Site Update: Salisbury Road, Hungerford, West Berkshire

TVAS has recently excavated a site in Hungerford that initially promised very little but revealed an extensive catalogue of archaeological material.

An initial geophysical survey was carried out on the land revealing a single possible linear. The site was then evaluated with trenching that confirmed the ditch was archaeological but provided no secure dating. Besides the ditch a neolithic pit with a small amount of material and four Bronze Age pits were uncovered. With more features and intriguing prehistoric material it was decided that an excavation of select areas was important. That excavation is the latest project on the site.

Hungerford late Iron Age to Roman linear boundary ditch
Above: The large ditch running across the site.

The excavations revealed more neolithic pits of a similar nature to the one uncovered in the evaluation. A further Neolithic pit , that was larger, was discovered as well. The larger pit contained a wealth of archaeological material. Thousands of Neolithic flints were recovered along with quantities of pottery and animal bone. The extensive array of material has allowed for investigation into a more exact date - which is ongoing - for the material. The importance of this pit, and the other neolithic evidence comes from the placement of Hungerford. While material has been found within the Thames Valley and there are important sites such as Avebury the 40+ years of investigation in the Kennet Valley has revealed less material for the Neolithic period.

flint laurel leaf - spearhead neolithic pit
Above left: Flint laurel leaf (spearhead). Above right: Neolithic pit.

The Neolithic material was not the only surprising find from the site. The portion of ditch that was exposed during the excavation was excavated to recover dating evidence. The excvation of the ditch and surrounding evidence allowed the ditch to be identified as a late Iron Age linear Boundary ditch. Within the deposits of the ditch a Roman oil lamp was uncovered. The lamp is iron and of a distinct type but it is also rare. Not only is it a rare artefact the deposition of an Iron Roman oil lamp in a ditch is even rarer.

Roman iron oil lamp
Above: Iron Roman oil lamp.

The artefacts from the site are currently being analysed by specialists and a report is forthcoming. For information about similar sites please explore the links below.


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