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All publications listed are available for purchase from Wessex Archaeology, at the cost shown, this is inclusive of postage and packing. Many of the publications can also be purchased from Oxbow Books. Free copies are whilst stocks last, and are available to UK addresses only.
by Lorrain Higbee and Lorraine Mepham
Archaeological works at Steart Point peninsula, near Bridgwater, have recovered evidence for the exploitation and settlement of the peninsula from the prehistoric period onwards. The results overall fit broad regional patterns of wetland environments in Southern Britain, where phases of land reclamation and climatic amelioration have been key factors in the successful exploitation, occupation and development of these landscapes. These phases of reclamation are strongly linked to the prevailing patterns of associated sea level increases which periodically made coastal wetland landscapes less favourable habitats, the most recent examples occurring in the late Roman to early medieval and late medieval to early post-medieval periods.
A number of significant sites and areas of past human activity and inhabitation from the Iron Age, the Romano-British period, the medieval and early post-medieval periods have been recorded. The results follow broad regional patterns seen in the Severn Estuary Levels, with the more regularly planned farming landscapes and permanent settlement evidence from the Romano-British period onwards, developing from seasonal, episodic exploitation of this resource-rich salt-marsh landscape. It has also highlighted extensive continuities within the Steart Point landscape of land divisions and drainage patterns which have their inception at least as far back as the early medieval period and possibly the Romano-British period.
To read more about the project follow this link
by Simon Flaherty, Phil Andrews and Matt Leivers
Excavations at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset, revealed limited evidence for late prehistoric settlement, but the principal discovery was the remains of a previously unknown high status medieval building complex. This is thought to have been a manor house and though heavily robbed, key elements identified include a hall, solar with garderobe and service wing. A forecourt lay to the north and a courtyard with at least one ancillary building and a possible detached kitchen to the south. To the east was a complex of enclosures and pits and beyond this a fishpond.
A somewhat restricted range and number of medieval finds was recovered, but together these suggest that occupation spanned the late 12th/early 13th century to the late 14th/early 15th century. The finds include a notable group of medieval floor tiles and roof furniture. Although documentary research has failed to identify the owners and any records relating specifically to this important building, one possibility is that it belonged to the Bishops of Bath and Wells, and was perhaps abandoned around the end of the 14th century when they may have moved their court to within the nearby and then relatively new market town of Wellington.
To read more about this project follow this link
by Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy and Nick Stoodley
£25.00 buy online form Oxbow Books
Excavations at Collingbourne Ducis revealed almost the full extent of a late 5th–7th century cemetery first recorded in 1974, providing one of the largest samples of burial remains from Anglo-Saxon Wiltshire, allowing observations to be made about its establishment, layout and development. The cemetery lies 200 m to the north-east of a broadly contemporaneous settlement on lower lying ground next to the River Bourne.
The excavations, carried out in 2007, revealed 82 inhumation graves and four cremation graves, in addition to the 33 inhumation graves discovered in 1974. The cemetery was in use between the late 5th and 7th centuries, delineated to the east by a coombe for much of its duration. There was an apparent shift to the south and east in the 7th century, when the area east of the coombe was used.
Notable features included a four-post structure and a rare example of a ‘bed’ burial. The human bone assemblage provides a glimpse into the lives of those living on the western frontier of the Anglo-Saxon world, in the late 5th–7th century. The cemetery was probably used for several generations of the local community, although there are some indications that some individuals or groups originated outside the local area. General health was notably poorer than that of some contemporaneous rural populations, and there is some evidence for infections such as tuberculosis and leprosy.
Several burials were accompanied by weapons and a diversity of jewellery assemblages, though none exhibit a particularly impressive range of wealth. As virtually the entire cemetery appears to have been explored, reliable observations can be made about its establishment, layout and development. This is particularly significant for the 7th century, when the focus of burial shifted, and changes in mortuary strategy may have reflected changes to the structure of society and the emergence of large Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
To read more about this project follow this link.
The development of prehistoric and later communities in the Colne Valley and on the Heathrow Terraces
by Andrew B. Powell, Alistair J. Barclay, Lorraine Mepham and Chris J. Stevens
ISBN 978-1-874350-74-3 – £30.00
This volume brings together the results from three programmes of excavation undertaken by Wessex Archaeology from 2000 to 2009 on two blocks of land proposed for mineral extraction to the north of Heathrow Airport, between the villages of Harlington and Sipson in the London Borough of Hillingdon. [insert link to web pages] Fieldwork was commissioned independently by Henry Streeter (Sand and Ballast) Ltd on the former ‘Imperial College Sports Ground’ and ‘Land East of Wall Garden Farm’ sites and by RMC Ltd – now CEMEX UK on ‘RMC Land’. The post-excavation analyses were combined further into a joint publication proposal by the Guildhouse Consultancy acting on behalf of both clients.
