soil (Figs 4-6, contexts 55 and
96). This deposit was up 0.40m thick and enclosed an area
measuring about 32m across (Figs 3 and 4). It followed the
natural slope of the ground, falling away to the west, the south
and the east (Figs 5 and 6). The composition of the dump deposit
was very similar to the filling of the pits and again contained
abundant ash and charcoal fragments with very considerable
quantities of calcined flint fragments. The deposit also
produced some fresh prehistoric struck flints and five very
small fragments of flint-tempered prehistoric pottery (see
below). On the west side, a charcoal sample from context 55
(Fig. 5), was submitted for radio-carbon dating and this gave a
result similar to those obtained from the pits (Table 3).
On the south side, the remains of a pit [F. 151]
were actually sealed under the ashy dump (Fig. 4). On this side,
too, the dumped material (96) also extended over the top of a
deposit of natural tufa, clearly indicating that the tufa was of
an earlier date (see below).