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Willingham 2009

Willingham 2009 Pottery Report

Willingham 2009 Test Pit Location Map

Click here to read about the impact of the project.

A total of twenty-six test pits were excavated in Willingham in 2009 funded, like those at nearby Cottenham, by the University of Cambridge as part of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of its foundation. Roman pottery was found zoned in two distinct areas, one north of the church and the other in the far south of the present village, with no finds of this date in between, hinting at the presence of two separate settlements at this date. A fragment of box flue tile in the south (WIL/09/14) suggested settlement here may have been of some pretension. Two pits, both in the centre of the village, produced several sherds of pottery dating to mid-5th to late 7th century AD near to the known excavated early/middle Anglo-Saxon settlement. Surprisingly little pottery of late Anglo-Saxon date was found, with just one pit immediately south of the church producing (WIL/09/19) a single, albeit very large (52g) sherd of Thetford ware. No other material dating to the period between c. 850 and 1050 AD was recovered from any of the excavated pits. It seems unlikely, on current evidence, that there was a nucleated settlement of any size here at this date. In contrast, thirteen pits produced material dating to the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, including nearly all of those to the east of the present main north-south road through the village, suggesting that this period saw a major expansion in settlement in this part of Willingham, and probably the appearance of a nucleated settlement. Most of the pits which produce high medieval pottery also produced material of post-fourteenth century medieval date, tentatively indicating that the village did not experience any severe contraction in the later medieval period.