The results are presented in context number order by trench. Archaeological information, provided by the excavator, is given in square brackets. A brief summary of the processing method follows in round brackets after the sample numbers. No unprocessed sediment remains from these samples. The plant remains recovered are listed in Table 1.
Click to view Table 1
Context 142 [possible 1st century AD buried turf]Sample 4/T (10 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
The small washover (2 g, dried) consisted mostly of modern rootlets and some charcoal (to 3 mm), with a few decayed wood fragments, unidentifiable plant fibres and sand, but there was also a very small number of waterlogged seeds and fruits including common nettle, orache/goosefoot and silver birch.
Context 908 [waterlogged fill of pit 909, 2nd century AD]Sample 2/T (10 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
There was a small washover (12 g, dried) mostly of ‘woody’ debris including decayed wood, bark and twig fragments, with some rootlets and charcoal (to 5 mm), and a few unidentifiable plant fibres and invertebrate remains. The last were restricted to occasional poorly preserved pieces of unidentified beetle sclerite (eroded and rather fragmented), however.
The deposit produced a moderate amount of decayed seeds and fruits of plants representing various habitats, but dominated by taxa growing on heath/moor and grassland (especially damp), such as gypsywort, lesser/marsh stitchwort, lesser spearwort, marsh pennywort, sedge, silver birch, spike-rush and tormentil. There were also leaves of bogmoss which probably arrived with imported peat. Other botanical remains derived from waste/rough ground and included black nightshade, common nettle, hemlock, henbane, knotgrass, orache/goosefoot and white/red dead-nettle. In addition, a few remains of plant species growing in hedges (e.g. blackberry/raspberry, elder, hazel) were recorded and there was also a single charred grain of barley.
Context 1215 [fill of ditch 1224]Sample 16/T (20 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
The tiny washover (1 g, dried) contained sand, culm fragments (to 20 mm) and rootlets, with a little charcoal (to 2 mm), cinder (to 3 mm) and unidentifiable plant fibres. A rather small range of waterlogged seeds and fruits were recovered from this deposit. The most abundant plant taxon in this assemblage was common nettle, but there were also traces of other wild plant species such as blackberry/raspberry, elder, orache/goosefoot and selfheal. In addition, two charred caryopses of brome were found.
Context 1220 [buried soil beneath track 1206]Sample 15/T (20 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
There was a small washover (2 g, dried) mostly of rootlets, with a few leaf fragments, and a little sand, charcoal (to 5 mm) and slag/cinder (to 3 mm). Identifiable botanical remains were restricted to a small number of waterlogged seeds and fruits, including chickweed, common nettle, dock, elder, gypsywort, orache/goosefoot and white/red dead-nettle, representing habitats such as waste ground and hedges. There were also two charred caryopses of brome in this assemblage.
Context 1222 [fill of ditch 1221]Sample 7/T (20 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
The small washover (4 g, dried) consisted mainly of slightly silted unidentified charcoal (to 15 mm), with some rootlets and a very little sand, but there were also a few waterlogged nuts and catkin-scales of silver birch and seeds of orache/goosefoot. Other identifiable remains were restricted to two charred caryopses of brome.
Context 1257 [‘peaty’ basal fill of circular pit 1247 within 2nd century Roman industrial building]Sample 11/T (2 kg/4.5 litres sieved to 300 microns with paraffin flotation; processed by PRS)
Moist, dark grey (externally) to light to mid orange-brown (internally), brittle, layered and compressed, slightly sandy slightly clay, fine and coarse herbaceous detritus and amorphous organic sediment. There were some areas where clay and silt formed a greater, but still minor, part of the deposit. Stones (2 to 6 mm) were present and ‘straw’ was abundant in the sample.
The fairly large wet residue (1.4 litres) and small flot (~25 ml) both consisted mostly of ‘straw-like’ material and small unidentifiable plant fibres, but there were also wood fragments, twiglets, bud scales, cereal pericarps, ‘stems’ and ‘leaves’ of mosses (Bryophyta), small undisaggregated lumps of possible herbivore dung, some charcoal and a few rootlets. Twigs and leaves of heather were the most commonly identified plant remains from this deposit. In addition, there were moderate numbers of very well preserved waterlogged seeds and fruits. However, the identifiable component of these remains was restricted to a rather small range of taxa: seeds and fruits of bent, sedge, clover, cornflower, dock, hemp-nettle, selfheal and wild basil. There were also a few charred utricles of sedge present.
There were a few variably preserved invertebrate remains in the flot. Some beetle sclerites (e.g. of Cercyon analis (Paykull) and ?Monotoma picipes Herbst) were very well preserved and there were also some fragile remains present (e.g. wing fragments), whereas other macrofossils were heavily eroded (though fragmentation was generally quite low). Other remains present included sclerites of staphylinid beetles, a small weevil (probably Ceutorhynchus sp.), Helophorus ?flavipes (Fabricius), some fly puparia and a few mites (Acarina).
