A453 Clifton

Roman Settlement 

In August 2012 Wessex Archaeology undertook an archaeological evaluation at Clifton, Nottinghamshire in advance of the upgrading of the A453 between Junction 24 of the M1 and the A52 at Clifton. The evaluation revealed a Romano-British boundary assumed to be associated with a Romano-British enclosure to the north, which had previously been identified by geophysical survey and trenched evaluation.
 
In September and October 2012 Wessex Archaeology carried out a 0.76ha excavation on the site of the Romano-British enclosure, where a late Iron Age enclosure and several subsequent phases of Romano-British occupation were revealed. The site is located on a natural ridge to the north-east of the confluence of the rivers Trent and Soar, with a fertile floodplain extending to the east. The earliest phase of the site was defined by a large enclosure, measuring over 70m wide. A shallow and truncated crouched inhumation was found within the enclosure, close to the eastern limits and is likely to date from the earliest phases of the site. Domestic waste was recovered from the enclosure ditch fills and it is probable that structural remains and other burials were lost through ploughing. 
 

736 Roman inhumation

In the 2nd century AD the northern extent of the enclosure ditch was infilled, and a large stone building constructed within a smaller enclosure. The building was 12m wide and over 16m long and its extent was defined by sections of stone foundations with post sockets, beam slots and large post-holes. Considering that the post-holes were 500 mm deep after a similar level of truncation, we can assume that the structure was two storeys high. A post-hole or small pit within the building also contained a deliberately placed greyware vessel. A possible cellared workshop lay outside the structure with a quern stone found nearby; metalworking slag was also recovered from ditches in this area.
 
Additional enclosures and paddocks were added in the 2nd century but the main building had gone out of use by the 3rd century AD, attested by large amounts of building material within the later pits and robbed out post-holes. Utilitarian pottery within those same pits hints at continued occupation elsewhere on the site. A second burial that of a young adult female, was located within the entrance to a later enclosure.
 
The site lies to the east of Red Hill Scheduled Ancient Monument, an early Iron Age settlement that grew into a significant Romano-British port and trade centre. The farmstead from the A453 excavations may have formed part of a larger estate controlled by an assumed villa at Red Hill. Post-excavation work is underway and will be published in 2014.