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Clare College Graduate Accommodation Site, Newnham Road, Cambridge. An Archaeological evaluation.

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Timberlake, Simon 


An archaeological trench evaluation was conducted within the car park to the rear of nos.40-52 Newnham Road (properties of Clare College) between 21st-22nd May and 27th-28th September 2012. Four archaeological trenches totalling 25.5m were excavated on two sides of the car park to reveal a deep sequence of 19th - early 20th century garden soil beneath the modern topsoil, overlying rubble and gravel standing. Several 'modern' bottle and pottery dumps had been dug through these garden soils, whilst from the lower sub-soil boundary at around 1-1.2m depth within Trenches 1-3 some Medieval (14th-15th century) coarseware sherds were recovered. Beneath this a number of amorphous-looking soil-filled 'pit-like' features had been cut through the sub-soil into the top of the underlying sandy gravel; the latter containing small amounts of locally-made 14th/ 15th or 15th-century pottery alongside some degraded clay daub, charcoal, burnt flint and small amounts of animal bone. It could not be determined within the small area exposed whether or not these had been dug as rubbish pits, shallow quarries, or were simply artefact-filled Medieval tree-throws. Subsequently, at the rear of the property, from a depth of c.1.4m, Trench 4 revealed a slightly better preserved artefact-filled Medieval soil and a 15th-century curvilinear ditch fragment, the latter cutting through what appeared to be a slightly earlier quarried surface. However, there was no evidence for a property boundary ditch within the area examined. As in the case of the neighbouring properties nos. 34-38 Newnham Road whose backyard plots were examined in 2006, the patchily preserved archaeological evidence suggests a continuation of the occupation or area of activity linked to the 14th-15th century Medieval settlement centred on Malting Lane and Newnham House (formerly the location of Mortimer Manor) and its associated Medieval tenancies.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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