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Thundersley 2018 Test Pit location map

 Thundersley 2018 Pottery Report


In June 2018 a total of 10 1m2 archaeological test pits were excavated by both AGES-AHA community group and 24 Year 8 and 9 students from Southend High School for Boys. This was preceded in May when AGES-AHA excavated three test pits that was also followed up in both August and October with the excavation of a three further test pits. This brings the total number of pits excavated in Thundersley to 16. The test pitting was part of the Independent Learning Archaeology Field School (ILAFS) programme, 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. 

This first year of test pitting in Thundersley has yielded a definite area of Late Bronze Age probable settlement to the immediate south of St Peter's Church, with a total of 20 sherds found from both THU/18/11 and THU/18/16. The recovery of 23 sherds of Romano-British pottery from four test pits in the same area (THU/18/11, THU/18/13, THU/18/15 and THU/18/16) suggest that this area of high ground was utilised for settlement also during the Roman period. An additional two sherds of Roman pot were also excavated from THU/18/1, far to the southeast, but given the distance of these from the area around the church, it is likely that these relate to manuring of the fields. No evidence for any Anglo Saxon activity was recorded, which is perhaps surprising given that a settlement was known here from the Late Saxon at the latest with then only single sherds of both high medieval and later medieval pot found from THU/18/14 and THU/118/1 respectively. The settlement has likely always remained small, with a focus of agriculture, until great areas were built upon from the early 20th century onward.