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Floodplain Investigations: Barleycroft Farm, Cambridgeshire 1995

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Evans, Christopher 
Gibson, David 


In late August and September 1995 a month-long field evaluation was undertaken on a 60.8ha site along the western floodplain of the River Great Ouse immediately east of the village of Needingworth (TL3510-3620/7140- 7220). Part of a campaign of long-term investigation on ARC quarries along the lower reaches of the Ouse at its junction with the fen, this programme was a direct continuation of fieldwork in fields immediately to the north. Relating to a major extension of the Barleycroft Farm quarry, the 1180m long site runs as a 350-700m wide strip down to the riverside. From the outset, the methodology employed has been designed in the knowledge that eventually work will commence on the larger Willingham/Over site, located immediately opposite on the east bank of the river. Apart from its obvious environmental impact, the status of the river as a social/cognitive divide provides a major research directive. Much of the evidence of early land-use revealed within this programme relates to the 'archaeology of activities', and the results are relatively diffuse with little sense of focus. Although traces were found of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Roman usage, apart from the latter there are few readily delineated 'sites' and it becomes problematic to distinguish ubiquitous landscape activity from settlement per se - a difficult issue to resolve within a framework of large-scale landscape evaluation.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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