Occupation during the Early to Middle Neolithic period was demonstrated by the recovery of assemblages of Plain Bowl and Peterborough Ware-style pottery, a rectangular ditched enclosure and numerous pit deposits. A possible dispersed monument complex including two penannular ditched enclosures and one double ring ditch associated with rare and important remains of cremation burials is of contemporaneous Middle Neolithic date. There is less evidence for activity in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age other than a small number of pit and burial deposits. This is in stark contrast to the Middle to Late Bronze Age when a formalised landscape of extensive rectangular fields, enclosures, wells and pits was established, possibly across both sites. A small, Iron Age nucleated settlement was established, with associated enclosures flanking a trackway. This settlement continued in use into the Romano-British period. There were wayside inhumation and cremation burials, as well as middens and more widely dispersed wells and quarries. In the early Saxon period there was rather less activity, with settlement represented by two possible sunken-featured buildings. There was also a small cemetery. Subsequently, a middle Saxon and medieval field system of small enclosures and wells was established.
To read more about this project follow this link.
The Archaeology of East Kent Access (Phase II)
Volume 1: The Sites
Volume 2: The Finds, Environmental and Dating Reports
By Phil Andrews, Paul Booth, A P Fitzpatrick and Ken Welsh
Two volume set ISBN 978-0-9574672-4-8
Vol 1 ISBN 978-0-9574672-3-1 – £30.00
Vol 2 ISBN 978-0-9574672-2-4 – £30.00
East Kent has been a gateway for new people, cultures, ideas and trade for thousands of years. The Isle of Thanet, now joined to the mainland following the silting and reclamation of the former Wantsum Channel, was at the forefront of these movements.
A Kent County Council programme to build a new road link, the East Kent Access, in the south-east part of Thanet resulted in the largest archaeological project carried out in Britain in 2010. An Oxford Wessex Archaeology joint venture undertook the excavation of 48 hectares along the 6.5 kilometre route, revealing a wealth of archaeological evidence spanning the Palaeolithic to the Second World War.
Volume 1 describes the archaeological remains and discusses their wider significance in Thanet and beyond. Of note are two groups of Early Neolithic pits, 11 Bronze Age ring-ditches, Late Bronze Age settlement and two metalwork hoards. Amongst the extensive Iron Age remains is a unique trapezoidal enclosure and associated sunken-featured building. However, potentially the most important discovery is a large enclosure on the Ebbsfleet Peninsula which, it is argued, may have been associated with Julius Caesar’s invasions of 55–54 BC. Rural Roman settlement was extensive and included one site with roundhouses showing continuity from the Late Iron Age and another with sunken-featured buildings of 3rd–4th-century date, along with at least three mixed rite cemeteries. Anglo-Saxon settlement and several cemeteries originated in the mid-6th century, but of particular interest is an 8th-century settlement and cemetery with associated evidence for shellfish processing. Medieval remains were comparatively sparse but, as with the earlier periods, their distribution reflects the changing use of different landscape units represented by the chalk ridge, the southern slopes of Thanet and the Ebbsfleet Peninsula.
Volume 2 presents the analysis of the finds, environmental remains and the extensive radiocarbon dating programme, and includes the largest published assemblage of unburnt and cremated human bone from Thanet. Amongst the finds the worked flint, the Iron Age coins and the later prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon metalwork are of particular interest, and there are important assemblages of prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon pottery, worked stone and fired clay. Highlights from the environmental remains include the large assemblages of animal bone and charred plant remains and the unique evidence for Anglo-Saxon shellfish processing.
Riverside Exchange, Sheffield Investigations on the site of the Town Mill, Cutlers’ Wheel, Marshall’s Steelworks and the Naylor Vickers Works
by Phil Andrews
Excavations at Riverside Exchange in the centre of Sheffield revealed significant evidence of the city’s post-medieval industrial expansion and, in particular, unique remains relating to early steelmaking.
Nothing of the medieval Town Mill survived but the goit which supplied water to the mill remained an important element within the site. Mid-17th-century tanning pits were followed by the Cutlers’ Wheel, built in the mid-18th century to provide a water-powered grinding workshop. Notable assemblages of cutlery, pottery and clay tobacco pipes were recovered.
Marshall’s steelworks was established in the mid-1760s, an innovative, integrated works which combined cementation furnaces and the newly developed crucible steel process. The remains of three early cementation furnaces are of national significance and have been preserved in situ. Analysis of two crucibles has provided the earliest evidence for their composition and the Huntsman process, at a time when these were a closely guarded secret.
From the 19th century, documentary, map and archaeological evidence combine to give a picture of the development of the Naylor Vickers works, which took over Marshall’s and later became one of Sheffield’s major steelworks.