The microfossil ‘squash’ was mostly fragments of plant tissue, with some pollen grains/spores and a very small inorganic content. No eggs of intestinal parasitic nematodes were seen.
Context 1265 [burnt layer surrounding possible 2nd century hearth within 2nd to 3rd century industrial building]Sample 6/T (10 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
The small washover (3 g, dried) was mostly of rootlets and slightly silted charcoal (to 10 mm), with some sand, a single earthworm egg capsule and a few waterlogged nuts and catkin-scales of silver/downy birch.
Context 1278 [‘peaty’ fill of pit 1247 within late 2nd to 3rd century Roman industrial building]Sample 9/T (2 kg/3.8 litres sieved to 300 microns with paraffin flotation; processed by PRS)
Moist, mid to dark grey-brown to very dark grey (with some areas which were mid to dark orange-brown internally), brittle, layered and compressed, slightly sandy silty clay fine and coarse herbaceous detritus and amorphous organic sediment. There was a minor component of light to mid grey clay silt. Stones (2 to 20 mm), fly puparia, wood, ‘straw’ and rootlets were present in the sample.
There was a large wet residue (1.8 litres) and a small flot (~15 ml) both largely composed of tiny pieces of wood, ‘straw-like’ fragments and other unidentifiable plant fibres, with some undisaggregated lumps of possible herbivore dung. Again, a large number of the twigs and leaves were of heather, together with ‘leaves’ of mosses (Bryophyta) and bracken. Fruits and seeds were well preserved by waterlogging and included representatives of wild plant taxa such as brome, buttercup, chickweed, cornflower, foxtail, grass family, hemp-nettle, meadow-grass, mouse-ear, orache, ribwort plantain, rush, sedge, selfheal and tormentil. There were also a few remains of cultivated plant species, in the form of glume bases of spelt wheat, from this deposit.
The flot contained a substantial assemblage (forming perhaps 30% to 50% of the total volume) of highly variably preserved invertebrate remains. Many of the remains were very well preserved but still more were reduced to ‘filmy’ scraps of cuticle. There were numerous beetle remains, including those of Cercyon analis, Cryptopleurum ?minutum (Fabricius), various staphylinids (including Omalium rivulare (Paykull)), ?Monotoma picipes, Anobium punctatum (Degeer) (the woodworm beetle), some Carabidae and weevils (Curculioindae, probably including Ceutorhynchus sp.). There were also many fly puparia and mites (Acari), some sculpted and other ants (Formicidae) and occasional remains of relatively fragile invertebrate body parts in the form of wing fragments.
The microfossil ‘squash’ was mostly fragments of plant tissue, with very many pollen grains/spores and a small inorganic content. No eggs of intestinal parasitic nematodes were seen.
Context 1280 [lens of black fibrous organic material in pit 1247 within late 2nd to 3rd century Roman building]Sample 12/T (1 kg/1.4 litres sieved to 300 microns with paraffin flotation; processed by PRS)
Wet, very dark grey-brown to black, unconsolidated to slightly sticky (working more or less soft), slightly sandy slightly clay silt. Stones (2 to 20 mm) and twigs were present and fine and coarse herbaceous detritus was abundant in the sample.
The fairly large wet residue (600 ml) and small flot (~10 ml) were, again, largely composed of plant remains. More than half of the plant material was charred or partially charred. This deposit consisted mostly of wood fragments, twiglets, bark, charcoal, ‘straw-like’ fragments, fibres, rootlets, bud scales, mosses and small lumps of possible herbivore dung. Identifiable charred botanical remains included brome, common knapweed, dock, hulled barley, rush (perianth), sedge and selfheal. In addition, waterlogged seeds and fruits of bedstraw, clover, corncockle, gypsywort, hawkbit and meadow-grass were noted.
The flot gave relatively few invertebrate remains most of which were of fly puparia. There were also some mites, ants and a few beetle remains (including Cercyon analis, staphylinids, ?Monotoma picipes and a weevil head). Preservation of the remains was, again, highly variable, with some being very well preserved and others no more than heavily eroded (‘filmy’) scraps – some of the remains appeared to be charred.
The microfossil ‘squash’ was mostly of charred (approximately two-thirds) and uncharred (most of the remaining third) organic detritus, with a small inorganic content. No eggs of intestinal parasitic nematodes were seen.
Context 1287 [fill of possible pre-Roman pit 1273]Sample 13/T (15 litres sieved to 500 microns with washover; processed by the excavator)
The tiny washover (~1 g, dried) was mostly modern rootlets and some sand, with a few leaf fragments and a little charcoal (to 3 mm). Identifiable botanical macrofossil remains were restricted to a few waterlogged seeds and fruits of common nettle, silver birch and small nettle.