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Excavation report for the 2004 and 2005 seasons at

Mellor, Stockport

a Heritage
Lottery Fund
Report on rhe 2004 and ZOO5 seasons
oforchaeological excavarions or Adellor.

Contents
Acknowledgements

Non Technical Summary

1. Archaeological Background 1995-2003

2. Community Involvement

3. Physical Setting

4. 2004 Aims, Objectives and Methodology

5. 2004 Excavation Results

6. 2004 Conclusions

7. 2005 Aims, Objectives and Methodology

8. 2005 Excavation Results

9. 2005 Conclusions

10. Appendix 1 - 2004 Radiocarbon Dating Results

11. Appendix 2 - 2005 Radiocarbon Dating Results

12. Appendix 3 - 2005 Plant macrofossil and pollen assessment

13. Appendix 4 - 2005 Pollen analysis

14. Appendix 5 - Geological Report

15. Appendix 6 - 2005 Roman Pottery Assessment

16. Appendix 7 - Sources

Universip ofMonchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2001 and2005 seasom
ofarchaeological exrlnratiom at Mellor.

Non-Technical Summary
The excavations conducted over the past eight years around the Old Vicarage at
Mellor, Stockport (SJ 981 8 8890) have revealed an extensive multi-period settlement.
Previous excavation seasons have identified the site predominantly as an Iron Age
Settlement (GM SMR 11249.1.1). In addition, the recovery of flint fragments dated to
the Mesolithic period suggest the site was used as s seasonal hunter-gatherer camp
while a substantial assemblage of sherds of Roman material, coupled with
comparable radiocarbon dates suggest the presence of a Romano-British settlement.

2004 Excavations

Trench 26 revealed a large area of continuous Iron Age settlement within Area C. It
was the largest single trench opened by the excavations at Mellor. A total of 19
gullies were identified. The presence of these inter-cutting features indicates a
sustained period of occupation upon the immediate area. Although the exact
alignment of the northern extent of the inner enclosure ditch has not been confirmed
by excavation, its absence within Trench 26 suggests that its location lies beneath the
Old Vicarage driveway. This would mean that this particular area of settlement was
located outside the inner enclosure ditch, contrasting with those gullies found within
the confines of the inner enclosure ditch identified within Trenches 16 and 21.

Trench 27 showed that the outer enclosure ditch continues towards the Old Vicarage
drive. It also indicated that the level of the surrounding ground surface appears to
have been reduced. Together with the results of Trench 25 in 2003, it is possible to
show a substantial amount of alteration, landscaping and terracing around the western
end of the Old Vicarage during the post medieval period.

Trenches 28 and 29 confirmed the presence of a significant number of archaeological


features towards the north of Area C. Indicating that the settlement located within
Trench 26 is not the firthest extent of occupational archaeology from the inner
enclosure ditch, both of these trenches were exposed but not excavated.

Trench 30 followed geophysical investigation of Area E in attempt to establish the


parameters of the outer enclosure ditch. Trench 30 positively concluded the presence
of a ditch, m i n g in an east-west direction towards the summit of Mellor hilltop.

Trench 31 located next to Trench 18, confirmed the presence of the inner enclosure
ditch running towards the Old Vicarage driveway and the continuation of the palisade
slot identified within Trench 18 parallel to the ditch.

Trench 32 showed the continuation of the inner enclosure ditch, from Trench 18
towards the church wall and identified the continuation of a stone lined feature
parallel to the ditch.

Trial trench 16, stripped in Area B in 2004 provided an insight into more
archaeological features occurring in between the inner and outer enclosure ditches
expanding the areas of the potential settlement.

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December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasom
ofarchaeological excavations at Mellor.

2005 Excavations

In Area A, Trench 35 revealed four large post pits associated with the one found in
the Trench 1 extension during the 2001 season. They were in a north south
alignment, c. 11.80m long and each separated by a distance of c.2.65m. Each pit was
cut into the natural bedrock and c. l m wide, c.0.40m deep, containing a c.0.40m wide
post pipe. Provisionally these represent post pits, which together with three identified
within Trench 33 and two located in Trench 34. The recovery of an arrowhead -
dated to the 13-14th centuries, identification of 11" to 15" century pottery fragments
and a radiocarbon date of 1000-1250 cal AD (Beta209508, 2 sigmas), all contained
within the post pits, would suggest a provisional dating of the structure to the
medieval period. However the true form of the building in terms of extent and shape
is as present unknown due to the current limits of excavation. Investigation within
Trench 33 also confirmed the presence of the large inner enclosure ditch and
associated palisade slot expected to continue between Trenches 1 and 2.

During 2005 Trench 36, was positioned adjacent to the previous years Trench 26.
Identifying the continuation and extent of the curvi-linear roundhouse drip gullies
partially exposed in 2004 one of which produced a radio-carbon date of 190 cal BC -
10 cal AD (Beta 202315, 2 sigmas). The combined evidence for the two trenches
suggests that the curving gullies were on average a diameter of c. lOm, and had
similar inter-cutting tendencies demonstrating that there was a substantial period of
occupation and rebuild in the immediate area. Within this trench numerous inter-
cutting pits were identified comparable to and in a similar alignment to those found
within 2004. These are provisionally interpreted as Iron Age cooking pits,
established through the recovery of significant quantities of fire cracked sub rounded
and rounded inclusions from the pit deposits. The fill of a small circular pit 1 posthole
located within the confines of the numerous roundhouse gullies contained possible
evidence of industrial waste, along with environmental evidence relating to a
~-~ ~

.
domestic nature and oroduced a radiocarbon date of 190-40 cal BC (Beta 2095 10. 2
sigmas). Suggesting the possibility of Iron Age industrial processes present on the site
and occurring within the roundhouses or their immediate surroundings. Two parallel
lines of stake holes running up to the roundhouse gullies provides evidence for a
possible fenced off animal enclosure.

The extent of the inner enclosure ditch has now been proven to continue through Area
A, without the interruption of an entrance way, and has been tracked to the fiuthest
point accessible for archaeological investigation through the excavation of Trench 37.
Both trenches over the two inner enclosure ditch show the presence of an associated
palisade, with a possible post hole alignment overlapping, creating a small entrance to
the ditch located to the far west of the site.

Continuing a programme of geophysical survey and subsequent trial trenching


excavation during 2005 in areas D and E, further investigation concludes the
continuation of the outer enclosure ditch alignment. Trenches 38 and 39 were placed
across the suspected geophysical anomaly and revealed ditch sections showing this
feature continues to the eastenunost extent of Area E. In Area D it seems likely that
outer enclosure ditch runs the entire distance between the 'Ale house' track way in
the.west, and Mellor Old Hall in the east. Excavation of Trenches 40 and 41 during
October 2005 identified these two features as terminal ditch sections of the outer

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December 2005.
enclowule ditch. This tmtrmmway is the first identified as part of the enclosure
dirhs. S u g p t b g a sigdfbnt area, if not all of the hilltop, was as some point
enclosed,c m q m m h g a suspected a m of 23 hectares.

Flgore 1: Plan of Mellar hilltop indicating the a m s COWby the various -nt
types of geophysics and the d t s . Ihe red c o l d lines qmscnt coverage by
around l%mmhg Radar (GPR).
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
o/archaeological excavations at MeNor.

1. Archaeolo~icalBackground: 1995-2003

Ann Hearle, Chair of Marple Local History Society and Dr Peter Arrowsmith of the
University of Manchester Archaeological Unit (UMAU) first suggested the presence
of an Iron Age Hill fort at Mellor in 1998. The suggestion was based on a photograph
taken by Ann Hearle of the field to the north of her house at the Old Vicarage during
the summer of 1995. The majority of the grass in the field had been bleached brown
by the sun. However the photograph showed a line of lush grass arcing across the
field. It was felt that the line might be following that of a filled in ditch. The less
compact nature of the in fill of the ditch would retain water and so better sustain the
grass above it in times of drought.

The next step was a geophysical survey which confirmed the presence of a below
ground anomaly corresponding to the line of grass in the field (Area B) and others in
the garden of the Old Vicarage itself (Area A). Excavation started in the summer of
1998. Trench 1 was excavated over one of the anomalies at the west end of the
garden. This revealed a large ditch cut into the sandstone bedrock. This section of
ditch was over 4m wide and 2.10m deep. The top fills of this contained fragment of
Roman tile, pottery and glass. Lower down the fills contained pottery and other
artefacts dating from the Iron Age. The high charcoal content of one of these fills near
the base of the ditch meant that a sample could be taken for radiocarbon analysis.
This produced a date of cal830 - 190 cal BC (Beta 146416,2 sigmas).

During November 2002 Trench 25 was excavated though part of the vegetable patch
adjacent to the ditch in Trench 1. This 12m long trench showed that the current flat
ground surface is a result of deliberate levelling of the natural slope of the hill in post
medieval times. The implications of this are that the ditch found in Trench 1 would
have been situated upon the break of a steep slope and would have been highly
effective defensively, and a far more visible and imposing feature within the ancient
landscape.

In 2002 and 2003, Trench 18 was excavated over an anomaly at the opposite end of
Area A. This revealed a section of ditch very similar to that found in Trench I . This
section of ditch ran north to south and measured just over 4.0m wide and 1.90m deep.
Within the ditch an abundance of artefacts were recovered dating from the 1'' to the
4" century AD. These included 5 bronze Roman brooches, 221 sherds of Romano-
British Pottery and fragments of quem stones. Most of these finds came from the
upper fills and in some cases pottery from several different centuries was recovered
from the same layer. Suggesting that the ditch was used as a dumping ground when
the Roman occupation of the site ended in the 41h Century AD. It seems likely that
the sections in Trench 1 and Trench 18 are part of the same ditch. This interpretation
means that in the Iron Age the area of the Old Vicarage and Saint Thomas' church
was surrounded by an imposing defensive inner enclosure ditch.

Immediately to the west of the ditch (c.2.33m) and contained within the same trench,
a small stone filled slot was identified running parallel to the ditch. It was thought that
this might be the foundation for a palisade running inside the ditch; however, this was

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December 2005.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasom
of archaeological excavations at MeNor.

too short a length exposed to be certain of this interpretation. No evidence for an


associated rampart was identified throughout the excavations.

Two trial trenches were excavated on the other side of the Old Vicarage drive,
immediately opposite Trench 18, in Area C. These were intended to look for the ditch
found in Trench 18 continuing into this area. The evidence for the ditch was unclear
but one of the trial trenches suggested the presence of a curving gully perhaps
associated with a roundhouse.

Trenches have also been excavated over an anomaly in Area B to the north of the Old
Vicarage. These have revealed a c.400m stretch of an Iron Age ditch running
southwest to northeast. The ditch in this field is around 2m wide and about 1.70m
deep and probably represents an Iron Age enclosure ditch defining the limits of the
settlement at Mellor. The 2001 open area excavation exposed a 13m length of ditch
which produced 125 sherds of hand made pottery belonging to the same Iron Age pot.
These have now been conserved and the pot reconstructed.

Excavation has so far concentrated on defining the extent of this ditch to the north
and west of the Old Vicarage. In November 2002 a geophysical survey using a
magnetometer was carried out in Area D to look for an eastern arm of the ditch. On
the basis of the survey results two trial trenches were excavated which failed to find
any evidence for the ditch. Further geophysical analysis in the run up to the 2003
season led to the excavation of two trenches and eleven trial trenches designed to
determine the line of this enclosure ditch beyond Area B. Results seem to show that
this enclosure ditch does not turn back towards the church but carries straight on
towards Mellor Old Hall. This implies that the ditch encloses an area of land far
greater than previously anticipated and dramatically increases the potential size of the
Iron Age settlement.

Palaeoenvironmental analysis of the archaeological fills within the enclosure ditch


indicated the presence of mixed deciduous woodland, a nearby open body of water
and an associated wet meadow, contemporary with when the ditch was open. The
recovery of cereal-type pollens indicates the presence of a mixed farming economy.

The evidence from the trenches now seems to point to there being two ditches at
Mellor. One is a large inner enclosure ditch which probably surrounded a relatively
small area of the hilltop which is currently occupied by the grounds of the Old
Vicarage and Saint Thomas's churchyard. The second is smaller but far more
extensive outer enclosure ditch that may well extend over the greater part of the
hilltop.

The area enclosed by the ditches has also been examined. In 1999 Trench 3 was
opened up in the centre of Area A. In the eastern half of this trench the sandstone
bedrock was covered by a layer of boulder clay. Cut into this layer was a complex
pattern of postholes, ditches and gullies ranging in date from the Mesolithic period 5
to 10,000 years ago through to the Roman period. In 2002 a 10m square, Trench 16
was opened adjacent to Trench 3. Amongst the features found in Trench 16, were a
series of gullies, which formed an arc within the west half of the trench. The results
from this trench allowed a fuller interpretation of the features fiom Trench 3 to be
made. This suggested that the curving gullies continued beyond the boundaries of

Universily ofManrhester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excauarions at Mellor.

