34-38 Newnham Road, Cambridge. An Archaeological Evaluation
An archaeological investigation was conducted at 34 and 36a Newnham Road (properties of Clare College) from 4th to 11th January 2006. Two archaeological test pits were excavated within the yard area to the rear of the building, whilst two previously dug engineering test pits were examined and recorded within its interior. Archaeological features, perhaps different parts of the same large pit were identified within each of the two test pits in the yard; one of these proved to be more than 2.5 m deep and contained layers of dumped sand, lime/clunch, burnt sedge and other organic material suggesting use as a refuse or cess pit. These deposits contained pottery dating from the 14th to the 16th century associated with layers of waterlogged silt and preserved organics consisting of straw, moss, bone, oyster and mussel shell. Within the pit were found large amounts of burnt sedge fuel and charred cereal threshing waste – the latter perhaps the discarded contents of medieval bread ovens. The infilling of this feature from the north-east suggests that occupation refuse was then coming from an area of settlement around the current Malting Lane and Newnham House – formerly the location of Mortimer Manor and associated medieval tenancies. Beneath the foundations of the currently standing 19th century buildings, two engineering test pits revealed the brick footings for what were probably once 17th century dwellings.