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Foxearth 2017

Foxearth 2017 Test Pit Location Map

Foxearth 2017 Pottery Report


2017 was the first year of test pit excavations in Foxearth, when in July a total of 8 1m square archaeological test pits were excavated by 31 Year 9 and 10 students from Ormiston Sudbury Academy, Samuel Ward Academy and Thomas Gainsborough School. The test pits 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.

All but one of the test pits were focused within the core of the village; FOX/17/8 was excavated within an outlying farmstead along Huntsman Lane. The earliest pottery was found from this outlying site, as well as from FOX/17/1 next to the church and was Romano-British in date. The village may have developed during the Middle Anglo Saxon period as a single sherd of Ipswich Ware was recorded from the centre of the village (FOX/17/3), but Late Anglo Saxon pottery was found from further north along The Street (FOX/17/7), but does hint that the original focus of the settlement was to the west of the church that expanded further south again through the high medieval period after the Norman Conquest, with six test pits producing high medieval pottery. The various socio and economic factors of the 14th century, including the Black Death, likely had an impact on Foxearth, as only three of the eight test pits excavated yielded pottery of a later medieval date (FOX/17/1, FOX/17/3 and FOX/17/7) and shows that there may have been a contraction of the settlement at that time. The village was able to recover during the post medieval and showed signs of expansion again with the current layout of the village visible from at least the 19th century, even though the settlement has likely always remained a small rural village.