An Iron Age and Early Romano-British Settlement
By Andrew B. Powell
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Excavations just outside a large Late Bronze Age ringwork at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Carshalton, in the London Borough of Sutton, revealed a settlement which was occupied possibly continuously from the Early Iron Age into the early Romano-British period. The excavations found very little evidence for Late Bronze Age activity, but by the Early/Middle Bronze Age an open settlement had been established, and by the Late Iron Age parts of it had been enclosed by an arrangement of small ditches. These ditches were modified over the next two centuries, although their general layout was maintained. Notably there were a number of pits which had a range of deposits – some undoubtedly domestic but others were much more deliberate and reflected ritual practices. For example, a single fill of one early Romano-British pit contained the butchered partial carcasses of 25–30 animals (predominantly sheep/goat but also including two dogs, a perinatal horse, two domestic fowl and a raven).
Also of note were a number of dog burials which showed particular care in the arrangements in the animals, presumably for symbolic reasons, occasionally occurring with pots. In addition, one small subrectangular (almost grave-shaped) Late Iron Age pit contained a careful selection of broken or incomplete objects, including large parts of a single pottery vessel, a decorated iron spearhead, a nave hoop (from a wheel axle), and lumps of tar with impressions of twisted vegetable fibres.
This report explores the archaeological remains within a framework of radiocarbon dating; specialist analyses of finds and environmental remains are also presented.
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