Trench 16 to form a complete circle typical of the drainage gullies found outside Iron
Age roundhouses. Radiocarbon dates from charcoal within the fill of these gullies
produced a date of between 380 - 520 cal BC (Beta-173892, 2 sigmas) Finds from
Trench 16 included a polished flint chisel of a style associated with the Late Neolithic
Period. C2-3,000 BC.

The excavation of Trenches 21 and 23 in 2003 confirmed the presence of an lron Age
roundhouse. Combining the results from several years of excavation produces a
circular drainage gully for a roundhouse with a diameter of approximately 13 metres.
A linear feature was found cutting the roundhouse gully and radio-carbon dated to
520-380 cal BC (Beta-173893). Indicating a changing use and occupation within the
immediate area over a prolonged period of time. Not an No Iron Age finds were
recovered from the sections of the gully excavated in 2003, however from the gully
and the area immediately to the north, 97 flint flakes were recovered. Specialist
analysis shows these to be characteristic of the Mesolithic Period and indicative of
hunter-gatherer communities using the hilltop at Mellor as one of their seasonal bases
over 10,000 years ago. It is likely that these were re-deposited from elsewhere, within
the surrounding area.

As a continued part of the excavation of the hilltop the Mellor Archaeological Trust
commissions each year a programme of geophysical survey. The results of the survey
can provide valuable information which can be used when deciding where hture
excavation trenches should be placed (see figure 1).

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December 2005.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasom
ofarchaeological excavations at Mellor.

companies involved in archaeology including English Heritage, Tarmac Group, The


lnstitute of Field Archaeologists and Transco. There are 15 categories of awards
covering all aspects of archaeology and heritage which attract hundreds of entries
from all over the country. The entrants in each category are assessed by judges and a
short list of finalists in each category is announced. Mellor entered in two categories
- The Channel 4 Award for non broadcast video and The Pin Rivers Award for best
amateur project and reached the final in both categories. That year the awards
ceremony was held at the University of Belfast, as well as the 100 or so finalists it
was attended by its President Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and many representatives
from television archaeology.

Although Mellor did not win the awards it entered for to come runner up in both
categories is an achievement that everyone involved with the excavation can take a
great deal of pride in.

The Mellor archaeological project is also publicised through numerous lectures and
talks given by members of the Trust, UMAU and GMAU. In 2003 Mellor
Archaeological Trust organised a Study Day on the Iron Age and Romano-British
period in the region. This was held in the Parish Centre and attended by some of the
leading archaeologists and specialists in the field. In 2005 the Mellor Archaeological
Trust, UMAU and GMAU collectively published the inaugural Manchester
Archaeological Monograph Volume containing the research papers given at this event
titled : "Mellor: Living on the Edge, A Regional Study of an Iron Age and Romano-
British Upland Settlement." In 2004 the Parish Centre was used to hold the Council
for British Archaeology's regional annual conference which was hosted by the Mellor
Archaeology Trust.

The excavation is a key part of UMAU's commitment to community archaeology in


Greater Manchester. In 2003 and 2004 this included working with Access Heritage
and Stockport Parks on excavations on Strines Farmhouse at Brinnington in Reddish
Vale. Each year the excavation allowed over 200 local school pupils to participate in
an archaeological dig during the week. On the Saturday a 'Drop In' day attracted over
40 volunteers.

Mellor Archaeological Trust and UMAU are working closely with Stockport Museum
Services. The finds recovered from the excavation are being analysed and where
appropriate professionally conserved. They will be stored at Stockport museum with
many of them forming part of the 'Stockport Story' display, which will open to the
public in 2006

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December 2005.
3. The Phygic& Setting

The site is cenrned anoUna Nadonal Grid Reference SJ 9818 8890. It lies in the parish
of Mellor, appmxhmdy Sla m i h south east of the centre of Stockport (see figure 4).
Sheet 98 of the aeoioglcal Survey of Great Britain shows the solid geology to be
Westphalian A Sadstom from the Late Carboniferous Period. In places this is
overlaid by boulder clay.

?he site lies at the weat end of a promontory of land c.220m AOD. The promontory
slopes quite sharply to the south. west and noah. To the east the promontory gently
rises over a distance of 900x11to an unnamed summit at 278m AOD.

~4:Theldcmof parmioeianofOrdnanceSweyoa
behalf of HMSO. Chw
Iicence number 1003276S.
m- - s m
Rcporl on the 2001 and 2005 sensons
oforchoeologicol excovotions at Mellor.

4. 2004: Aims, Objectives and Methodology


The archaeological excavations at Mellor are designed as an evaluation programme to
try and answer some fundamental questions about the site, its age, size and nature of
the settlement on the hill top. Each year the results from previous seasons are
assessed and a plan of excavation developed for the following season.

In 2004 it was decided to excavate seven trenches each located to try and answer
specific questions raised by excavation in previous years (see figure 5):-

Trench 26 was excavated to see if the large ditch located in Trench 18 continued
north into Area C and to investigate the nature and extent of the curving gully
identified within the 2003 trial trenches. It was also designed to test the indications
from test pits and Trench 20 that there was high level of archaeological survival in
this area.

Trench 27 was excavated expose the enclosure ditch as close as possible to the north
wall of the Old Vicarage were it formed a boundary between Area A and Area B. It
was hoped that this trench would shed light on the discrepancy in height between the
two areas at this point. In addition it was designed to confirm the alignment of the
outer enclosure ditch with the large ditch found in Trench 1.

Trench 28 and Trench 29 were designed to examine the level of archaeological


survival in the north and west of Area C.

Trench 30 was excavated to investigate a linear anomaly identified by geophysical


survey within Area E (see figure 3).

Trench 31 and Trench 32 were excavated adjacent to Trench 18 to confirm the


presence of a palisade slot.

Trial trench 16 ran south east to north west in Area B, close to and parallel with the
boundary wall separating Area B from Area A. Its purpose was to look for indications
that the large ditch found in Trench 18 might loop into Area B before turning south
west into Area A to link with Trench 1. It would also provide a chance to assess the

level of archaeological survival in the segment of Area A that lies inside the enclosure
ditch. The difference between the trial trench and the other trenches is that it was
never the intention to cany out any excavation in the trial trench. The methodology is
simply to strip away the topsoil and subsoil and then observe and record what is
revealed.

Universily of Monchester Archoeologicol Unit


December 2005.
Figure 5: A plan showing the location of the #X)4 hemhes in red,previous years in
blue, and the area & d g w b w at Menor, 1998-2004.
Repon on the 2004 and 2005 seosons
of archaeological emvations of Mellor.

5. 2004 Excavation Results.

5.1 Trench 26

Figures: 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

The work within Trench 26 continues a process of archaeological investigation within


Area C that began with a programme of test-pitting in April 2002. These test-pits,
along with Trench 20 opened in the same year, suggested a high level of
archaeological survival cut into the natural boulder clay of the area. In 2003, two trial
trenches (6 and 7) were opened within Area C, c.5m north of Trench 18, with the
purpose of both further evaluating the archaeological potential of the area and of
ascertaining whether the large ditch excavated in Trench 18 continued north into this
area. Whilst neither of these trenches established the presence of the ditch, both
confirmed the same high level of archaeological survival revealed the previous year.
In particular, a section of a curvilinear gully was found within trial trench 6. This bore
similarities in its design to the round house gullies excavated within the Old Vicarage
garden in Trenches 16 and 21. Lf this were the case, then the zone of occupation upon
the hilltop would extend further than previously thought, as the evidence for Iron Age
roundhouses so far had been limited to an area enclosed within the large ditch
excavated in trenches 1 and 18. In order to c o n f m the preliminary findings from trial
trenches 6 and 7, Trench 26 was opened during the summer of 2004.

Trench 26 was quadrilateral in plan. Measuring 22.5-25m east-west by 2.3-8.6m


north-south. A hand-dug east-west rectangular extension 7.4m long by 2.4m wide
was added to the north-east comer of Trench 26 after initial cleaning had revealed a
cluster of archaeological features within this area.

The turf and topsoil (779) and subsoil (780) were carefully removed by machine
excavator under the supervision of archaeologists. During excavation both layers
produced sherds of 18"-20~century pottery as well as 18' and 1 9 ' ~century clay pipe
stems, glass and ferrous objects. Immediately beneath the subsoil was a layer of wet
light-mid grey clay sand silt (781) with c.50% small-medium sandstone inclusions.
This layer varied in depth between 5-25cm, effectively sealing the archaeological
deposits below and seems to be an interface layer between the natural clay geology
and the more humic soils above. No finds were recovered from (781) during
excavation. The remaining layers and deposits were all excavated by hand.

The natural geology of this area is composed of reddish brown boulder clay. The
upper 5-10cm of this clay (702) was friable and regularly mottled, and lighter in hue
than (703) due to weathering and rootlanimal action, and far more compact layer. In
the western third of the site a very compact c.20cm deep layer (805) of probably
glacially introduced small rounded and sub-rounded pebbles lay under (781) and over
(702). A broken blue green glass bead of possible Roman date was recovered from
(805) during cleaning.

Trench 26 revealed a complex and densely packed arrangement of often inter-cutting


features. The majority of these were typically denoted by their dark upper fills and the

University of Manckester Archaeological Unif


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archoeologicnl excavarionr at Mellor.

frequent presence of small-medium sandstone within them. These features clearly


stood out from the natural boulder clay of the area through which they were all cut. A
series of curvilinear gullies and sub-circular pits dominated the eastern and central
areas of thc trench. To the west there was a noticcable change in the nature of the
archaeological features, though the area still contained a high level of archaeological
activity the majority appear to be postholcs.

Due to the density of the archaeology within Trench 26 this report section has been
broken down into fcature types i.e. gullies, post-holes and pits. Where possible
relationships exist betwcen features of a different type this is commented upon.

5.1.2 Gullies

A total of 19 curvilinear gullies were discovered during excavation within Trench 26.
Due to the inter-cutting nature of these features it initially proved difficult to establish
the complete line of the individual gullies; therefore, some were assigned more than
one cut number during excavation.

The extcnt of gully [565] was difficult to trace through the complex of inter-cutting
features in the area with an estimated diameter of c.8m. It does appear to continue to
the southeast outside of the excavated area. [565] was orientated southeast-north,
possibly terminating in an unexcavatcd area directly to the east of gully 16381. It had a
width of 0.45-0.55111, a concave base and a depth of 0.23111. [565] is possibly
associated with gully [784] 2.4m to the north, which would create a northwest
entranceway to a roundhouse, with an estimated diameter of c.1Om. This feature ran
north-south for 1.9m, to the north section of the excavated area and had been broadly
truncated by gully [637].

Gully [639/558] was curvilinear in plan and was orientated north south. It measured
0.48m wide and 0.15111 deep with very steep sides and a flat base. [639/558] had a
rounded terminal (in common with all the gullies) to the north giving a known
circumference of 9.6m. This feature cut gully [637] and was in turn cut by gullies
[552], 15581, 15651 and [743]. It is possible that [639/558] is thc corresponding arm of
gully [657] creating an entranceway facing northlnorthwest. This would give a width
of l . l m for the entranceway and an estimated diameter of 10-llm for this
roundhouse. [657] was orientated east-southwest. It measured 0.1 6m wide and 0.12111
deep and ran from its rounded terminal for 3.4m before being cut by the lincar
grouping of pits to the east (see below).
Feature [559] was a curvilinear gully 0.4m wide and 0.24m, with shallow urcgular
sides and base. It ran for 3m north-southeast from its rounded terminal before being
cut by gullies [637], [639], [552], [565] and [638]. [559] would appcar to correspond
to the gully 18061 and together form a drainage gully for a roundhouse c. 11-12m in
diameter. Gully [806] measured 0.3m wide and ran south-north for 2.2m into the
north section of Trench 26.

Gully [656] was orientated north-east. It measured 6.6m in length by 0.8m wide and
had a maximum depth of 0.25111. There exists a possibility that gullies [808]/ [a091
and [767] are associated with [656] and together form the ground plan for a
roundhouse gully measuring c.12m in diameter. Gully [808] was a 3.8m section of a

University of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 searom
of archaeological excavationr at Mellor.

seemingly curvilinear gully running east-west and terminating 1.4m north of the
rounded terminal of [656]. This gully cut a similarly orientated featurc [809] and may
represent a re-cut. Gully [767] lay within the extension to Trench 26 and ran
northwest-south for 1.4-1.5m. Caution must be taken in any interpretation of this
feature as it was unexcavated (see Trench 26 extension).

