List of Test Pits


  • The field on the corner of Fairfield and Newgate streets was called Fair Close and is presumed to be where the hiring fairs were held from the medieval period onwards. In 1586 there were no houses on it, but in 1776 a row of cottages had been built along the southern side of Newgate Street and one of them coincided with the site of the present No 9 Newgate Street.
  • By 1841 the house had acquired a garden, and the tenant of Fair Close lived in it.
  • Fair Close remained in its original use until the 1960s when the Rural District Council bought it to develop Eaton Place and build a car park. The house, No 9 Newgate Street, obtained its freehold in 1920 when the Earl of Carnarvon sold many properties in Bingham, it is supposed, to fund the archaeological excavations in Egypt that found Tutankhamen’s tomb.
  • The soil profile is a conventional one of topsoil overlying subsoil, but beneath the topsoil is a pile of stones that has been interpreted as a collapsed structure, possibly a rectangular cistern. Orange-brown sandy clay filled the spaces between the stones and formed the layer beneath it. It is presumed that this is the original basal clay. No finds of any kind were retrieved from among the stones.
  • In the sequence above the stones there is a wide range of pottery finds from Roman to modern and the older sherds are stratigraphically arranged with Roman underneath medieval. However, there is a certain amount of mixing probably due to ploughing.
  • Unusually, a flint microlith was recovered, probably Mesolithic in origin.
  • The pottery sequence includes a small number each of Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Late Saxon and Saxo-Norman. Medieval finds are the most numerous. 11 different fabric types are represented and they span the whole medieval period. This includes two sherds of late 14th C Light-bodied Gritty Ware, which typically is found only after the Black Death of 1348-49. The unusually large number of medieval sherds and the wide diversity of fabric type suggest some sort of activity here possibly in association with a habitation.
  • Very few finds younger than medieval were recovered. Among them the oldest is Midland Yellow Ware (1575-1700). This implies that even though there is some late 14th C post-Black Death pottery here there was little general activity until the 17th C and the paucity of finds from later dates suggests that they probably arose from casual breakages and ending up where they were in manure scatters. The pit, dug fairly close to the house in a large garden did not find a domestic rubbish dump.
    The range of dates for the older finds compares well with those from the core of historic Bingham, except that there is no Iron Age material among them. For a site so far removed from the historic core this possibly indicates a satellite development in the period up to the Black Death

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