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Sharnbrook 2008

Sharnbrook 2008 Pottery Report

Sharnbrook 2008 Test Pit Location Map

Eleven test pits were excavated in Sharnbrook in 2008, bringing the total to date to sixteen. In 2008 the focus of investigation expanded further north up the High Street and also encompassed other sites including one site near Castle Close, a probable medieval moated site (Beds HER 994) c. 0.5 km west of the church, and two at Manor Farm, c. 300m north-west of the present village.

As in 2007, no Roman material was recovered from any of the test pits and no further pottery of Iron Age date was recovered. Three test pits contained material dating to 850-1100 AD, including Stamford Ware, Thetford ware and St Neots Ware, with pits SHA08/4 and SHA/08/5, sited close together in the north of the High Street, producing five and four sherds respectively, suggesting that this area may be a focus of later Anglo-Saxon activity in Sharnbrook. A sherd of Thetford Ware from SHA/08/1 is tantalising as possible evidence of pre-Conquest activity of some sort at Manor Farm, but this cannot with any confidence be assumed to be evidence of settlement in the vicinity without further investigation. However, eight sherds of pottery dating to 1100-1400 AD found on the same site from a single 10cm spit containing no later material (and therefore presumed likely to be undisturbed)) 70cm below the surface provides convincing evidence for settlement at this date on this spot, whose pottery sequence continues uninterrupted thereafter up to the modern day. Within the village, therefore, current evidence suggest that the settlement expanded north along the High Street in the post eleventh-century period, with the area immediately north of the cross-roads in the centre of the present village appearing to be less intensively used throughout the post medieval period. Unexpectedly little medieval pottery was recovered from the test pit near Castle Close. There is no evidence for any later medieval decline in either the village or at Manor Farm. No pottery at all post-dating 1400 AD was recovered from the Castle Copse test pit. Further test pitting will be carried out in Sharnbrook in 2009.