The chance discovery of a curvilinear gully within trial trench 6 in 2003 was partly
responsible for the excavations within Trench 26 taking place, though at the time only
a small segment of it was visible. The 2004 excavation showed that this gully [638]
ran south in a continuous arc from the northern section trench 26, 12.4111 to the far
southeast comer of the trench (where trial trench 6 had located it). This feature ranged
greatly in both its depth and profile, varying from 0.55m deep with a square profile in
the southeast to 0.25m decp with irregular sides and base to the north. As with those
gullies excavated within Trench 21 during the 2003 season, it would appear that dcpth
was not an issue when it came to excavating a drainage gully for a roundhouse and
that it was enough to ensure that there was a sufficient gadicnt for the gullies to work
efficiently. Unlike the majority of the gullies' fills within the trench, [638] (along
with [552]) had a high percentage of washed-in natural clay, especially within its
basal fills. This would suggest that these two features were principally filled-in
through a natural silting/erosion process rather than being deliberately in-filled during
a rapid levelling of the site. These gullies are unusual in other respects, as [6381 is
potentially the latest of the many gullies to be cut in this area (the other potentials are
[7433 and [581], though [638] has the more stratigraphic relationships) and [552] may
denote a different type of activity within the area (see below).

Gully [552] was the most consistent in its profile of all those excavated within Trench
26 and the most puzzling. [552] had a square profile with very steep sides and a flat
base, a width of 0.45-0.65 and a depth of 0.35-0.55. From its western rounded
terminal it ran southeast for 6.5m partially cxiting the trench before curving back to
run to the northeast for 8.7m and finishing in a rounded terminal. The distance
between the two rounded ends of this gully is 8.7m The size of this entrance would
argue against this feature from being a typical drainage gully for a roundhouse and
probably signifies that [552] served some other function as yet unidentified. [552] cut
the probable roundhouse gullies [565] and [639] and was in-turn cut by gullies [638]
and [743] and so lie stratigraphically between different phases of roundhouse gully
construction/renovation. It is possible therefore, that gullies [565] and [639] represent
an earlier phase of roundhouse on the site which was followed by a break in
occupation and a re-use of the area (perhaps to pen animals?) as dcnoted by [552]
before reverting once more to the citing of roundhouses. Gully [552] serves as a
reminder that as yet interpretations as to the nature and function of many of the
features within Trench 26 must remain limited.

Gully [637] (0.45m wide x 0.18m deep) was orientated north-east and had no
discemable break for an entranceway along its exposed length. [637] ran for a length
of 12.3m, giving a visible diameter of 7.5m, and extended to the north and east
outside the area of excavation. This gully had an irregular base and steep sides, cut
gully [784], and was in turn cut by gullies [638] and [579].

Gully [581] measured 0.3m wide x 0.12m deep. It ran for3.8m from its rounded
terminal to the southeast before continuing north beyond the limits of excavation.

University of Manchesler ArchaeologicaI Unir


December 2005.
Repon on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavations at Mellor.

This feature was the only example in Trench 26 OF a potcntial roundhouse gully with
an entranceway to the south-east. The rest of the roundhouse gullies whose entrances
wcre visible had them located to the north1 northwest. Whilst not unheard of, this
tends to contradict the dominant tendency of roundhouses from other sites in this and
other areas, which tend to have the entranceway to the southeast, perhaps to maximise
the hours of sunlight and/or to shelter from the prevailing wind. This gully also
strongly suggests, due to its distance from many of the othcr gullies as well as the
unique placing of its entranceway, that a separate roundhouse to the oneis discovered
within Trench 26 lies just to the north of the area of excavalion. [581] cut gully [657].

Gully 14731 was thc furthest west of all the potential roundhouse gullies uncovered
within thc trench and was located at the extremc northwest of the cxcavated area.
This feature mcasured 0.4m widc x 0.18m dcep and had concave sides and a rounded
base. 14731 was orientated northeast-west and ran 2.2m before cxiting thc trench to
the east and west. A very similar featurc [6751 was ~mmediatclyto the north of 14731
and one of these two gullies may represent a recut of the other. Taken together they
do appcar to suggest another roundhouse well to the west oC the principal cluster of
gullies and may symbolise that occupation continues to the north and west of Trench
26, though as these fcatures were only partly exposed and lay mainly outside the
evaluated area assumptions as to their nature must remain limitcd.

Feature [743] ran west-east from its rounded terminal for 2.3m before continuing
beyond the confines of the trench. No corresponding return of this gully was
observable and though there is a strong possibility that any such return has been cut
away by the large series of pits lying just to the north (see below), it is possible that
[743] is a linear feature rather than a roundhouse gully and unconnected with that
grouping. Some circumstantial evidence for this may be inferred through both its lack
of a return and its stratigraphic relationships to the roundhouse gullies [656], [552]
and [637] through which it cut.

Fcature [766] would appear to be the northern terminal of a roundhouse gully and
runs northwest-south for 1.4m within the extension of Trench 26. This feature was
unexcavated however and so no conclusions can be drawn.

Discussion

The curved nature of these features is highly suggestive of drainage gullies


surrounding Iron Age round houses. These gullies are traditionally seen as running
below the eaves of the roof, which projected beyond the walls of the roundhouse.
-
Excavations at other Iron Age sites have found that these gullies
- were regularly
- re-cut
in order to keep them functioning properly. In many cases slight realignments took
place either as a form of repair or to reflect a change in layout or reconstruction of the
buildings they served. In common with those gullies discovered within Trenches 16
and 21, the majority of these features had been in-filled with a dark grey clay silt,
which regularly contained a high percentage of charcoal flecks and pieces. It would
appear from this similarity that these gullies underwent a repeated process of rapid
abandonment and/or infilling. Whether this process involved the deliberate deposition
of charred remains (possibly from the hearth or other cooking site?) within the
redundant gully, or whether it denotes that the house was burnt-down and built afresh
on its new location is unknown. The presence of very small fragments of burnt and

University of Munchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the ZOO4 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excuvurions at Mellor.

calcified bone from within the fills of many of the gullies, combined with the absence
of any clay daub would suggest the f i s t possibility is the likelier. No finds were
recovered from any of the excavated sections of gully.

The many gullies found within Trench 26 could not all have been contemporary and
drained the same roof due to their inter-cutting nature and so must either reflect
numerous phases of one house or separate ground plans of independent houses. It
would seem likely that the roundhouse gullies discovered within Trench 26 represent
two or three separate roundhouses. There also exists a possibility that thc nature of
the occupation changed with gully [552] suggcsting that a distinct break in thc
function of thc settlement occurred betwcen two separate phases of roundhouse
constructions.

The nature of the round house gullies identificd at the east end of Trench 26 probably
indicates use and rc-use of thc same area for a singlc round house suggesting a long
occupation of the samc picce of land for domest~cdwellings. Moving west along
Trench 26 there is a 13m long area devoid of curving gullies with the possibility that
this type of feature reappears in the North West comer of the Trench. This pattern
was seen in Trench 16 excavated in 2002 where the curving gullies of the round
house occupied only the west half of the trench the east half being occupied with a
number of pits and post holes. Together the evidence from Trench 26 and Trench 16
seems to indicate that particular zones within the scttlcment are dcdicated to housing
and that there are areas in betwcen these that are allocated to other uses. The potential
uses of these spaces are unknown, but must use significant numbers of wooden posts
as shown in Trench 26. Trenches 28 and 29 support the theory of an expanded zone
of settlement indicating that the level of archaeological activity seen in Trcnch 26
continues north and west in Area C.

5.1.3 Post-Holes

A total of 54 post holes were excavated within Trench 26, with a further 16 identified
post holes unexcavated. During excavation of several of the curvilinear gullies, a
number of post holes (e.g. [704], [579], [567] and [429]) were discovered which had
not been identified previously due to their upper fills' similarity to the fills of the
gullies through which they cut. It is highly likcly therefore, that other as yet
unidentified post holes lie within unexcavated segments of the curvilinear gullies.

Many of the postholes wcre stone packed and contained flat sided small-medium
sandstone, which appeared to have been set on-edge around the sides of the posthole.
It is likely that these represent packing wedged into the posthole and had been used as
a prop or chock to support a wooden post. This may suggest that thcse postholes
required a solidity of support, which was not required of those postholes without such
packing. Features of this type werc typically sub-circular or sub-oval in plan,
measuring 0.45 x 0.4 with near vertical sides, a u-shaped or flat basc and a depth of
0.2m. Those postholes without stone packing tended to be circular and smaller in plan
averaging 0.3 x 0.3m with v-shaped profdes and an average depth of 0.3m.

During the Iron Age, the cutting of the defensive inner enclosure ditch and to a lesser
extent the outer enclosure ditch would have provided a vast quantity of potential

Universily of Munchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Reporl on the 2004 and 2GUS seasons
of onhueological excuvarions at Mellor.

building stone excavatedlquanied during the construction of the ditches. Prior to this
in the Bronze Age, and subsequently in the Romano British period ground fast timber
structures may have been used. Indicating the possibility of classifying the post holes
containing no stone packing as belonging to thesc periods.

Though no ground plans were observed with the majority of the postholes, several did
appear to form an arrangement. Feature [489] was a large (0.76 x 0.55 x 0.14111 deep)
sub-square posthole with irregular sides and a flat base, in the western half of the
trench, which contained frequent small-medium sized angular packing sandstone, and
could easily be the base of a 2002 test pit. Feature [489] cut a large sub-circular
posthole [686] on its eastern side (measuring 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.35m deep), with a v-
shaped profile. [489] bore similarities in its form and plan to posthole [490] 2.3m to
the north, which was sub-circular in plan (measuring 0.76 x 0.65 x 0.22111 decp) and
also contained frequent stones packed tightly together. This feature had also cut a
large sub-circular posthole [701:1 (measuring 0.5 x 0.4 x 0.32m deep) with a v-shaped
profile. The similarities in both form and placement between [489]1 [490] and also
with [686]1 [701] would imply that they are associatcd. Their siting would suggest
that they functioned as postholes for a structure orientated north-south. What form
this structure took is unknown at present though it is possible that features [489] and
[490] represent a different phase and substantial modification to the structure which
postholes [686] and [701] had initially helped to form. The siting of [489/4901 would
appear to mirror that of [686/701] and may be indicative of either a long standing
structure which required new structural supports over time, or of a change in
layout/reconstruction which necessitated more substantial stone packed postholes.

Discussion

In separating the features excavated within Trench 26 into various sub-categories


there exists a tendency to see them as forming separate phaseslfunctions of
occupation, whereas many are inter-related and represent different activities
associated with settlement patterns. Perhaps this is particularly the case for postholes,
for while gullies represent the outlying footprint of a roundhouse they do not form
part of the structure itself, which would require wooden uprights to support the roof
and walls. It is therefore, quite possible that many of the postholes represent the
timber uprights of roundhouses and are associated with the previous sub-group of
features. No definite ground plans were observed altogether. There does appear to be
a general east-northwest arrangement in the postholes' orientation in the eastern half
of the trench. This mirrors that of the roundhouse gullies and does suggest that some
at least are associated with roundhouses. There are however, several potential
problems with this interpretation. Only two of the potential roundhouse gullies in the
east of the trench, where the majority of the gullies are, had not been either directly or
indirectly cut by a posthole. Furthermore, out of a total of 70 postholes, 35 lay to the
west of the trench and were seemingly unassociated with any potential roundhouse
gullies. It is possible therefore that many of the post holes in the eastern half of the
trench were also not associated with the gullies and may represent a different phase
and character of occupation to them. They need not be associated; they could be
outbuildings associated with the roundhouses and refers to a zone of ownership.

Univenify of Manchesler Arckaeologic~llUnir


December 2005.
Repon on the 2004 and 2WS seasons
ofarchaeological excavalions al Mellor.

Additional areas of excavation adjoining Trench 26 are needed in order to gain a


wider picture of the posthole ground plans and could prove highly informative on the
changing forms of occupation within the area.

5.1.4 Pits

A total of 16 pits, (with 4 more possible examples) were excavated within a


substantial group of pits that dominated the eastern extent of the trench. These
features were intercutting and formed an irregular linear arrangement orientated
south-northwest 1-3m wide and 8.2m long - that continued to the north of the trench.
Two sections were placed across this arrangement in strategic places in order to gain
an understanding of these complicated relationships. Both of these revealed a rather
haphazard and seemingly unreiated sequence of inter-cutting pits, with very similar
mid-dark grey clay silt fills containing frequent charcoal flecks and regular small and
fragmented burnt bone. The pits were all sub-circular or sub-oval in plan, averaging
0.8m xlm, and most had a relatively shallow depth of 0.2m. Pits [749] and [751]
were both substantially deeper at 0.5m and both had been partly in-filled with re-
deposited clay which overlay a light grey silt clay basal fill. It is interesting to note
that both these pits were uncut by other features and together may denote a later
phase of activity.

