Summary

The assemblage indicated activity from the late first/early second to the mid-second century with rather less activity after cAD160.  Later activity included a mid-third century cremation but no pottery sherd has to be dated later than the middle of the third century with the exception, possibly, of the two shell-tempered jars.

The assemblage is broadly similar to that previously excavated from the Fairclough Site, but showed distinctive characteristics relating to the function of the area and its position towards the edge of the town.  Changes in the ceramics coming to the site over time were similar to that found elsewhere in Middlewich and suggest a decline in locally made ceramics in the early second century and a rise in traded coarse wares from Dorset and from kilns on the Cheshire Plain at Wilderspool and other unlocated kilns.  The level of decorated samian indicated the settlement had a military-type assemblage but the characteristics of the group in terms of other luxury goods and table ware: kitchen ware ratios suggest the area was of fairly low status.  The evidence of the sherds conditions and secondary usage of vessels such as amphorae contrasted with that at the Fairclough Site, where vessels such as amphorae and flagons had been utilised in industrial activities relating to salt production.  No such evidence was noted in this excavated area.  Some evidence for religious activity was recovered, in addition to the cremation burial, and suggested ritual acts, perhaps related to the industrial activities being carried out in the vicinity, namely potting and iron working.  The evidence adds to our understanding of how the settlement at Middlewich may have been zoned according to the activities being carried out.

Table 4: Vessel types from phased contexts quantified by vessel equivalents (EVES) (click to view)

Table 5: Relative proportions of wares and fabrics from stratified groups by phase using sherd count (click to view)

Table 6: Relative proportions of wares and fabrics from stratified groups by phase using sherd weight (click to view)

Table 7: Relative proportions of wares and fabrics from stratified groups by phase using estimated vessel equivalents (click to view)