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Manuden 2013

Manuden 2013 Pottery Report

Manuden 2013 Test Pit Location Map


A further 11 test pits were excavated in Manuden in 2013, adding to those previously dug in 2011 and bringing the total to 18. While investigation previously focussed on the centre of the small hamlet near the church, in 2013 this broadened out across the landscape which is today one of dispersed farmsteads and small greens including Parsonage Farm (MAN/13/06), Uppend (MAN/13/07), Mallow’s Green/Saucemeres (MAN/13/8) and Battles Hall, all of which are the sites of farms marked in the 19th century on the 6” to 1 mile Ordnance Survey map. Saucemeres is associated with a surname recorded in 1248 and Mallows Green named in 1777. The excavations showed one pit (MAN/13/03) to contain a sherd of Iron Age pottery, but as in 2011, no material of Roman date was found in any of the pits. In contrast with 2011, however, three pits produced pottery of Anglo-Saxon date, the first material of this date to be found in Manuden. A single sherd of early Anglo-Saxon handmade pottery (c. 450-700AD) in MAN/13/11 (near the present parish church) is a very unusual find from test pitting in eastern England, where fewer than 2% of pits produce even a single sherd of this date. Thus although small, this sherd can be used to infer, albeit tentatively, the likelihood of settlement in the vicinity at this time. Three pits produced late Anglo-Saxon pottery, with MAN/13/03 and MAN/13/11 producing 10 sherds, easily enough to infer the presence of settlement in the vicinity. MAN/13/02 produced just a single sherd, which may indicate that this settlement did not extend too far north of MAN/13/03. All three pits of these pits were near the present parish church, and indicate that there was a settlement of some sort, perhaps a small hamlet, present here in the late Anglo-Saxon period, probably clustered around a church on or close to the present building.

The late Anglo-Saxon settlement around the church does not seem to have expanded to any great extent in the high medieval period, with just three pits in this area in 2013 producing a total of just 15 sherds. There is some evidence to suggest that activity may have intensified in the wider landscape, with Parsonage Farm and Uppend both producing pottery of this date for the first time, but both cases only in small quantities. Three sherds from Parsonage Farm may be just enough to reasonably infer settlement in the vicinity, but the single sherd from Uppend would usually be regarded as more likely to derive from manuring of arable fields. None of the outlying sites produced any material of late medieval date, with the number of sherds found in pits around the church also lower than previously. Parsonage Farm, Uppend and Saucemeres all produced pottery of post-medieval date, but in small numbers with Uppend the only site to produce more than five sherds of this date. Many of this pits around the church produced post-medieval pottery, with MAN/13/5 and MAN/13/11 both producing a dozen or so sherds, overall suggesting that settlement here was intensifying while settlement in the wider landscape was also expanding.