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Thorney 2010

Thorney 2010 Pottery Report

Thorney 2010 Test Pit Location Map

Eleven test pits were dug by HEFA in Thorney in 2010, adding to the twenty-two excavated up to 2008 and bringing the total to thirty-three. As well as filling in gaps in previous coverage, four new sites were excavated for the first time, each with two test pits, at Abbey House (immediately west of the abbey church); Park House (300m east of the abbey church); Thorneycroft House (just beyond the southern margin of the present village) and at Toneham House (c. 1.5km south of the village of Thorney).

As in previous years, no material predating the late Anglo-Saxon period was found from any of the excavated test pits. Test pit THO/10/11 in the area between Church Street and Whittlesey Road produced a single sherd of Stamford Ware, and although this was small (2g) it is notable that all the test pits excavated in this area have produced last Anglo-Saxon pottery, supporting the inference that this was the site of a settlement associated with Thorney Abbey, probably a small extra-mural village, possibly planned, outside the abbey precinct but near its gate. Both pits dug in the garden of Abbey House produced late Anglo-Saxon pottery, suggesting that activity at this date extended west of the present north-south road past the church. It is unclear whether this area lay within the Anglo-Saxon abbey precinct or beyond it. Test pit THO/10/6 in the garden around Abbey House also produced a small sherd of Stamford Ware, from an area which almost certainly did lie within the abbey precinct (this find adds a small amount of weight to that suggestion).

The two pits at Thorneycroft between them produced only a single small sherd of high medieval pottery, suggesting that this area may have been arable fields rather than settlement at this date. The pits at Toneham together produced seven sherds of pottery dating to 1150-1400 (Lyveden/Stanion 'A' Ware and Bourne 'A' Ware), suggesting that activity in this area intensified in this period, most likely in the thirteenth century. It is plausible to suggest that this activity did represent settlement: although the volume of pottery is a little low to be entirely confident in this interpretation, digging in very dry conditions meant that nether pit reached natural, therefore the seven sherds may not represent the totality of material from these pits which might have been recovered had they gone deeper. Pit THO/10/1, in particular, produced five sherds from the lowest excavated levels with no evidence of recent disturbance. As in earlier years, nearly all excavated sites, including all the new sites, produced later medieval (post-fourteenth century) pottery in significant volumes, most yielding more material of this date that of high medieval date, supporting the inference made previously that Thorney was thriving in the later medieval period. This growth appears to have continued at all the excavated sites in the post-medieval, post-Dissolution period.