Broadcast 15 March 2009
Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd to carry out recording and post-excavation analysis on an archaeological evaluation by Channel 4’s Time Team at Chapel Head, Warboys, Cambridgeshire (centred on NGR 534216 281602). The fieldwork comprised geophysical survey and 12 machine excavated trenches around Chapel Head, a small hillock rising above the surrounding fenland.
Warboys is situated in an area dominated by the great ‘Fen Five’ Benedictine monasteries, all of which have early foundations. During the medieval period the Site was known to be the property of nearby Ramsey Abbey. Although the Site is named as Chapel Head on maps from the late 18th century, this appears to be a relatively modern name.
The primary aim of the evaluation was to see whether there had actually been a medieval chapel on the site, as implied by the later field name. During the evaluation an east-west aligned structure measuring some 13.8 by 6.0m was uncovered, although this had been almost entirely robbed out. The structure lay within a series of ditches that appeared to form a surrounding enclosure. These features are believed to date to the medieval period, although dating evidence is sparse. Outside the possible enclosure, to the north, was a second structure, of probable wattle-and-daub construction, again probably medieval. Whether this was the site of the ‘lost chapel’ remains uncertain, and a more domestic function is suggested by the finds assemblage recovered. It may have formed part of a medieval grange farm.
There is a suggestion that there may be an earlier phase of medieval activity predating the enclosure. Other linear features were also uncovered, some of which may relate to late Iron Age/early Romano-British activity.