28 test pits were excavated over a single day on the 26th May 2012 in Potton funded by Arts Council England as part of the On Languard Point ‘Dig and Sow’ project. The majority of the pits were excavated in residential gardens, but pits were also dug in allotments, on school playing fields and on public open grassed areas. Excavations were undertaken by residents of Potton, members of the Potton History Group and other members of the public.
The test pit excavations revealed a distinct lack of early material, with no pottery of prehistoric, Roman or Anglo-Saxon date recovered from any of the excavated pits. This may be due at least in part to not all of the pits being excavated to natural. Pottery of high medieval date (mid 11th – mid 14th century) was recorded from a number of test pits particularly around the central planned market place (POT/12/12, POT/12/11, POT/12/8, POT/12/24, POT/12/13 and POT/12/21), near the river (POT/12/19 and POT/12/10) and around the church (POT/12/5). None produced particularly large quantities of sherds of this date. Even fewer sherds were found on the possible southern and western fringes of the medieval town (POT/12/24, POT/12/21 and POT/12/13), suggesting that at this time these areas were predominantly utilised for agriculture. It seems likely that settlement in Potton in the medieval period was focussed on at least two separate sites. One of these was evidently around the market place, presumably related to the Potton Regis holding whose Latimer lord held the rights to the market in the 13th century. Another settlement focus is indicated near the church, possibly related to the Potton Rectory holding which is documented from the 11th century. The location of any settlement which might have been associated with the intriguingly named Potton Much Manured holding is not certain, but it would be interesting to see if this could be identified by archaeological field-walking. The area around Home Farm in the south of the present town produced a small number of high and late medieval sherds from test pits in 2012 which may indicate settlement of some sort associated with one of the other manors, while test pit excavations in the south-west of the present town (west of the industrial estate north of Station Road) produced a small number of late medieval sherds which may indicate intensive manuring or possibly settlement in the general area, although probably not in the immediate vicinity.