The Oadby & Wigston Fieldworkers have remained busy, fieldwalking near Laughton, Smeeton Westerby and Theddingworth. Test-pitting has also taken place at Brocks Hill, Oadby, Laughton, and also in Keyham, where a number of residents have expressed an interest in taking part in a village test-pitting project in 2022. The group has resumed “face-to-face” meetings and have enjoyed entertaining talks from Peter Liddle on “The Glen Parva Lady” and Michael Miller on “The Athens Acropolis”. Their November meeting included an introductory talk from Megan Gard, the Finds Liaison Officer, and an introduction to Keyham by Steve Bailey – who is proving to be a great advocate for the test-pitting plans in the village
The Lutterworth Group have continued an earlier project in Walcote and have walked a field that has yielded a good selection of flint finds, including a Neolithic polished stone axehead, a possible flint axehead, an oblique flint arrowhead, bladelets, cores and flakes. Small quantities of Roman grey ware were also found, although no evidence of occupation.
Three trenches were excavated in Shawell which were possible pit locations. Although none of them were pits one did include a post hole of indeterminate age. A separate test pit was also excavated which contained a modern axe head, but at a metre deep shelly ware was located. A further two trenches were excavated near the Hall which produced a Jetton, mentioned in the previous newsletter, and a small amount of Roman grey ware pottery.
Two test pits were completed in Walton, near The Cross producing a range of medieval pottery.
The Rutland Group are very pleased to have been given permission to survey a number of fields in the Preston parish and plan to start work during the first week in November.
Melton Fieldworkers spent two enjoyable days at Garthorpe walking one large field and the second half of another large field which had been partially walked last year. The weather was perfect all weekend and the turnout was pretty good. This included several new members who came along in response to advertising on social media. In all about 20 people took part or made contact with us about the weekend. On the face of it, the fields have not yielded very much but we shall not really know until we hold our finds ID session in the near future. We learned new ways of setting out our grid and have taken the GPS data in the expectation that we will publish our results on QGIS in the near future.
Five members of The Wreake Valley Group joined the Melton Group recently for two days of fieldwalking at Garthorpe. This was our first outing for two years. We now have the promise of potential fields to walk but are awaiting details so are hopeful of some field walking within the Wreake Valley soon as well as a return to Hungarton. We welcome new members to our group.
Commercial fieldwork is a bit slow at present. Wessex Archaeology has been undertaking trial trenching in response to a Severn Trent Water Mains renewal scheme between Arnesby and Oadby. While this has been largely unproductive, previous geophysics had identified a handful of potential sites that were then avoided, or the methodology of construction has been amended to omit/minimise impact (direct drilling, etc.). But a probably later 18th century brick kiln linked to the Grand Union Canal, and at least one other previously unidentified prehistoric (BA/IA) site were discovered.
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ULAS has undertaken a watching brief during groundworks for the new visitor and educational centre at Leicester Cathedral which has quickly developed into an excavation due to the fact that in situ burials of 18th and 19th century date were uncovered. The burials lie in rows at a very shallow depth below the floor of the former Song School, which has been demolished to make way for the new building. The current work will involve the careful recording and removal of the uppermost burials so that preparatory works can recommence. A longer excavation of the basement area of the new building will be carried out by ULAS in early 2022. The Leicester Cathedral Revealed project can be followed via the following links:
At Church Causeway, Church Langton a small evaluation was undertaken immediately north-east of the village during the summer. Two separate areas of activity were identified, located within the northern and south-western parts of the site. In late October / early November this became an excavation. A large enclosure and boundary ditch were recorded at the northern end of the site. Pottery recovered from the ditch is dated to the transitional late Iron Age/Roman period (AD 30-60). Of particular note was a dump of burnt material within the top of the ditch that contained a hearth bottom (from iron smithing) and an abundance of hammerscale. Activity within the south-western area consisted of further ditches, gullies, pits and postholes. A small amount of mid-late Iron Age pottery was recovered from a couple of the features.
In October and November at Church Lane, Somerby, ULAS has undertaken a trial trench evaluation that moved directly into an open-area excavation. A small area of 900 square metres has quite densely packed intercutting medieval ditches, and other related features. Pottery recovered so far includes early medieval Stamford ware. There are hints of earlier activity, with the presence of Roman pottery and worked lithics.