May 2010 HEFA
June 2010 HEFA
Sixteen test pits were excavated in Carleton Rode in 2009, bringing the total to fifty. These extended the HEFA excavations far out into the landscape, with new areas under investigation for the first time including Hargate, c. 1km south of the church, Upgate Street, nearly 2km west of the church and several farms along Rode Lane and The Turnpike, respectively c.1 and 2kms south-west of the church.
As in previous years, virtually no pottery of Roman date was found (just a single sherd, 3g in weight, from CRO/10/3 at Hargate). The first evidence for any activity of early/middle Anglo-Saxon date was, however, found, from CRO/10/6, just south of the cross-roads in Flaxlands. It is interesting to note that this is one part of the landscape which has consistently produced material of later Anglo-Saxon date, so the 2010 find may hint at an earlier precursor for settlement on this site. Continuous occupation is not presently evidenced, as there is a gap of at least 150 years in the pottery sequence, although of course any argument based on negative evidence from test pit excavations must be regarded with extreme caution.
The 2010 test pits also produced clear evidence for the origins of Upgate Street in the high medieval period, where both pits produced several sherds of pottery. All three pits at Hargate also produced medieval pottery, although with only one or two sherds from each pit, it is difficult to be certain whether this relates to settlement or some less intensive use of the landscape. Both Upgate and Hargate seem to have been less badly affected by late medieval shrinkage than the main area of late Anglo-Saxon and high medieval settlements at Flaxlands which, as noted before saw a considerable reduction in activity as represented by pottery finds.