An Evaluation of Archaeological Potential at the Old Eastern Electricity Depot, Ely

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Regan, Roderick 

Three trenches were excavated by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit on the site of the former Eastern Electricity Depot at the corner of Broad Street and Jubilee Terrace, Ely (TL 5428 7984). Each of the trenches produced slightly differing results reflecting the diverse nature of development in the eastern riverside part of Ely. On the Broad Street frontage the earliest evidence found dated to the 13th century and appeared to relate to fairly peripheral activity. Above this a phase of dumping was interpreted as levelling up with possible evidence of sill beams and floors. Sealing this a 15th century dump level was the base for a substantial building representing a major (re)-development of the frontage. The back of a substantial property fronting onto Broad Street was revealed delineated by substantial walls. Internal divisions and an external yard were clearly visible. Sealing this phase, a further episode of dumping was preparation for a 17th century structure on the same site. Again individual rooms were identifiable. Later activity had removed most of the traces of the later buildings on the plot which are attested to by cartographic and documentary evidence. On the north side of the site (nearest Jubilee Terrace) the earliest material dated to the 13th/14th centuries possibly associated with floor deposits. Successive dumping episodes, with ephemeral structural evidence, span the 14th and 15th centuries. Later this is sealed by a yard associated with a series of postholes and pits, indicting a building dating to the 15th century. From the late 15th/early 16th century this part of the site was garden with a thick loamy deposit more than 1m deep. Again later activity, of which there is evidence from other sources, is poorly represented in the archaeological record. The Victoria Street frontage showed evidence of dumps and rather less substantial structures. A small oven/kiln suggested possible industrial activity associated with a building in the 15th/16th century. A less well developed layer of garden soil suggested a later history of horticulture prior to the construction of the later buildings known to occupy the site.

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