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Long Melford 2013

Long Melford 2013 Pottery Report

Long Melford 2013 Test Pit Location Map


Ten test pits were excavated in Long Melford by HEFA students in 2013, adding to those completed in 2011 as part of the BBC television series Great British Story,  bringing the total to forty-seven. With the exception of LME/13/10, excavated by local residents on the edge of the football pitch, all the 2013 pits were sited in the northern part of the present village, an area less-intensively explored in 2011. 

A small (2g) sherd of Bronze Age pottery was found in LME/13/01, hinting at activity of some sort in this area beyond the margins of the present settlement. Otherwise the earliest material found dated to the Roman period. A single small sherd in LME/13/02 is unlikely to indicate settlement in the vicinity, but more than 80 sherds were found in LME/13/10, associated with a cobbled surface and possible post holes, clearly indicating a structure and intensive activity presumed to relate to settlement on this site. This is in the same central part of the present village of Long Melford which produced large amounts of Romano-British material in 2011.

Given the paucity of Anglo-Saxon material found in the 2011 pits, the most notable discovery in 2013 was a total of eleven sherds of Thetford Ware from LME/13/07, which was all the more striking for being found in association with a post-hole, providing convincing evidence for settlement on the edge of the area now forming part of the large green south of the parish church. As this is more than 1km north of three sites which produced smaller amounts of the same material in 2011, it seems clear that the very long present village overlies two quite separate nodes of late Anglo-Saxon settlement. The site on the green does not however appear to have continued in use into the post-Conquest era, as the only later pottery found were two tiny sherds (together totalling 3g) of 19th - 20th century date. In general, evidence for high medieval activity was sparse in the pits excavated in 2013, as pits LME/13/03 and LME/13/06 were the only ones to produce any material of this date, each producing just a single sherd of 12th - 14th century date. Both pits also produced single sherd of late medieval pottery, perhaps suggesting that whatever low level of high medieval activity is indicated did not decline significantly in the 14th - 16th centuries. Very little post-medieval material was found either, reflecting the siting of many of the 2013 pits on the margins of the existing settlement.