Feature [482] was an oval pit in the western half of the site measuring 2m x 0.8m
wide with a depth of 0.4m. Pit [482] was unusual not only in its shape and size, but
also that it was the only large feature other than [747] and the possible feature [705],
that was filled with friable light brown grey silt clay. The nature of this fill suggests
that it was formed either through a slow process of natural erosion and silting, or that
the features were rapidly backfilled with the originally excavated material. It is
unclear as yet what this in-fill denotes but it is tempting to associate these features
with an early phase of activity within the area, though until (705) is excavated (see
below) interpretations must remain limited.

A sub-oval patch of fire reddened clay [778] adjacent to gully [656] and within the
arcs of many of the potential roundhouse gullies was initially thought to represent a
hearth for one of the roundhouses sited here. Excavation of the feature proved
inconclusive, but a similar small patch of reddened clay to the west [700] proved to
be a small pit with frequent scraps of lead withtn its fill. The waterlogged conditions
that Frequently occur on the areas of boulder clay would not be conducive to the
survival of hearths. However if the interpretation of the c w i n g gullies as
roundhouses is correct, then we may expect to see more evidence for hearths. If the
hearths were raised upon a portion of abundant stone, then the likelihood of finding
this surviving in situ would be rare.

Pit [474] was identified early in the excavations due to the unusually large sandstone
block (0.8m long x 0.6m wide x 0.26m deep), which appeared to cap the feature.
Upon removal of the stone, [474] was filled with a compact charcoal rich mid-dark
grey clay silt with frequent small fragments of burnt bone. A cylindrical bead was
recovered during the excavation of this feature from its fill. [474] had near vertical
sides and a rounded base and a depth of 0.45m. The pit was half sectioned only as it
lay partly outside of the trench.

University of Manchesfer Archneological Unit


December 2W5.
Reporr on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavarions ar Mellor.

Discussion

This large group of pits represents a sustained and repeated use of this swathe of
ground. It remains unclear as to what function this action served. The recovery of
burnt bone and charcoal may suggest that the pits were dug to dispose of the residue
of cooking and/or fires, though examples such as [749] and [751] would suggest that
this was not the entire group's purpose. The pits' linear arrangement may suggest that
this area was specifically appointed For this purpose or that it lay between areas of
occupation/usage, which limited the availability of space. Of particular interest is the
groups' relationship to the roundhouse gullies. Other than gully [657], which is cut by
the line of pits, the separate groups appear to respect the layout of each other, though
it seems unlikely that they are contemporary. Several sherds of Roman orangeware
pottery from the 2" century A.D. were recovered from an unexcavated feature (812)
within the line of pits, which would appear to suggest that the group is of Romano-
British date rather than Iron Age. This raises questions on the dating of the
roundhouse gullies themselves, as examples of roundhouse construction within the
Romano-British period are well known. Further excavation to the north of Trench 26
in order to establish whether any more of the roundhouse gullies have been cut by
these pits would help resolve this question.

5.15 Trench 26 Extension

During excavation within the east-west extension to Trench 26, a flint dagger was
recovered lying flat upon the upper surface of context (705) immediately adjacent to
the possible gully [767].

Context (705) was an unexcavated deposit of friable light brown grey silt clay, which
may be the uppermost fill of large (>2.2m x >1.7m) pit. (705) had been cut by gullies
[766] and [767] and by feature [768]. A grouping of 6 stake holes ([760]-[765]) were
located along its western edge and although not definitely associated, shared the same
fill type in contrast to the other features in this area. A small chert flake of possible
Bronze Age date was recovered from its surface during cleaning.

Feature [768] was a irregular deposit of large (<0.6 x 0.6 x 0.25m deep) sandstone
fragments measuring 1.1 x 1.3m. It is unclear whether these formed a discrete feature
or whether they are an isolated concentration of stones possibly infilling gully [767].

Context (769) was the number given to a concentration of small sub-rounded and flat
angular sandstone, which filled the eastern third of the extension. This area was not
fully excavated down to the natural geology due to time constraints and (769) may be
a layer of stones within the subsoil.

It is possible that the dagger is associated with either [768] or (705). which may be
unidentified features of Bronze Age date, or with the gully [767]. It is also possible
that the dagger was displaced from its original deposition during the construction of
[767] or other feature.

Univeniry of Manchener Archaeological Unif


December 2005.
Daggers such a8 these are exhemely rare within the &eater M a n c W / -
area, with the nearest pardel coming from Saddleworth (where a broken example
was ~v~ at ma? and) ,classically associated with Beakm burials of the
are
early Bronze Age. As ye#, tbe flint dagger cannot be assigned to any specific
within Trench 26, due to its un-associated deposition and the limited area of
excavation munding its find spot Due to the importance of the find md the limited
time ~mainingduring this seasons' work to comprehensively investigate the area
mund the dagger, it was agreed that excavation within the extension would cease
and that the area would be a focus of the following season's w o k
Figure 7: Ovemead view of mmd house gullia located within trench 26, looking
west.
Elgm 8: Brop~peAge flint dagger discovered in the trench 26 extension. Scale 5cm.

Fieore 9: Tnach 2 6 nnmd gulliw~[552]. [565], [639]and [638l,looking west.

.
,*, - - ,- - - t. -- . .
. t3"
r ? -* 8 *
I
Ngme 10: Overhead view of trench 26 extension, looking north.
8

Figure 12: Trench 26 plan, showing section.


--
P U X

=Fw
Irl
Arm
3,

M I .

SmbN

St

-
6w

-Q =
-,, Xbn

Wl
-%0 sal

Flgme 14: Sections L - R h n Trench 26.


Report on the 2004 and2005 seasons
ojarchaeological ercavationv at Mellor.

5.2 Trench 27

Figures: 15, 16 and 17.

Trench 6 which was excavated in 1999 had confirmed the presence of an enclosure
ditch in Area B at a point some 10m to the north of the Old Vicarage wall. Trench 6
was one of series of 5 trenches which established the line of this ditch across Area B.
They were by design relatively narrow trenches as their purpose was simply to
confirm the presence of the ditch. Along with 3 larger trenches excavated over the
ditch in the east half of Area B they provided a perfectly logical basis on which to
project possible routes for the ditch south and east out of Area B.

The natural southerly extension would link the ditch in Trench 6 with the section of
ditch revealed in Area A by Trench 1 during excavations between 1998 and 2000. The
ditch in Trench 1 was larger and deeper than the sections seen in Area B. However
with the evidence available at the time it did not seem unreasonable to assume that
this was a consequence of the ditch fulfilling different requirements at different points
on its circuit of the hill top. The discovery of what was possibly a large post pit
adjacent to Trench 1 raised the possibility that the ditch in this location was cut larger
as part of an entranceway. Although only partially excavated in 1999, the ditch was
visible in Trench 2 running into the churchyard of Saint Thomas's. Although
excavation and geophysical survey are not practical within the churchyard it does
seem likely that the line of the south arm of the ditch is marked by the eastward curve
of the churchyard wall.

In 2003 Trench 18 was excavated at the opposite end of Area A to Trenches1 and 2.
Trench 18 contained a section of ditch comparable in size to that in Trench 1.Trench
26 showed that this section of ditch did not continue directly north across the drive of
the Old Vicarage into Area C. This suggested that it curved west and followed the line
of what is now the drive towards Trench 1.

The implication of this was that there were probably two ditches in this part of the
hilltop. A large inner ditch running between Trenches 1 and 18 following the line of
the drive and the south churchyard wall encompassing the area occupied by the
church and the Old Vicarage and a less substantial but more extensive ditch enclosing
a much larger area of the hilltop.

While it is believed that both ditches have their origins in the Iron Age there are
difficulties in making a more precise interpretation of their chronological and
stratigraphical relationship to each other. Although Iron Age pottery has been found in
both ditches the lack of a regional typological sequence means that only the broadest
date ranges can be assigned to these finds. In terms of excavation if the two ditches do
merge then potential intersection probably lies somewhere below the Old Vicarage.

In order to investigate the possibility that the two ditches did not meet, Trench 25 was
excavated just to the north-west of Trench 1. The purpose of this trench was to look
for the outer enclosure ditch its presence would provide strong evidence that the two
ditches did not join up. While there was no sign of the ditch the trench did reveal the
fascinating fact that the flat nature of this part of the garden was the result of an

Universiry of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on fhe 2004 and 2005 seasom
of archaeological excm~afioma1 hfdior.

extensive piece of possibly 19" century landscaping which had levelled up the natural
slope of the hill.
In 2002 Trench 17 was excavated in the field immediately to the north of the Old
Vicarage wall. The purpose of this trench was to provide another section across the
enclosure ditch and to see if any evidence survived of a track way running into the
field from the Old Vicarage drive. While the surface of a 19th century cinder track
was uncovered it was found that quarrying had removed any evidence of the enclosure
ditch at this location.

The need to investigate the extent of the quarrying and landscaping and the desire to
gain as clear an indication as possible of the alignment of the outer enclosure
prompted the excavation of Trench 27. The trench measured 5.2 metres wide and 14
metres in length and was orientated north to south. It followed a very gradual slope
within Area B towards the boundary wall with Area A. Upon removal of the topsoil
and subsoil natural bedrock (510) was encountered almost immediately. Cut into the
bedrock the outer enclosure ditch [501] ran the length of the trench. At the north end
of the trench it was 1.55 metres wide and 1.15 metres deep. These dimensions are
very similar to those seen in other trenches to the north and east in Area B. As it ran
south in Trench 27 the ditch became shallower and narrower. At the south end of the
trench it measured 0.55m wide by 0.25m deep.

The ditch was completely excavated in Trench 27 with 6 sections being recorded.
Several similarities were visible between the sections. They all contained the same
upper fill, (502) this was a mid brown sandy silt containing moderate amounts of
small sandstone fragments. This was the only ditch fill present in the 2 most southerly
sections. Context (502) did not appear in section 165 as this was the location of
Trench 6 and consequently only contained backfilling material. At the north end of
the trench, in section 173, fill (502) was 0.38m deep. This depth remained consistent
through sections 171 and 168. In section 166, towards the north end of the trench,
(502) was slightly deeper at 0.55m. Below this, in the three most northerly sections,
was context (503). This was a distinctive mid orange brown sandy silt containing
frequent small and medium fragments of sandstone. Below this, in the two most
northerly sections, was fill (504). In terms of stone inclusions (504) and (503) were
very similar they differed mainly in colour (504) being much paler with a yellowish
brown hue.

Discussion

There is a discrepancy in height between the Old Vicarage and the part of Area B
immediately adjacent to it, north of the boundary wall. Standing on the stone flags of
the Old Vicarage when one looks over the wall the field of Area A is some 1.80m
lower than the flag stones. The difference in size between the two ends of the ditch in
Trench 27 might indicate that the ditch in the southern half has had the top 0.50m
truncated. It is possible that this was because a segment of the slope in Area B has
been terraced away. The excavated material could have been used to level up the
slope within Area A and the boundary wall built to retain the levelling material and
formalise the terrace. This would fit in with the evidence from Trench 25 of a
deliberate landscaping programme to create a level garden on the east and north side
of the Old Vicarage. No artefacts were recovered from the ditch itself; however a
large quantity of post medieval pottery was recovered from the topsoil and the subsoil

University of Manchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
which could passlbQ b hdicative of the owners of the Old Vbuage depositing their
waste over the wall QnBb the *Id. A similar abundance of post medieval pottery was
found in 20M duriqg tbt excavation of Treoch 17. To the south of the trench theze
was an area which the continuation of the p t medievrl m g identified
within Trench 17. It L W b l e that the quarrying, termcing md hndscaping were part
of the same works wah the q?larrying providing stone for the construction of the
boundarylretahiq wall. The evidence from Trench 27 excavated over the enclotwe
ditch seems to suppart tbe theory that the hilltop at the west end of Area A has been
extensively landscaped It would seem that the natural slope of the hill between A m
A and Area B would have followed a line drawn bemeen the natural bedmck at the
side of the ditch in Tmnch 1 to the natural bedrock appmximately half way along
l h m h 27, at the side of the enclosure ditch

Figrve 15: Tmnch 27 looking north east.


