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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 80    1965  page 70

Excavations at Eccles, 1964: Third Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot

THE EXCAVATION
  
Work this year was carried out again to north and west of the 1962-3 areas with the aim of (a) completing the plans of the second and third bath buildings, and (b) recovering the plan of the earliest bath building found partly under its successors.
   As a result, two further periods of occupation of the site have been established, antedating the earliest baths, and this has necessitated both re-numbering the periods of occupation and a partial revision of the tentative dating suggested in the earlier reports.

Period I, to c. A.D. 55: The Ditch
  
A short length of ditch (Fig. 3, Sections C-D, Layer 4, and G-H, Layer 4), was exposed below the granary and this constitutes to date the earliest known occupation of the site. This ditch was found to be some 6 feet in width; neither its true width nor its depth are at present known as later building over the ditch has meant some loss of both depth and width. V-shaped in profile, the ditch was cut into the subsoil and was found filled with domestic refuse including many oyster-shells, bones, etc., and a large amount of pottery, both imported and of local manufacture. One or two post-holes were observed at irregular intervals where posts had been driven into the subsoil; if others had existed, the posts had not penetrated beyond the filling of the ditch.
   The purpose and the full dimensions of this ditch are not yet known, but the most likely interpretation, on the basis of known archaeological evidence, is that it may have enclosed a Belgic type of homestead further to the west and served it as an open boundary ditch, which was eventually filled with domestic rubbish and clay and may have had a fence erected over its line. Certainly, the pottery contained both in the primary and the secondary fillings shows marked pre-Roman characteristics, but included some Romano-British material as well, which suggest that the ditch remained open for a few years after the conquest.

Period II, c. A.D. 55-65: The Granary
  
Excavation below the opus signinum floors of Rooms 47 and 59, the corridor giving access to the laconicum and thence to the rest of the earliest baths, revealed first a short length of foundations and eventually the complete plan of a small barn or granary (11 by 19 feet 3 inches), constructed partly over the filled-in Period I ditch (Plate IIA). Owing to the subsequent demolition for the building of the first baths, very little of the upper courses of the walls of this granary remained, but the method of construction was quite evident.
   Construction trenches for the five short walls of the granary were cut into the subsoil and partly into the filling of the Period I ditch

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