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Writtle 2012

Writtle 2012 Pottery Report

Writtle 2012 Test Pit Location Map

Thirteen test pits were excavated in Writtle in 2012, bringing the total to thirty-six. Excavation in 2012 targeted sites in the west of the present village and the area around Oxney Green, where no test pit excavation had previously been carried out.   

Two pits, WRI/12/07 and WRI/12/08, sited close together near Bulimers Farm both produced pottery of Roman date, suggesting that settlement of some sort is likely to have been present nearby. No pottery of Anglo-Saxon date was found in any of the 2012 test pits, suggesting it is unlikely that this area was used for settlement at this time. It thus remains the case that just two of the thirty-six pits excavated in Writtle to date have together produced just three sherds of pottery of this date, all dating to the later Anglo-Saxon period.

Only two pits excavated in 2012 produced pottery of high medieval date, and in each case only a single sherd was recovered. Although the sherd from WRI/12/07 was large (20g), these finds are nonetheless more likely to indicate that this area was used for arable fields which were being manured in the high medieval period, rather than for settlement. Neither of these sites produced any late medieval pottery, possibly indicating that manuring was no longer being carried out after the 14th century, but interestingly one site, WRI/12/12, in the ground of Longmeads house (dating to the 1880s), which produced no earlier material yielded five sherds of late medieval pottery, from an apparently undisturbed deposit 30cm below the surface. This is enough to suggest the presence of settlement of some sort in the immediate vicinity, perhaps a newly established farm or cottage, as undisturbed natural was encountered immediately below the late medieval deposit. 

Six of the thirteen pits excavated in 2012 produced post-medieval pottery, suggesting that this was the period when settlement developed around Oxney Green. These pits (WRI/12/5, WRI/12/7, WRI/12/8, WRI/12/9 and WRI/12/12) are not particularly tightly clustered around the present green, with others closer to it not producing pottery of this date, suggesting that if the post-medieval settlement was arranged along the margins of the green, as might be expected, the medieval green may then have been larger than is the case today.