Elgme 16: Plan of %rich 27, showing sections.
Flgwe 17: Sections S - X from trench 27.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
ofarchaeological excwafions ar Mellor

5.1.1 Trench 28

Trench 28 was a 5.5m square excavated to establish whether the high level of
archaeological remains present within Trench 26 was the same in the west of Area C.
During machine excavation of the subsoil a sherd of Roman sarnien ware was
recovered. This lay just above the stratified archaeological deposits which were
identified at a depth of 0.5m below the modem ground surface. The features were
located primarily to the south of the trench and seemed to represent a number of
irregular inter-cutting pits containing pale grey silt fills. They gave a clear indication
that the high level of archaeological survival seen in Trench 26 extended to this part
of Area C. The archaeological features were recorded, drawn and photographed.
However due to adverse weather conditions it was decided not to excavate any of
them. Trench 28 was lined with plastic to define the archaeological levels and then
backfilled.

5.4 Trench 29

Trench 29 was established to see whether the high level of archaeological remains
present within Trench 26 was the same in the north of Area C. The trench was
approximately 4.0m square. A number of archaeological features were revealed
within Trench 29 including what appear to be small pits and postholes. They gave a
clear indication that the high level of archaeological survival seen in Trench 26
extended to this part of Area C. The archaeological features were recorded, drawn and
photographed. However due to adverse weather conditions it was decided not to
excavate any of them. Trench 29 was lined with plastic to define the archaeological
levels and then backfilled.

5.5 Trench 30

Figures: 16, 17, 18 and 19.

In 1998 a geophysical survey was canied out within Area E, to the east of the church
car park, owned by Mr. L. h d e l . The survey appeared to indicate an anomaly
running approximately east west and located c.25m into the field from the metal fence
boundary. Excavation was conducted to determine the origin of the the geophysical
anomaly and to establish if this was part of the outer enclosure ditch. An area 10.00m
by 2.00m was manually de-turfed to a depth of approximately 0.2m a further O.lm of
dark brown friable loam (584) was removed. Within this was found a dark grey flint
flake and a single flake of chert. Beneath (584) a layer of loose orangey brown sandy
loam (583) was removed by towelling. This lay on top of the plated sandstone
bedrock, which was fiequently shattered due to the thin nature of the plates. In places
the bedrock had decayed, resulting in a layer of coarse, loose orangey sand lying on
the bedrock. A 1.80m wide ditch was located and subsequently excavated. The ditch
[582] ran in an east west alignment consisting of steep sloping sides onto a flat base,
0.89m deep.

University of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Trench 30 showed thrrt tfrc m m a l y was the rermlt of human activity in the fom of a
ditch 1.65m wide and 0.83m deep similar in size and nahjre to the sections of outer
enclosure ditch i&nt@i within the trenches excavated in Area B. At this stage any
i n t e r p d o n as to tbe d.te and function of this featlule is highly speculative. However
it is tempting to see it as pat of the same h n Age ditch system as the enclosure ditch
in h a A. The diacovary of the ditch in Trench 30 was very exciting and it is
tempting to associare it with the enclosure ditch in Area B. If it is part of the same
Iron Age ditch system it would mean that nearly all the hill at Mellor is enclosed This
would have significant implications on the role that Mellor played within the Iron Age
society in the mgion. However it is too early to draw any firm conclusions regarding
the date and function of this ditch.

Figure 18: Outer enclosure ditch within tmnch 30, looking north west.
Fignre 20: Plan of T ~ n c h30.

FSgare 21: SeaiansAA- AE fnrm trenches 30.3 1 a d 32.


Reporl on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excm'arions a! Afellor

5.6 Trench 31

Figures: 21,22 and 23.

Trench 3 1 was designed to seek confirmation as to whether or not the stretch of stone
lined gully found in Trench 18 in 2003 is a palisade slot associated with the large
defensive ditch. Although the gully and ditch did run parallel to each other in Trench
18 only a relatively short stretch was revealed and the possibility existed that their
proximity was just a coincidence. Trench 31 was roughly triangular in shape
measuring approximately 8m by 6.5m by 5m. The results showed that the stone lined
gully, OVM03 [302] found during the excavation of Trench 18 continued to run the
full length of Trench 31, OVM04 [680]. The trench also revealed the northern
continuation of the west edge of the large ditch.

Discussion

The alignments between ditch and gully in Trench 3 1 and Trench 18, which had been
left open after the 2003 season, matched exactly and meant that we could now see the
two features running parallel to each other for 10m. This means that we can say with
some certainty that the two are associated with each other. The gully is linear in
nature, c0.50m wide and 0.26m deep filled with large upright angular stones. The
stones are predominantly the same as the bedrock excavated from the large ditch in
Trench 18. No dateable material was recovered from the palisade slot. The most
likely explanation is that the gully represents part of a defensive feature running inside
the ditch. It may have supported timber posts designed to hold a bank or rampart in
place or it may have been to hold a palisade fence, as yet no evidence has been
recovered indicating the presence of a rampart. What is clear is that along with the
ditch it would have provided a substantial defence for this part of the hilltop at Mellor.

5.7 Trench 32

Figures: 21,22 and 23.

Trench 32 was excavated 4m to the south of Trench 18. Its purpose was to confirm the
suspected southern alignment of the large ditch within Area A. Trench 32 measured
8.lOm in length and was l m wide. No excavation was canied out in this trench as
once the topsoil and subsoil had been removed the fill of the ditch stood out against
the natural fractured bedrock clearly showing its alignment. Also visible in Trench 32
was the palisade gully again running parallel with the ditch.

Discussion

Trench 32 showed the ditch continuing along the same alignment as identified within
Trench 18. A projection of this line would take it through the wooded area of the Old
Vicarage Garden into the graveyard of St.Thomas's Church.

Universiry ofManchester Archaeological Unil


December 2005.
F'igure 22: 'Ihe inner enclosure ditch and associated parallel palisade slot within
Trenches18 32, the latter in the foreground, looking south.
mu*
-m.stw
C
m e
Trial trend^ 16

Trial Trench 16 was 1.7m wide and ran south east to noah west for 55m from the gate
joining Area B to Area C. Its western terminus was designed to be the point whexe it
located the enclosure ditch

The south east half of Trial mnch 16 revealed the layer of natural boulder clay. A
small irregular pit and two small postholes were identified against the boulder clay.
The north west half of the hid trench revealed the natural bedrock. No archaeological
feaaues were identified in this half other than the enclosure ditch. This part of the
Trial trench was then expanded north and south to form Trench 27. Pottery from the
18* and IFcenturies was recovered during topsoil and subsoil removal. The quantity
of pottery inc& notably towards the north west end of the trench.

Figure 24: Trial mnch 16, eastenr end,looking east.


Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavafioru of Mellor.

6. 2004 Conclusions
This year's excavations within Trench 26 have improved our understanding of several
key questions concerning the character of the occupation upon the hilltop in the Iron
Age and Romano-British period. However as with all of the trenches excavated at
Mellor in this and other seasons, many new questions on the nature of the occupation
within these and preceding periods have arisen.

The discovery of the Bronze Age flint dagger has raised interesting possibilities on the
use of the site prior to the Iron Age and Romano-British occupation. The deposition of
such an object upon the Mellor hilltop is unlikely to be by chance due to the high
status of the artefact, although it is unclear as yet whether the recovery of the dagger
denotes Bronze Age activity within the locale (possibly in the form of a barrow) or
whether the irregular nature of its deposition represents activity not normally
associated with such an artefact. A precedent for this last possibility may be found in
the similarities to its unusual deposition with the late Neolithic polished stone chisel
uncovered within Trench 16 during the 2002 season of excavations. This artefact was
also discovered lying upon a surface layer (this time the natural boulder clay) and was
seemingly un-associated with surrounding features. Excavation of areas adjoining
Trench 26 in further seasons may help resolve these questions.

One of the key questions to be resolved was the confirmation that the large ditch
uncovered within Trench 18 did not continue to the north into this area. It seems
likely therefore, that the ditch turns sharply to the west to the north of Trench 18,
(possibly partially entering Area C), and runs west along the present day driveway for
the Old Vicarage. A survey of the driveway using ground penetrating radar was
undertaken toward the end of this seasons' work, which revealed that a large anomaly
existed along its length. Though inconclusive, this evidence taken with the negative
evidence from Trench 26 would suggest that the ditch on its northern side encloses an
area similar to the present day Old Vicarage.

Perhaps the most significant of the discoveries within Trench 26 was that Lron Age
and Romano-British settlement of the hilltop extended into Area C. However, as with
the curvilinear gullies first uncovered within Trench 16 in 2002, their form extends
outside the area of excavation, therefore definitive conclusions as to their nature are
not possible. However due to their similarities in form to those found in 2002 their
interpretation as roundhouse drainage gullies seems justified. Due to the density of
gullies it seems clear that settlement within Area C was repeated and long-standing.
Previously, evidence for roundhouses had been limited to an area enclosed within the
large ditch excavated in Trenches 1 and 18, within an area now occupied by the Old
Vicarage and Mellor church. This had led to assumptions that the inner ditch possibly
demarked a zone of occupation with the smaller outlying ditch serving as a stock
enclosure, drainage ditch or boundary marker.

The discovery of two small sections of inter-cutting gullies, located to the eastern
comer of Trench 26 indicates the possibility of another set of roundhouse gullies. If
this is another area of multiple re-cut drainage gullies then this would point clearly
towards the use of particular zones for building and use of the land. Deliberate
rebuilding upon some areas for roundhouses and not on others would indicate a

Universiry of Manchesfer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 ond 2005 seasons
of archoeologicol excovarions or Mellor.

conscious decision to separate the usage of the land and its space over a prolonged
period of time.

This raises several interesting possibilities, not least of which is whether the two
ditches are contemporary, andlor which of them encloses the Iron Age settlement.
Does the settlement within area C denote an expansion into a previously un-settled
area enclosed by the smaller ditch? Or is the occupation within Area A different in
terms of function or status to that within Area C, necessitating a large ditch to denote
its limits?

The discoveries resulting from the 2004 season of archaeological works as usual
produce not only many answers but new questions. Excavation suggests that the large
inner ditch does not continue far north from Trench 18 and most likely turns to run
west towards the Old Vicarage to join Trench 1. The palisade slot indicates that on the
inside of the ditch there would have been a rampart or palisade. It is tempting to
suggest that this defensive arrangement would have run along what is now the Old
Vicarage driveway, turned south to join the ditch in Trench 1. Previous excavation has
located the ditch and palisade gully running out of the south west comer of the Old
Vicarage garden. From there it may well swing round to run east following the line of
what is now the south wall of the churchyard before turning north through the
churchyard to rejoin Trench 18.

At the end of 2003, with the discovery of the round house gully in Area A and the
possibility that this area lay within part of the hilltop defended by a substantial ditch
and palisade, it was thought that this might represent the limit of the zone of human
occupation during the Iron Age at Mellor. This theory would have people living
within the defended area with the zone between the defensive ditch and the enclosure
being used for agricultural purposes. However if the suggestion that the defensive
ditch runs along the line of the Old Vicarage driveway is correct then the round house
gullies found in Trench 26 in 2004 clearly indicate occupation outside of the defended
area.

Lastly, the tantalising potential offered by Bronze Age flint dagger promises next
seasons excavations to be especially informative.

University ojMonchesrer Archneological Unit


December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
oforchaeologicol excavorions a1 A4eIlor.

7. 2005: Aims, Objectives and Methodology

The archaeological excavations at Mellor are designed as an evaluation programme to


try and answer some fundamental questions about the site, its age, size and nature of
the settlement on the hill top. Each year the results from previous seasons are
assessed and a plan of excavation developed for the following season. In 2005 the
archaeological excavations consisted of two large open area excavations, and a further
seven trenches designed to answer the specific questions raised during the excavations
of previous years (see figure 25).

Trench 33 was designed to verify the continuation of the inner enclosure ditch
identified by geophysical survey undertaken within the Old Vicarage garden in 1999
within trenches 1, 2 and 18. The trench proposed to answer a number of questions
relating to the ditches excavated in Trenches 1 and 2, the continuation of the inner
enclosure ditch, the positive identification of an associated palisade slot, and
identification of any remains of intemal settlement.

Trench 34 was designed in order to assess the potential for internal settlement in close
proximity to the possible post hole structure identified within trench A.

Trench 35 was located in order to evaluate the true nature of the post pit identified
within the trench one extension and whether or not this was part of a larger structure
or remained an individual feature.

Trench 36 was a large open area designed to identify the continuation and extent of
the curvilinear gullies identified within Trench 26. Assessing the immediate area
surrounding the location where the flint dagger was recovered, for any associated
structure or possible burial.

Trench 37 was placed to confirm, to the furthest assessable point within the Old
Vicarage boundary, the expected line of the inner enclosure ditch and its associated
palisade slot.

