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Archaeological Investigations at Lordship Lane Cottenham, Cambridgeshire 1994



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Butler, Robert 


A second stage archaeological evaluation of a 3.2 hectare area was undertaken on the northern/northwestern periphery of Cottenham village by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit in April 1994, on behalf of Mr V Donnelly, and in accordance with a brief set by he Archaeological Office of Cambridgeshire County Council. The evaluation was designed with two objectives. The first was to determine the extent of a mid-late Saxon and Medieval site located immediately to the eat of west of Lordship Lane revealed in the 1993 assessment. The second objective was to assess the date, origin, and nature of relict earthworks in the pasture field to the south/southeast of the Moated site, and to ascertain whether other archaeological remains were present in the area. The 1994 assessment included an extensive geophysical survey, followed by a sequential sampling programme of the area by test pits, test stations and trial trenches (which complemented that conducted in the 1993 assessment). The sampling programme extended across the pasture field located to the south of Crowland’s Moat (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) where an earthwork survey was conducted in 1993. The geophysics survey, test stations, and trial trenches established the extent of the Saxon period site in the Crowlands/Lordship Lane area. The presence of a superimposed Medieval phase of rectilinear fields was confirmed. To the north side of this site, a northeast-southeast Saxo-Norman droveway was revealed possibly representing a reorganization of the landscape, created by the Norman Bishops of Ely during the late 11th-12th century. The nature of the Saxo-Norman presence can not be determined on the basis of the investigation, however, the extent of archaeological features appears to be confined within the Crowlands Lane area evident from the 1993 assessment. The 1994 assessment indicated that Lordship Lane was probably used from the Medieval period onwards as a thoroughfare leading to infield/outfield systems to the north. In the pasture field south of the Crowlands Moat site, two northwest-southeast 14th century ditches forming a trackway were identified which possibly provided access to the moat and/or field systems in the area. A gradual northeast linear expansion may be implied along the higher Greensand ride culminating in the layout of field boundaries and thoroughfares during the 14th century. This pattern is reflected in the present boundary divisions, which are evident on the enclosure maps and parish maps. C.1842. The assessment generally confirmed that the whole of the area witnessed extensive activity during the Post-medieval period. The evaluation of the area south of the Moated site revealed a developed garden soil, a cobbled backlane, yards and ditches forming the backs of properties fronting on to the High Street. During the 18th-19th century, the area was probably landscaped with the construction of ponds, reverting to a mixed economy of pasture, arable and horticulture in modern times. No evidence was found to indicate a prehistoric phase of occupation. The continuing presence of prehistoric pottery and flints is consistent with the use of the area for agriculture and pasture, with artefacts being deposited through normal manuring practices.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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