Case Study (Excavation): Roman occupation at Campsea Ashe, Suffolk

This excavation, carried out ahead of the development of a housing estate which was largely replacing an earlier estate of pre-fab houses, is a typical example of how hitherto unknown prehistoric and Roman sites can be discovered within our rural villages …

The excavation at Campsea Ashe, Suffolk

Activity on the site began in the Early Bronze Age, with fragmentary remains of an urned cremation being found in an earlier evaluation. The excavation recovered a small assemblage of prehistoric flint as residual finds in later features and two separate phases of Iron Age pottery, again mostly recovered from later features.

The majority of the features dated to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD and consisted of boundary ditches forming part of a rectilinear system. A number of pits and postholes were also present and the quantities of pottery recovered from both the pits and ditches indicates occupation in the immediate vicinity although no buildings were positively identified.

The row of animal burials at Campsea Ashe, Suffolk

A series of eight complete or near complete animal burials, consisting of a horse, a pig or boar and six cows, were recovered from a line of individual pits, mostly under a ditch. Dating evidence was sparse, with only occasional fragments of prehistoric pottery in the pit fills, but seven of the burials were sealed beneath a ditch fill dating to the 1st to early 2nd century. There was no indication of a cause of death but it is quite possible that these are sacrifices; alternatively, they may simply be farm stock, which were considered unfit for consumption, that have been buried along a boundary.