Trenches 38 and 39 were designed to expand the known line of the outer enclosure
ditch, either side of that identified within trench 30 and positioned according to the
results of a geophysical survey conducted in the spring of 2005.

Trench 40 was conceived to excavate the possible ditch terminals and entrance way of
the outer enclosure ditch, located but not excavated within trial trenches. Trench 41
was designed to further enhance the known extent of the outer enclosure ditch within
Area D and placed over the trial trench.

In 2005, trenches 33,34, 35 and 36 were all uncovered by machine, the remainder, 37,
38, 39,40 and 41 were all exposed by volunteers by hand. Subsequent excavation of
all trenches resulted in hand excavation conducted bv volunteers under the
supervision of three professional archaeologists, supplied by the University of
Manchester Archaeological Unit and one experienced amateur archaeologist provided
by the Mellor ~ r c h a e o i o ~ i c a l .

University of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Figam 25: A plan showing tbe location of the 2005 t r e w in red, previous yerus in
blue, and the a
m deeipartbas at Mellor, 1998-2005.
Report on the 2001 ond 2005 semons
of archaeological ercuvations at A4ellor.

8. 2005 Excavation Results

8.1 Trench 33

Figures: 26,27,28,29,30,31,32, 33, 34, 35 and 36.

During the 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons, excavation was conducted over a
geophysical anomaly identified at the western end of Area A. The subsequent
excavation of Trench 1 identified a large rock-cut enclosure ditch measuring 4.00m at
its widest point and 2.10m deep from the present ground surface. Trench 2, located in
the south western comer of the garden, identified the continuation of the inner
enclosure ditch and the presence of a possible associated palisade slot.

Trench 33 was specifically designed to clarify whether or not this ditch could be
identified in between Trenches 1 and 2. By excavating a greater area within the
garden than previously attempted, it was anticipated that not only would the nature
and extent of the ditch be revealed, but that any surrounding archaeological features
which could possibly relate to the ditch, such as the continuation of the palisade slot,
and any internal features indicative of an entranceway and associated structures
would be identified.

The trench was machine excavated to a height immediately above the archaeological
layers and the remainder hand excavated. Measuring approximately 19.6m by 12.0m,
the irregular outline and shape of the trench was determined by the need to protect as
much of the garden and accompanying trees as possible. The geology of the trench
varies across its entirety. An area of solid sandstone bedrock was identified within the
central and eastern segments of the trench, overlain in the majority of the remainder
of the trench by fractured bedrock and mottled natural sand, the remainder was a silty
sand extending to the western and southern portions of the trench. The material
represents the remains of an ancient river delta and therefore differs over the area as
the processes upon the river altered. The fractured nature of the bedrock made
identification of the smaller features problematic, as it was to establish if a feature
was man made and shallow, heavily truncated or just a naturally occurring undulation
within the make up of the fractured geology (see appendix 5). The natural solid
geology is a sandstone known locally as Woodhead Hill Rock, the lowest sandstone
development in the Westphalian A succession, laid during the late Carboniferous
Period.

Within Trench 33, many archaeological features were identified, dominated by the
ditch to the west, the continuation of the palisade slot, two separate rows of post holes,
three post pits to the east and four horticultural trenches to the south, and a number of
unassociated separate features.

8.1.1 The Inner Enclosure ditch.

In 2000, a geophysical survey undertaken by Geoquest Associates (see figure)


identified a linear anomaly running roughly north to south arching along the western

Universily of Manchesler Archae'blogica/ Unil


December 2005.
Reporr on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
ofarchaeological excavations at hJe1lor.

extent of Area A between Trench 1 and Trench 2 within the garden. The excavation
of Trench 33 showed the anomaly to be the same ditch as seen in Trenches 1 and 2.
To the north end of Trench 33 it was possible to excavate a 4.00m long section across
the full width of the ditch (A). The excavated section A, was sub-square in shape,
3.10m along the south side and 4.05m along the north, 2.23m to the east and 4.72m to
the west. Initial excavation of the topsoil and subsoil in this area was achieved
through the use of a six tonne machine using a ditching bucket. Subsequent removal
of the remainder of topsoil and further trench enlargement was achieved by hand.

This showed it to be 3.10m wide, and 1.95m deep. As the ditch angled to the south
west its western edge disappeared underneath the western wall of the old vicarage
garden. Therefore slot B, 4.50m to the south of A, and slot C, a further 1.8Om to the
south, were only partial excavation of the upper fills of the ditch. Slot A was 3.10m
wide at the top, and 1.95m deep, from the top of the archaeological layer to it's 'v'
shaped base, in total a 4.40m wide area was excavated and stepped

Slot B was 1.30m wide and 1.56m long, at right angles to the trench edge. Running
along the eastern edge, the angular cut for the inner enclosure ditch [007] was
identified. Identical to that within slot A, the ditch is cut into plated bedrock and
quickly descends in a steep angle towards the centre of the ditch. Only partially
excavated for reasons of space and health and safety, the maximum depth achieved
was 0.42m.

Slot C was 1.30m wide and 0.72m long, at right angles to the trench edge and almost
identical in results to those found within section B. Both sections possessed identical
fill and layer morphology to that identified within the main slot A. Any dateable
material recovered from these sections was grouped together under the relating fills of
[007].

In profile the ditch is unlike those seen in Trench 1 and Trench 18 in that it does not
possess a wide flat base, however it does have a large irregular 'v' shaped base cut
into the angular bedrock. The trench is cut into the natural bedrock and as a result
the immediate direction of the ditch is dictated by the natural fractures within the
bedrock, these fractures are different from those in trench 1 and trench 18 where the
plated bedrock was flat whereas, within this trench the plates occur at approximately
30 degrees toward the base.

The primary and secondary fills of the ditch [007] are (037) and (095) respectively.
These fills contain a relatively high proportion of small to large fragments of sub-
angular sandstone. It is therefore suggested that these were formed naturally, as
material collapsed into the ditch from the sides and possibly the bank or palisade.

The ditch then appears to be re-cut by [088], which cuts into (037) and (095). (031)
the fill of [088] also represents a period of natural silt and stone build up. This in turn
is then re-cut by [089], it is at this point that the deposition of fills within the ditch
section would appear to alter. After an initial period of silting (031), a large deposit
of (022) large angular fractured bedrock was identified, with the stones all tilted at a
30 degree angle. The stones appear to tip into the ditch from the outer side.

University ofManchester Archeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and ZOO5 seasons
of archaeological excavations at MeNor.

Above this there is another smaller tip line present (021), containing a similar type of
stone, however much smaller in size, but respecting the same tip lines and directions
as those identified within (022). The remainder of the ditch is then backfilled with a
considerably less stony fill. Possibly indicative of a period of abandonment, however
this could also represent a period of deliberate levelling of the site.

A small amount of roman pottery was uncovered from the upper most fills of the
ditch, this was, however small in comparison to the amount retrieved from the upper
fills of Trench 18. The lower fills of the ditch contained no finds. 70% of all ditch
fills were hand sieved and produced only small flecks of charcoal and small
unidentifiable fragments of burnt bone. No environmental samples were taken due to
the extremely poor level of organic survival.

The ditch fills (Figure 33) were as follows :-

The uppermost fill of [007] was (020) a dark brown friable sandy loam. Fill (020) had
a maximum depth of 0.40m and lay immediately below the subsoil. Occasional
angular and sub angular material ranging from 0 - 0.10m were present along with
occasional flecks of charcoal. Multiple fragments of Roman pottery were recovered
from this fill.

Fill (021) was a friable middark brown grey clay silt containing very frequent large
angular 0 - 0.20111 stones, occasional charcoal flecks and occasional small un-
diagnostic flecks of burnt bone, with a maximum depth of 0.25m, containing a few
sherds of Roman pottery.

Fill (022) consisted of a compact dark grey silty sand containing very frequent large
angular and sub-angular 0 - 0.50m stones sitting in a horizontal position, along with
occasional flecks of charcoal and a maximum depth of 0.22m, containing a few
sherds of Roman pottery.

Fill (031) was a friable light brownish grey silty sand containing frequent 0-0.20m
angular and sub-angular stones and a maximum depth of 0.40m. No finds were
recovered from this fill.

The primary fill (037) was a fiiable light brown silty sand consisting of over 80% 0-
0.20m angular stones, with a maximum depth of 0.45m. No finds were recovered
from this fill.

Fill (092) constituted a friable mid brown sandy loam containing very few 0-0.05m
rounded inclusions existing to a maximum depth of 0.14m. No finds were recovered
from this fill.

Fill (093) consisted of a re-deposited natural layer of coarse light orangey brown
sandy silt, with a maximum depth of 0.10m and being predominantly made up of
small rounded 0-2mm stones. No finds were recovered from this fill.

Fill (094) was a friable light brown sandy loam with a maximum depth of 0.20m and
containing very few stone inclusions.

Universiry of Manchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005,
Report on the 2004 and2005 seasons
of archaeological ercavorions at Mellor.

Fill (095) was a friable mid brown sandy loam containing frequent 0-lOmm rounded
inclusions and a maximum depth of 0.15111.

Fill (096) was compact light grey sandy clay containing frequent regular rounded and
sub-angular 0-20mm inclusions and a maximum depth of 0.20111.

Discussion

The excavation of the slot A across [007] has shown that the ditch does indeed
continue unbroken between Trenches 1 and 2. Yet again the inner enclosure ditch is a
substantial feature and would have been 0.76111 deeper that identified in Trench 1. The
main difference is the profile of the original cut; where Trench 1 possessed regular
cut sloping sides onto a flat base in slot A, in the distance of 8.50m the profile the
ditch in slot A becomes more 'v' shaped, possessing angular undulating fractures
within the bedrock and as a result step sloping sides and an undulating narrow base.

The difference between the two separately excavated ditch sections, Trench 2 and
Trench 18 is that the fractures within the bedrock are entirely different, within Trench
1 and 18 the bedrock was plated horizontally, therefore it would have been extremely
easy to cut a trench down onto a flat base and keep very regular sides, whereas if the
plating is at a steep angle, such as that found within trench 33, then it becomes almost
impossible to excavate a neat flat bottomed ditch. The direction of the ditch in the
immediate locale appears to follow the paths allowed by the natural solid bedrock,
and therefore the ditch follows the direction of the fractures for as long as is possible,
until the direction of the ditch becomes the overriding concern.

The two re-cuts of the ditch would appear to represent large scale maintenance of the
ditch, cleaning and reinstating as needed. However it would appear that after an initial
period during which fill (022) accumulated, a deliberate phase of backfilling occurs
after the re-cut [089]. This may relate to the suspected deliberate phase of backfilling
identified previously within trench 18 and possible closure of the ditch at some point
during the 4" Century AD in Trench 33. The levels and deposits of this period of
backfilling are almost identical in nature to those found within Trench 18. They
would seem to demonstrate a wholesale deliberate backfilling of the ditch at a similar
time along its entire length. The presence of such large and frequent fragments of re-
deposited angular sandstone stones would indicate the possibility the deliberate
destruction of a wall or structure which would have stood on the internal edge of the
ditch maybe even the remains of a rampart.

The discovery of a large amount of Roman artefacts recovered from Trench 18, and
in particular, their form of deposition, suggests that material was tipped into the ditch
and combined with the charcoal and daub, hints that such rubbish deposition could be
associated with the main abandonment of the site in the 4" century AD. The
differences in quantity and quality of Roman pottery recovered from Trench 18, in
comparison to Trenches 1 and 33, indicate that settlement in the Roman period may
have been concentrated towards the eastern end of Area A.

The continuation of the ditch proves that there was no entrance way located on the
western side of the inner enclosure ditch. Due to the difference in material recovered
from the excavation of the different trenches across the inner enclosure ditch, and its

University of Manchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Repor1 on (he 2004 a d 2 0 0 5 seasons
of archaealogicol excavations 01A4eNor.

continued presence within the Old Vicarage garden, there is a strong possibility that
the entrance way would have been located to the east, near Trench 18, and therefore
taking advantage of the natural flat area of land, as the hilltop begins to rise.

8.1.2 Palisade slot

During the summer of 1999, the excavation of Trench 2 and its subsequent extensions
a, b, and c in 2000, identified the remains of a vertical sided and flat based linear
feature [2005]. Interpretations at the time included a palisadelrampart slot or a beam
slot for a possible building foundation. The Trench 1 extension was designed to
identify the presence of a palisade slot associated with the ditch, this could be for two
reasons, it does not exist at this point of the ditch, or that due to the small width of the
trench and the bedrock infill of the palisade slot, identification of this feature would
have been very difficult. The positioning of Trench 33 over and around Trench 2 and
its extensions allowed for a re-assessment as to the extent of this feature.

