by James Wright, Andrew B. Powell and Alistair Barclay
ISBN: 978-1-874350-51-4 £4 (book) or FREE (pdf book - see below for details)
This report brings together the archaeological results from two fieldwork investigations at Popley, Basingstoke (NGR 46300,154000), now known as Merton Rise and Marnel Park, in advance of housing development. The archaeological work took place during 2004–8 and was commissioned by CgMs Consulting and funded by David Wilson Homes and Hampshire County Council.
The archaeological investigation of 59 ha of mostly chalk downland revealed traces of human activity from the Neolithic through to the late Roman period, beginning with occasional pits containing domestic refuse and both Grooved Ware and Beaker pottery, the latter with evidence for cereal cultivation.
Permanent settlement occurred from about 1500 BC onwards with a series of open settlements including at least 15 buildings, mostly post-built roundhouses, of Middle Bronze Age to Early Iron Age date, whose inhabitants were involved in cereal cultivation and largescale land division. The Late Iron Age witnessed the creation of new settlements, enclosures, and trackways. Field lynchets and evidence for field clearance indicate that some earlier pasture was converted to arable. Short-lived, specialised enclosures, probably for animal husbandry, on the chalk contrasted with a long-lived complex of enclosures on poorer draining soils. The apparently low status settlement situated on these poorer soils exhibited only partly Romanised and mostly rural characteristics. The settlements were abandoned in the 4th century.