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2013 & 2015

Bramford Historical Society invited the A Level Archaeology Group at SuffolkOne Sixth Form College to continue the Test Pit excavations started by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in 2012.  

For consistency, SuffolkOne students used the same methodology and recording system as used by ACA.  Small groups of up to four students were allocated to each test pit.  Each group was a mix of Year 12 and Year 13 students with a Year 13 student responsible for the organisation of the excavation and recording of findings at their property. In the field, the only difference with the ACA methodology was that excavations took place over three days rather than two in October 2013 and again in April 2015.  It was felt that an extra day provided the opportunity to excavate to slightly deeper levels to reach earlier, secure contexts and allow time for the proper restoration of the home owner’s garden.

Local home owners were asked to volunteer their gardens for a test pit excavation.  These were then inspected prior to the excavation to ensure appropriate access and facilities would be available and to check for any possible underground cabling/pipes etc. 

Excavations took place from 20-21 March 2013 (sites 1-5), 8-10 October 2013 (sites 6-10), 14th -16th April 2015 (sites 11-15).  15 test pits in total were excavated at a number of locations both in the centre of the village around Vicarage Lane/The Street and to the north along the B1037.

Each test pit was dug in 10cm spits.  With pottery (and other finds) recorded per spit.  Hence Context 1, represents ground level to a depth of 10cm, Context 2 from 10 cm to 20cm and so on.  Few artefacts were recorded in the first 10cms as this was often taken off in small square grass sods which were used to top off the test pit when it was backfilled at the end of the excavation.  The top thirty cms of each test pit usually comprised of dark top soil and artefacts found in these contexts cannot be said to be found in a ‘secure’ context.  The deeper the context the more likely the context is to represent a secure, that is, undisturbed context. 

The pottery was examined and dated by John Newman who has worked with ACA and is familiar with their methodology.  

The 2012 ACA report highlighted the incidence of small amounts of Thetfordware at the southern end of The Street and in Vicarage Lane which ‘hinted’ at a nearby settlement.  This interpretation is supported by further finds of Thetfordware along Vicarage Lane (Test Pits 4, 7 and 9) and in The Street (Test Pit 3).  Possible earlier occupation dating to late 8th/9th Century in this area is implied by the occurrence of Ipswichware (Test Pit 8).

Small amounts of medieval pottery off Vicarage Lane were also noted in the 2012 report suggesting a settlement dating to this period at this location.  This interpretation is further supported by the incidence of medieval pottery at sites along Vicarage Lane and The Street. Street Farm Cottage (Test Pit 9) had the greatest date range of pottery from the Late Saxon period through to the 15th Century.  There is a break in date in the 16th and 17th Century, followed by the usual ceramics dating to the 18th and 19th Centuries. 

Claire Halley


Write up of the 2013 and 2015 Excavations