In 2005, the earlier excavated slots across the palisade slot were re-excavated and
analysed. The feature was identified running from the southern trench edge in a
northerly direction for 7.10m. It was approximately 0.60m wide and 0.20-0.30m deep.
The palisade was found to consist of near vertical edges and a flat base and filled with
large 0-0.30m angular stone packing material.

The northern extent of the palisade slot [055] was characterised by a circular terminus.
Projecting this line further to the north the remains of a small rock cut gully [097],
parallel to the ditch, was identified protruding from the northern trench edge and
running under the unexcavated area surrounding the small tree, where it did not
emerge from the other side. The dimensions of this feature are 0.10m wide, 0.15m
deep and 1.15m long.

Discussion

It is tempting to see these two linear features as related and forming parts of the same
palisade slot, with a possible gap in between. If this were the case then it may explain
the reason for why the western alignment of postholes occurs in this area. With the
group of post holes arching slightly offset fiom the terminal end of the palisade slot.
The gap in the palisade would allow for access into the ditch, possibly for cleaning
and maintenance. This could not be the main entrance into the inner enclosure ditch
because it is known to continue uninterrupted in this immediate area. This leaves the
only possibility of an entrance way as a bridge over an uninterrupted ditch. There is a
possibility that the palisade slot does continue, but due to the more solid bedrock
natural that is encountered within this area the slot was shallower and therefore is not
archaeologically visible. The continuation of the palisade slot indicates that the
absence of any such feature continuing parallel to the ditch within the Trench 1
excavations could be due to the small 0.30m wide slot and as a result the subtle
differences between the fractured bedrock and the cut for the palisade slot would not
be overwhelmingly obvious in such a small section.

Universily of Manchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavations at Mellor.

8.1.3 Post pits

A total of three post pits were identified, [OOI], [Oll] and [032]. All were found
located towards the central eastern portion of the trench. [OOl] was an irregular sub
circular post pit, half sectioned and cut into bedrock to the eastern edge of the feature,
and towards the west cut into fractured bedrock, sloping steeply onto a flat circular,
base. Measuring 1.35m in diameter and 0.52m deep, a 0.60m wide central post pipe
was identified, surrounded by dark brown silty sand fills containing a number of large
<0.35m solid angular packing stones. A single sherd of a sandy ware pottery was
recovered from the upper portion of the post pipe, in the form of hollow ware and
dating to the medieval period.

To the south [032] was a similar irregular sub-circular post pit, 0.13m wide and
0.45m deep. A 0.30m wide vertical post pipe within the central to western portion of
the pit was half sectioned to reveal a significant deposit of <0.20m angular stone
packing placed around the post. Fully excavated to show the full extent of the pipe,
the post pit was then half sectioned to reveal irregular sloping sides cut from the
fractured bedrock onto a flat circular base. No dateable archaeological artefacts were
recovered from this feature.

To the east of [032], post pit [Ol 11 was constructed in a similar form to that of [032]
and measured 1.40m in diameter and 0.61m deep. Containing a 0.40m wide post pipe,
the pit appears to have been predominantly filled with re-deposited natural material
similar to that surrounding the pit. From the lower portion of this fill a small fragment
of a fine gritty ware was recovered, in a hollow ware form and dating from the late
11" to early 1 3 ' ~centuries. Close by but located within an unstratified deposit, a
single sherd of a buff gritty ware jar 1 cooking pot was recovered, dating from the
same period.

Discussion

The presence of these three post pits indicates a possible relationship with those
identified that found in the Trench1 extension and those identified within trench 35.
It is entirely possible that they all relate to one larger structure, the extent of which is
currently unknown, or that they relate to a separate structure, possibly a small four
post structure standing independently of those in trench 35. However it would appear
that the dating of two fragments of pottery recovered from [OOl] and [Oll] and the
unstratified fragment, would indicate a similar date in origin to those identified within
trench 35.

If they do relate, then the expected alignment would be a north east, south west
alignment, taking into account the average spacing between them this would allow for
a postulation of a further post pit to be located in the far north eastern comer of the
trench. However only a single posthole was present, and raises the possibility that the
there may have been no need for a pit. It is certain, due to the solid bedrock that there
are no post pits to the immediate south, and raises the possibility that this is the
furthest extent of the building.

There were flat areas of apparently shaped bedrock, but containing no relevant depth,
near the post pits in Trench 33. There is the possibility that such features could

Universip of Manckester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Raporl on the 2004 ond 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavoriom of Mellor.

provide support for post which may have been present, these would have been very
low load bearing posts. Similar features identified within Trench 35 such as [035] are
very shallow, is the requirement for these that the need a flat solid base? Throughout
the excavations in the garden it has proved difficult to identify the smaller features,
one reason for this, other than the mixed and complicated undulating angular stone
natural is that these features may have only needed to have been relatively small, and
therefore as soon as bedrock was reached, excavation stopped, providing little if no
evidence of their presence within the archaeological record.

8.1.4 Post hole alignments

Within the north eastern extent of the trench lies an alignment of four post holes in a
north north west and south south east direction. The four [080], [041], [089] and [018]
are all slightly different in form. The most northerly [080] was very shallow, 0.03m,
0.35m in diameter and cut into a plate of bedrock with vertical sides and a flat base.
The second [041] was oval in shape, 0.58m long, 0.38m wide and 0.15m deep, cut
into the bedrock. This had vertical sides and large angular vertical packing stones
surrounding a central fill. The third and fourth, [089] and [018] were identical in
nature; circular, c.0.35m in diameter with undulating steep sides forming rounded
bases at a depth of c. 0.20m.

Within the western portion of the trench, in between the inner enclosure ditch and the
palisade slot, a group of six post holes are aligned roughly parallel to the inner edge
of the ditch: [099], [047], [053], [061], [064] and [060]. They are all very similar in
nature, only varying in diameter from 0.37m to 0.47m and in depth from 0.13m to
0.19m. All were sub-circular with irregular undulating sides gently sloping into
rounded bases.

Discussion

Due to their relative alignments with each other, it is assumed that the fust four post
holes described above are part of the same structure. It is not clear if the alignment of
posts would have been anything other than just four posts in a line, however it is more
likely that the other associated post holes remain to be discovered. The alignment is
not parallel or at right angles to any other group of features identified within the
immediate area of the garden, therefore the interpretation as to the use and potential
date of the alignment must be independent of surrounding features. No dating can be
implied from these post holes due to the absence of dateable material recovered
during excavation.

It can be inferred that all six of these postholes within the second alignment relate to
each other to fonn part of a larger feature. Possible interpretations for this structure
must include a reference to the similarity in the orientation of the post holes in
relation to that of the ditch. It is possible that such a series of posts are associated with
a possible bank on the inner side of the ditch, holding that bank in place, or due to the
apparent abrupt end to the palisade slot, be evidence for a small overlapping gap in
the bank or palisade to allow for access into the ditch. A further possibility is that
they do not relate to the Iron Age ditch and subsequent periods at all and that, as the
alignment does follow the same orientation as the possible medieval post pits
identified within Trench 35, it is entirely feasible that they are associated with the

University of Monchesler Archoeologicol Unil


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeologica~excavations at A4ellor.

medieval building or be part of an entirely separate structure. Similar to the other


posthole alignment in this trench, no dating evidence was recovered from any of these
post holes.

The original construction of these rock cut features is primarily concerned with the
identification of a fracture within the bedrock, the bedrock is then smashed with a
hand held rock at this point of least resistance. The area is then expanded by
removing the bedrock plates as they fracture off to the required shape. It is expected
that the post pits remain a particular shape and size, not only to fit the post but as an
accessible size to dig in a circular motion from within.

8.1.5 1 9 ' ~Century Horticultural Trenches.

To the south of the trench a series of four parallel gullies were identified. These
trenches are approximately 6.29m in length and 0.37m wide c.0.05m between each
one and orientated in an north north west - south south east direction. The depth of
these trenches was c.0.05m and were all filled with a dark brown sandy loam,
possessing a high organic content. It is possible to state that these features originate
from the early 19'~century due to the range of pottery and clay pipes that were
recovered from their respective fills. Within the trench edge cuts into the topsoil for
these features can be seen in section, starting at a depth of c.0.20m below the present
ground surface. It is known that trenches of this depth are dug for the growing of
various types of vegetables, what is not clear however is why they dug down into the
fractured bedrock, for the sake of a further 0.05-0.10m.

Universiy of Manchester Archaeological Unil


December 2005.
Report on he 2 W ond 2W5 s e a m
of arrhaeolegical a c ~ o l t o n rat MdIor
Fipre 28: Inner enclosure ditch, [007], within Trench 33, looking south.

Figure 29: Trench 33, post pit [Oil], showing post pipe to the west, looking nonh
east.

Uniwrsiry of Manchutcr Archaeologkd Unit


Lkcenthr 20DS.
Figure 30: Trench 33,stone packed post hole [099] looking North West.

Figure 31: Trench 33:volu11teem assisting with the excavation.


Figure 32: Medieval armw head. X-ray before conservation and removal at base and
after conservation and stabilisation above. Found within Trench 35, I0651 (066).

University of M~ehcsrerA r c ~ i c r r Unit


l
Deccmbzr 2005.
Repmi on & ZOO#and 2 W S semom
o f o n h o m ~ i c a c~favolionr
l ur Mellor.

Npre 33: An enlarged plan of the geophysical analysis of the eastern extent of Area
A, conducted by Chquest Associates.

Oniwrsiry ofMomkcater A r o Onif


December ZOOS.
O W 05

-
Trench 33
Plan
Om

N+
Im

Figure 34: Plan of trench 33.


Repon on the 20W and ZOO5 seaJ01U
of archaeological cr~nvarionra1 Mcllor.

Figure 35: Combined plan of the Trenches excavated within the Old Vicarage Garden, Area A, Including TRnches: 1, lext, 2.33.34 and 35.

University ofManChester A t r k o l o g k a l Unit


Decmbar 2005.
Repon on h e 20W and NX)S seavons
of urchueologicul acuvorionr at Mrllor

Figure 36: Trench 33 sections A- G.


Report on rhe 2001 and 2005 seasom
of archaeological e x c a v a r i o ~or Mellor.

8.2 Trench 34

Figures: 37 and 38

Located 3.25m directly to the south of Trench 35, this trench was placed to identify
any archaeological features relating to settlement found located within the interior of
the inner ditch. Trench 34 was 3.00m wide by 5.75m long and 0.25m deep removal of
topsoil and subsoil exposed a large area of mixed natural, containing plated bedrock,
fractured bedrock and a mottled silty natural. Two archaeological features were
identified and excavated.

8.2.1 Post pits

Running into the eastern edge of the trench a small sub-circular pit was located and
half sectioned at right angles to the trench edge. [084] was filled by a mid-brown silty
loam containing a possible post pipe 0.24 m wide, towards the western extent of the
post pit, consisting of a dark brown silty fill. No archaeological dateable material was
recovered from this feature.

Located towards the northern end of the trench an irregular circular post pit [082] was
identified, excavated in quadrants due to the uncertain nature of the fills and the
surrounding natural, and finally fully excavated. The pit, an irregularly oval in shape,
with undulating sloping sides, was cut into the natural fractured bedrock and
possessed an uneven base. The fills consisted predominantly of light-mid brown silty
sands containing frequent small angular stone fragments consistent with re-deposited
smashed sandstone.

Discussion

The two possible post pits [084] and [028] may be associated to those identified
within Trench 35, however they do not appear to relate to the alignment found in
Trench 35. Either because the post pits are of a different period or phase, or relate to
a completely different structure. They may represent the most southerly elements of
two further rows of post pits running parallel to and north of those found within
Trench 35, and that together they form part of a large group or structure. Further
excavation of the remaining areas within the garden could identify the components
and limits of such a structure.

Universiw of Manchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Flgare 37: Trench 34, looking north.
Figare 38: Plan of trench 34.

I
Vnimity ojMonckcrta Atckuhgical Unir
DQcmrbrr ZOOS.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavarions at Mellor.

8.3 Trench 35

Figures: 39,40,41,42,42,43 and 44.

Trench 35 was positioned 4.34m to the west of Trench 33 and c1.00m immediately
south of post pit [035], identified within the extension of Trench 1 excavated in 2000.
The trench was specifically placed in order to evaluate the potential presence of
further archaeological features within the surrounding area that would relate to and
assist in the interpretation of post pit [035] and identify the archaeological period
which the feature belongs and if this relates to part of a larger more significant
structure, as yet undefined. The trench itself had to be expanded on several occasions
to expose the entirety of certain features and concluded approximately 10.7m in
length by 3.20m wide.

