ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY -- RESEARCH
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Archaeologia Cantiana -
Vol. 91 1975
at Eccles Roman Villa, 1974: Thirteenth Interim Report.
By A. P. Detsicas, M.A., F.S.A. Scot
II. Post-Roman, c. A.D.
Ditch XV (Fig. 1)
was further sectioned and its known length increased to some
87 ft. (26.10 m.); nothing further can at present be added
about the purpose of this ditch. It was in use in the period
following the abandonment of the villa, as the ditch had been
cut through the debris layer spread in this area, but before
this part of the site became an Anglo-Saxon burial ground
after c. A.D.
650, as some burials were found interred in the line of this
ditch wherever this was convenient.
III. Anglo-Saxon, Later Than c. A.D.
Several new burials were found, mostly in the
unexcavated area to south-east of the Romano-British villa;
they were all aligned approximately east-to-west and clearly
Christian, which is underlined by the total absence of grave
goods with these burials.
Trenching to east of the furthest 1973 trench (Fig.
1) has brought to light no additional burials, and this
suggests that the Anglo-Saxon cemetery may not have extended
into this area.11
A number of post-holes were recorded in two
trenches adjacent to the cemetery; the timbers they had
contained must have been quite substantial and, in some cases,
large post-pits had been dug for the insertion of the posts,
which were packed with rubble into their holes driven into the
subsoil at much greater depth than the post-pits. Not enough
of these post-holes have been so far recorded to attempt a
reconstruction of the building to which they belonged, but it
is clear that a wooden structure had been erected adjacent to
the Anglo-Saxon cemetery and, possibly, at the time when the
burial ground was in use.
IV. Medieval, Thirteenth Century
Trenching in the area of the medieval site12
showed that the rough cobbling extended to south-east beyond
the limits of the 1973 excavation; it survived as loose rubble
of stone and tiles embedded in the subsoil.
Ditch XVII (Fig. 4)
was further traced turning to south; it retained the same
U-shaped outline, vertical sides and width as recorded last
year, but its function is not yet known.
Summary and Discussion
The main problems of interpretation of the site
and the outstanding questions are as follows:
11 However, work in
1975 has recovered, in a trench sectioning Ditch X beyond its
1974 limit to north-east, a fresh burial belonging to the
pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon period; this burial may represent
the beginning of another section of the cemetery after a gap
of some 30 ft. or prove to be an outlier.
Cant., lxxxix (1974), Fig. 1, 132-3.
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