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Histon and Impington 2017

Histon 2017 Test Pit Location Map

1886 Map of 2017 test pit area in Histon

2017 Test Pit Pottery Report


In March 2017 a total of 14 1m square archaeological test pits were excavated in Histon by 49 Year 9 and Year 10 students from Ely College, Witchford Village College, Cottenham Village College, Soham Village College and Bottisham Village College and one test pit that was dug by members of the Histon and Impington Archaeology Group. These were dug as part of the  Independent Learning Archaeology Field School (ILAFS) programme, formally known as the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) programme undertaken by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in East Anglia, which aims to raise the aspirations, enthusiasm and attainment of 14-17 year-olds with regard to higher education by making a valuable contribution to current academic research at the University of Cambridge, into the development of rural communities and settlements in the past. Over the summer of 2017 the Histon and Impington Archaeology Group excavated a further 10 test pits to take the 2017 total to 24 pits. 

The 2017 test pits followed on from initial community test pitting undertaken by the Histon and Impington Archaeology Group in 2016 where a total of 28 test pits were excavated over a number of two-day digging events through both Histon and Impington. Late Bronze Age pottery had been found in 2016 but the earliest datable pottery from 2017 dated to the Roman period and were found from seven test pits in the west of the village (HIS/17/1, HIS/17/9, HIS/17/11, HIS/17/13, HIS/17/17, HIS/17/19 and HIS/17/24). Evidence for Early Anglo Saxon pottery was also recorded in 2016 but was found to extend west through Histon in 2017 and particularly in the test pits that were sited near to St Andrews Church and the believed site of the second church now within Abbey Farm (HIS/17/19, HIS/17/8, HIS/17/10 and HIS/17/11). The first evidence for Middle Anglo Saxon activity in Histon was recorded from HIS/17/11 at Abbey Farm and suggests that this area continued to be the focus of activity until the Late Saxon period when the settlement expanded greatly, two test pits by the church contained a large amount of Late Saxon pot in 2017 (HIL/17/9 and HIL/17/10), whereas three other sites only yielded a single sherd each (HIS/17/17, HIS/17/19 and HIS/17/20). The settlement continued to expand through the high medieval period with a lot more of the test pits yielding pottery of this date, with a particular dense cluster of activity noted north of Abbey Farm, but Histon does seem to have been affected by the numerous socio-economic factors of the 14th century that led to a contraction of the village during the later medieval. The settlement was slow to pick up again during the post medieval period but continued to grow and develop through the 19th century to the layout and extent of the settlement that can be seen today.