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Althorne 2018 Test Pit Location Map

Althorne 2018 Pottery Report


2018 was the first year of test pitting undertaken in Althorne and on the 25th and 26th of April a total of 26 Year 9 students from William de Ferrers School and The Plume School excavated a total of 7 1m2 archaeological test pits. These were sited along Summerhill Burnham Road and Fambridge Road in both private gardens and more open paddocks and fields and were dug as as part of the Independent Learning Archaeology Field School (ILAFS) programme, formally known as the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA), undertaken by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in East Anglia and beyond, 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.

One test pit (ALT/18/6) yielded a single large sherd of Late Bronze Age pottery and all the test pits apart from ALT/18/4 found either worked flints or burnt stone or both. The high ground that Althorne sits on would have provided commanding views over both the River Crouch to the south and the River Blackwater to the north and is also likely the reason that settlement was also recorded here during the Roman period, as well as because of the fertile agricultural land. Three test pits produced four sherds of Romano-British pottery (ALT/18/1, ALT/18/6 and ALT/18/7) that showed a definite concentration of Roman activity in the western half of the parish, although these finds likely derive from agricultural activities. No evidence for Anglo Saxon activity was noted through the test pitting and only three small sherds of high medieval pot were found from ALT/18/3, ALT/18/4 and ALT/18/7 with later medieval and one test pit yielding three sherds of post medieval wares (ALT/18/6). The evidence from the test pitting suggests that Althorne has been a largely agricultural area that was probably sparsely settled, which only increased during the later 19th century with the coming of the railway.