List of Test Pits

CCLM 03, 04 and 05

  • Geological observations in the pits suggest that the site lies in an area that is at the margin of a lake that had formed here about 20,000 years ago, but which was silted up by Roman times. The shape of the edge of the lake was intricate. Though the ground here was mostly firm it is almost certain that not all of the lake had completely silted up and was boggy. The presence of Roman pottery sherds alongside snail shells in the lake clay in one pit (CCLM05) suggests that there were boggy areas into which rubbish was dumped. However, it is unlikely that this is the full story of the site.
  • Pit CCLM03 contains a deposit near the bottom that is best interpreted as having formed during a flood. It is sticky clay containing pebbles and stones several cm long. A deposit similar to this was observed in the excavation made prior to building the new classrooms in 2003 when the Roman well was found. This deposit overlay the well and the one in CCLM03 contained a piece of Roman pottery. This suggests that the flood deposit came after the Roman period, but it cannot be dated better than that. Flooding is known in this area. In the summer before the new classroom was built the school grounds were flooded after prolonged heavy summer rain.
  • The two Iron Age sherds suggest some form of activity during that period. In other parts of Bingham Iron Age sherds occur in clusters around sites where there are possible habitations.
  • The abundance of Roman pottery, especially in CCLM04, indicates the proximity of a house of some status. Some of the finds in the collection from the 1960s suggest that there may have been a bathhouse here and some of the pottery, particularly the samian ware is high status. There has been a discussion about whether this is a villa or a farm belonging to a relatively wealthy man. The presence of pottery wasters (pieces from the kiln that were unsuccessful) found in the original dig suggests that there was some sort of industrial activity on the site. The house is close to good clay in the lake deposit. There is a well, and the range of pottery found indicates the presence there of people of all classes such as might be expected in a big farm complex with many farm workers, mangers and the landowner. Whether or not the house was a villa or a large farmhouse seems to be irrelevant. Whoever lived there would have owned land in the parish. There would probably be their own domestic buildings, others for slaves and servants, farm buildings such as barns, corn-driers, mills and outhouses, craft areas such as kilns and smithies and perhaps shrines and temples. There may have been a private household cemetery nearby.
  • The house was occupied for nearly the whole of the Roman period.
  • There is no evidence from any of the pits of what happened immediately after the Romans left in 410AD. Interestingly, compared with other Roman sites in Bingham, there were no Anglo-Saxon, Late Saxon or early medieval finds in the pits. There is no evidence of anything happening here until the late 13th C and that did not last into the second half of the 14th C, when it is likely that the Black Death (1348-49) had an impact. The period just before the Black Death from the late 13th to early 14th centuries in Bingham was one of intense agricultural activity. It seems to have been a highly prosperous time, when nearly all the parish was under cultivation. It is likely that at this time the area of the school also came under cultivation, but there is no evidence to say where the farmers lived.
    In Crow Close, immediately to the west of the school grounds there is ridge and furrow indicative of medieval ploughing and no sign that it has been over ploughed since. No precise date can be put to this, but the absence of any pottery from the period late 14th C to late17th C suggests that the arable cultivation of this land may have ended with the Black Death in 1348-49.
  • After that the land was either left unused or was for grazing only.
  • There are no sherds post-dating the medieval period in two of the pits. Only in CCLM05 were there any 18th to 20th C finds and there were very few of these. Compared with elsewhere in the parish the amount of later pottery is too small for it to have been spread in manure and suggests that the field has only been used as pasture since the Black Death.
    There seems to have been some disturbance to the site when the school was built, but only in CCLM05 is there a significant amount of builder’s rubble from this period

Click here for a detailed account of the pits.

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