Seabed Prehistory: Investigating the Palaeogeography and Early Middle Palaeolithic Archaeology in the Southern North Sea
by Louise Tizzard, Andrew Bicket and Dimitri De Loecker
£33.00 buy online from Oxbow Books
The potential for Middle Palaeolithic sites to survive beneath the sea in northern latitudes has been established by intensive investigation within Area 240, a marine aggregate licence area situated in the North Sea, 11 km off the coast of Norfolk, England. The fortuitous discovery of bifacial hand axes, and Levallois flakes and cores in 2008, led to a major programme of fieldwork and analysis.
Geophysical, geoarchaeological, palaeoenvironmental and archaeological datasets have been integrated producing a comprehensive understanding of the seabed and wider Pleistocene palaeogeography. Our knowledge of the early prehistoric archaeological material has been enhanced significantly; confirming that the artefacts are not a ‘chance’ find, but indicate clear, although complex, relationships to submerged and buried landscapes.
The Early Middle Palaeolithic artefacts, particularly the Levallois elements, indicate Neanderthal activity around 200,000 and 250,000 years ago apparently constrained to cold, estuarine environment of the now-submerged lower reaches of the Palaeo-Yare Valley. The exploitation of this landscape has left an archaeological record of international significance.
A mortuary and ritual site of the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon period with evidence for long-distance maritime mobility
By Jacqueline I. McKinley, Matt Leivers, Jörn Schuster, Peter Marshall, Alistair J. Barclay and Nick Stoodley
£35.00 buy online from Oxbow Books
Excavations at Cliffs End Farm undertaken in 2004/5 uncovered a dense area of archaeological remains including Bronze Age barrows and enclosures, a large prehistoric mortuary feature, and a small early 6th to late 7th century Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery. An extraordinary series of human and animal remains were recovered from the Late Bronze Age–Middle Iron Age mortuary feature, revealing a wealth of evidence for mortuary rites including exposure, excarnation and curation.
The site seems to have been largely abandoned in the later Iron Age and very little Romano-British activity was identified. In the early 6th century a small inhumation cemetery was established. Very little human bone survived within the 21 graves, where the burial environment differed from that within the prehistoric mortuary feature, but grave goods indicate ‘females’ and ‘males’ were buried here. Richly furnished graves included that of a ‘female’ buried with a necklace, a pair of brooches and a purse, as well as a ‘male’ with a shield covering his face, a knife and spearhead. Overlapping with the use of the cemetery in the Early Anglo-Saxon period, but continuing into, at least, the 11th century, are 74 pits confined to the southern part, many of which contain large quantities of marine shell, probably consumed locally at communal gatherings.
English Heritage funded an extensive programme of radiocarbon and isotope analyses, which have produced some surprising results that shed new light on long distance contacts, mobility and mortuary rites during later prehistory.
The Archaeology of the Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme, 2009
by Nicholas Cooke and Andrew Mudd
£34.95 buy online from Oxbow Books
The A46 trunk road in Nottinghamshire has its origins as the Roman Fosse Way, and archaeological work ahead of road improvements in 2009 between Newark and Widmerpool undertaken by Cotswold Wessex Archaeology has shed new light on both Roman and pre-Roman use of this transect of land. A number of significant sites were revealed, including evidence for Late Upper Palaeolithic flintwork at Farndon Fields on the gravel terrace south of Newark. This nationally important site comprised scatters of debris left in situ by a flint-knapper of the Creswellian and Federmesser hunter-gather cultural traditions. At Stragglethorpe there was a ring-ditch with a number of inhumation burials of Beaker date. Iron Age and Roman settlement in the hinterland around the Roman small town of Margidunum near Bingham was also investigated. Further to the south-west near Saxondale, Roman roadside enclosures became the location of early Anglo-Saxon cremation burials and perhaps also a ‘tumulus’, as recorded by William Stukeley in 1722 in the middle of the Fosse Way.
Follow this link for a review of the A46 volume for the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire.
By Andrew B. Powell
A programme of archaeological works at the Hoyle Street development in Sheffield revealed significant evidence for the crucible steelmaking which gave the town its world-wide reputation for cutlery and tools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Two crucible furnace cellars, at William Hoole’s Works and the Hoyle Street Works, were excavated, and three intact crucible cellars were recorded at the Titanic Works. Structures associated with related aspects of steel production were also excavated, particularly at the Hoyle Street Works, including part of a cementation furnace, boiler and engine bases, a crane base and a silt trap.
Standing buildings at five works premises – the Roscoe Works, Malinda Works, Titanic Works, Australian Works and Progress Works – were also recorded and, combined with documentary and map research, revealed their development through the 19th and 20th centuries.
The steelworks were located among the cramped housing of the working population, and a number of cellars and ground floors of the back-to-back tenements and terraced houses were excavated, revealing evidence of possible cottage industry.