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Ash Court, Girton College, Cambridge. An Archaeological Excavation.


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Authors

Newman, Richard 
Ferraby, Rose 
Hutton, Jacqui 
Slater, Adam 

Abstract

Three phases of archaeological investigation were undertaken at Ash Court, Girton College, Cambridge, between the 21st of February and the 11th of March 2011. In the first instance, a geophysical survey of the area was undertaken. Subsequently, the excavation of a series of five geotechnical test pits was monitored before, thirdly, four evaluation trenches were inserted at the site. The earliest features to be encountered during these works consisted of a series of tree-boles/tree-throws that showed no signs of anthropogenic involvement in their creation. These had been overlain by a horizon of well-worked horticultural soil. As this latter deposit showed no evidence of bioturbation, it appears likely that the area was cleared prior to the commencement of agricultural activity. Overlying the horticultural soil was a compacted spread of ash and charcoal that was deposited in the late 19th century, during the early years of Girton College. Also dating to this period was a large gravel quarry pit, which appears to have been associated with the initial construction of Old Wing in the early 1870s. Finally, evidence of 20th century landscaping activity - in the form of a rubble spread, and an upcast gravel bank flanking Orchard Drive - was also encountered. These results clearly demonstrate that the large Anglo-Saxon cemetery that was previously identified a little way to the south during the late 19th century does not extend into the proposed development area.

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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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