Geological levels were encountered at a depth of 0.42m below ground level in Trench
35. It was very similar to that located in Trench 33, with fractured bedrock towards
the south and solid plates of bedrock in the northern half.

The trench identified four large post pits, three postholes and a possible beam slot,
together with a previous test pit. The pits form a north north east to south south west
alignment, of which [035] forms the northern most and [079] the southern most
identified excavated limits of the structure.

83.1 Post pits

Post pit [013] was a sub-circular in shape and measured 0.96111 by 1.00m by 0.36m
deep. It had steep sides cut into the natural bedrock and a plated base and containing
a c.0.41m wide post pipe. The post pipe was made up of loose dark silty loams
containing occasional fragments of charcoal and angular fragments of stone whilst the
remaining packing fills predominantly consisted of large angular inclusions of re-
deposited smashed bedrock. Originally half sectioned and later fully excavated, the pit
is cut by a smaller sub-circular posthole [109] located to the southwest extent of the
post pit. A single large square headed iron nail, possibly medieval in origin was
identified within the lower fill of the post pit and no other archaeological artefacts
were recovered from the posthole.

Post pit [033] was a sub-circular post-pit cut out of the plated bedrock, 0.90111 by
0.80m by 0.15m deep onto a flat bedrock base, and containing evidence for a 0.37111
wide post pipe towards the western edge. The northern-most edge was formed from a
natural east-west running fissure in the plated bedrock. The post pipe contained a dark
organic fill with occasional charcoal fragments and packed with large angular
fragments of broken plated sandstone. Two sherds of 13" -15" century medieval
pottery were recovered from the lower fill within the pit, initially half sectioned and
iastly fully excavated.

Post pit [065] was an irregular semi-circular post pit cut out of plated bedrock, 1.30m
by 1.22m by 0.30m deep onto a flat bedrock base and containing the remains of a
0.32m wide post pipe within the centre of the pit. Originally half sectioned, then
quarter sectioned and then totally excavated to reveal a small circular rock cut 0.38111
wide and O.14m deep [078], cut into the base of the post pit. Within (066), the upper

Universiy of Munchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Reporr on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
ofarchaeological excwafionr a1 MeNor.

fill of [065] a 74 mm long iron socketed arrowhead was recovered. A charcoal sample
taken from the surrounding fill produced a date of 1000 to 1250 cal AD (Beta-209508,
2 sigmas).

Post pit [079] was a sub-circular post pit cut out of the plated bedrock, 1.21m by
1.22m by 0.47m deep with steep regular sloping sides onto a flat bedrock base, and
containing the remains of a 0.32m wide post pipe within the centre of the pit. The
post pipe consisted of greyish brown silty sand and was surrounded by a single fill
consisting of very frequent angular and sub angular 0-0.20m sandstone plates within a
compact greyish yellow silt. Within the post pit three fragments of pottery were
uncovered, the first was a fine gritty ware sherd dated to the late 1 l h to early 1 3 ' ~
centuries, the second was an unidentified fragment of fired clay. Within the post pipe
itself a base fragment of an oxidised sandy ware piece of pottery in a hollow ware
form and dated to the later medieval period was recovered.

8.3.2 Post holes

Post hole [035], 0.30m in diameter and 0.13m deep was circular in nature and cut into
the natural plated bedrock, similar to the surrounding features, with sloping sides and
a flat circular base. Filled with a loose dark brown silty loam the post hole possessed
no archaeological artefact or dateable evidence.

8.3.3 Gullies

Feature [057] ran in an NE-SW direction, between 0.60m and 0.90m in width, 0.27m
deep and excavated to a length of 2.75m. The full extent of the feature is unknown as
the southern limit runs into the section, beneath a large tree within the garden.
Originally cut through the plated bedrock to a flat base, 221.03m AOD, in a similar
fashion to the surrounding features, [057] is defined by the presence of three postholes
located at 0.30m intervals, c.0.60m in diameter. The lower fill contained two objects,
one a small hoped metal clasp 41mm long and another flat unidentifiable object
56mm long with a small 5mm hole in one end.

Discussion

Taking all post pits identified within Trench 35 into account, one of the most
intriguing aspects is the difference in absolute levels of the bases of the post pits.
Three are very similar in level, however one [033] is substantially shallower by 0.25-
0.30m and [035] is deeper by a similar amount. This raises the possibility that these
post pits did not have to be constructed at the same levels. Leaving the possibility that
the requirement for the pits was that they were adequately formed in order to provide
a small depth and a flat, solid base. When looking at the overall form of the post pits
they appear to be slightly bowed, a comparable medieval building has been identified
at Tatton Park. However when the position of the post pipes within the post pits is
taken into account then they form an absolute straight line, suggesting that the size of
the pits in relation to the post themselves is not the

The dateable evidence recovered from this trench and that in the surrounding trenches
points towards an occupational structure being present on the site from the medieval
period and possibly standing until the later medieval period. Taking the later dated

a Universiry of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
ofarchaeological excavations a1 Mellor.

pottery that came from the post pipe itself it is possible to state that the post had either
rotted or been removed at this point, therefore the structure could possibly be no
longer in use by the late medieval period. The remaining fragment of burnt clay could
be a multitude of items, ranging from pottery, to a possible clay walling of the
structure, or a fragment associated with a hearth.

As to the type and use of the structure it is impossible to accurately conduct a full
assessment without knowing the potential layout of the whole structure. However
early indications would point towards

Within Trench 35 was an early test pit, and also a long section of 0.20m wide fracture
within the bedrock, which although looking like a beam slot is only natural. The beam
slot within Trench 35 is puzzling as the finds are probably contemporary with the post
pit structure, although the angle is offset with the post pits and it does not protrude
into Trench 33.

Further excavation around the remaining unexcavated areas within the Old Vicarage
garden would assist in providing an adequate ground plan of the structure and
therefore greatly assist in the interpretation of the buildings function and the size and
type of the structure.

Universiry of Manchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Ilnhrrrirj,d--ud Unit
Lkcenbrrm.
Figure 40: Trench 35. Posthole [035], cut into bedrock, looking north.

Fitpre 41: Trench 35. Post pit [079] looking ovemead to west

Unhursity aManchutsr Amhdogical Unit


lkranbsr 2005.
FIOmc 42: Tnnch 35. hatholegully [WI,lodug south west.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasons
ofarchaeological excmarions or A4eIlor.

5.4 Trench 36

Figures: 45,46,47,48,49, 50,51 and 52.

Trench 36 continues the process of large, open area excavation within Area C, and
forms, together with Trench 26, the largest area excavated upon the hilltop. The
trench was designed to answer four principle questions; firstly, to identify the
remaining extent of the multiple roundhouse drip gullies identified within Trench 26.
Secondly, to establish if the separate zoning of the gullies and postholes continues
towards the opposite side of the roundhouses. Thirdly, by exposing the proposed
south-east portion of the gullies, produce the expected and standardised entranceway
into the roundhouses. Finally and most significantly, to investigate the immediate
area surrounding the discovery of the Bronze Age dagger in 2004. The 2004
excavation around this area was halted upon discovery of the object in order to allow
for an appropriately sized area and strategy to be incorporated into the 2005 season.

Trench 36 was unusual in plan, sub-L-shaped, and designed to maximise the use of
potential areas available for archaeological investigation. Positioned directly abutting
the eastern edge of the previous excavation, Trench 26, and providing a large area
surrounding the copse of trees within Area C. The main body of the trench was sub-
triangular in shape and measured 15.41-16.91m east-west and 4.58-1 3.50m north
south, with its shortest axis at the western end. The extension ran towards the
driveway and measured 7.01-8.66111 north-south and 4.33-6.60111 east-west with a 3.00
by 1.5m wide trench extension.

The turf and friable, dark brownish grey humic silt clay topsoil and mid-brown silty
clay subsoil were carefully removed by a six tonne machine with a ditching bucket,
under the constant supervision of a professional archaeologist. During excavation
both layers produced numerous items of 18" -20" century material, including pottery,
clay pipe stems, glass and ferrous objects. As with Trench 26, immediately beneath
this the subsoil was a layer of wet mid-greyish brown clay silt, identical to (781) in
Trench 26, in that it contained a high percentage of small-medium sandstone
inclusions. This layer is the interface between the natural clay geology below and the
humic soils above. No finds were recovered from this layer.

The natural geology is identical to that identified elsewhere within Area C; a compact
reddish brown boulder clay.

Trench 36 revealed a complex and very densely packed arrangement of inter-cutting


features. The majority of archaeological features were typically denoted by their dark
upper fills and frequent presence of small - medium sandstone inclusions. Due to the
complexity of the multi inter-cutting features, identification of individual features and
potential extents relied upon frequent and regular re-cleaning of the targeted areas.

Due to the density of the archaeology within Trench 26, this section is broken up into
feature types, i.e. gullies, postholes, pits and stake holes, where possible relationships
exists between features of a different nature then these are commented upon.

Universiry ofMonchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Reporr on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
o/archaeological excavations at Mellor.

As the level of exposure within Area C is much greater than that of 2004, results and
interpretations have subsequently developed, been refined and some have changed
considerably from the discussions relating to the Trench 26.

5.4.1 Gullies

A total of 9 gullies were discovered during the excavation of Trench 36. All of which
are located to the western end of the trench and its shorter arm. Due to the inter
cutting nature of these features it initially proved difficult to establish individual
gullies, therefore many were assigned more than one context during the excavation.
Wherever possible, gullies that appear to be continuations of those located in Trench
26 are identified as such.

The terminal end of gully [251] was located towards the northern extent of the trench
and in close proximity to the inter cutting pits. The extent of the gully was identified
throughout the various parts of the trench extensions and is a continuation of [638]
located in trench 26. Heavily packed with large stone inclusions, the light grey silty
clay contained occasional fragments of charcoal and burnt bone fragments. In profile
the gully was relatively shallow 0.23111 and averaged 0.50 - 0.55m wide. The gully
was excavated at three points across its extent and found to cut gully [364]. Within
the southern trench extension, the gully was cut by two unrelated postholes [322] and
[341]. Overall the feature measwedl2.6m in diameter, with its north-eastem extent
running out of the excavated area.

Feature [203] was a small sub circular gully, originating close to the inter-cutting pits
in the northern portion of the trench. This gully was found to be a continuation of
gully OVM04 [656] and formed a semi-circular enclosure with a diameter of 8.80m.
The gully is not regular in shape and shows signs of distortion towards its south
western extent. The eastern terminal end is much thinner than that identified to the
east, 0.42m and 0.79m respectively. In profile the gully contained undulating sloping
sides and a rounded base, and was 0.25m deep. The primary fill was a pale grey silty
clay containing frequent inclusions of angular and sub-angular 0-15cm sandstones and
the secondary a mid-brown silty clay with similar inclusions and occasional charcoal
flecks were identified within both fills; however, no dateable artifactual material was
uncovered from this gully. A 2.00m long section was excavated over the eastern
terminal end and a further 1.00m wide section further to the south. The gully cuts a
number of other gullies, [361] and [363], and is cut by [552] and [743]. Identification
of any associated postholes was hindered by the extensive inter-cutting nature of the
gullies and homogenous upper layer of the repetitively inter-cutting pits.

Within the southern extension of Trench 36 a gully terminus was identified [231], cut
by gully [320]. [231] is only identifiable through the section placed over the terminus.
This feature appears to be a continuation of OVM04 [565], and would therefore be
another semi-circular gully, similar in nature to [203] and [251] and consists of an
identical fill. The gully was approximately 6.3m in diameter, 0.55m wide and 0.40m
deep. No archaeological material was recovered from this feature.

The partial remains of another similar semi-circular gully were identified, running
into the eastern trench edge and found to be a continuation of OVM04 [552]. This
feature was not excavated during the 2005 season. However in total the diameter

Universiry o/Manchesrer Archaeological Unil


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
oforchoeological excavarions ar A4cNor.

measured 8.4m and appeared to show two definite terminal ends. It cut gullies [320]
[23 11 and appears to be the latest of this particular type of feature.

Within the southern extension of Trench 36, gully OVM04 [743] was identified and
continued for a distance of 0.40m from the trench edge in a south-easterly direction
before stopping. As the majority of this feature was excavated during the 2004
season, no excavation of this gully continued during the 2005 season.
Stratigraphically the feature cuts gullies 15521 and [203].

During the excavation of the slot across the area located against the eastern trench
section a total of seven inter cutting gullies were identified, of which two have already
been discussed [251] and [23 11. The remaining gullies [354] [355] [356] [357] [358]
were identified within this small trench.

Further gullies were present at the edge between Trench 26 and Trench 36, however it
was not possible to follow them as they were cut by the area of inter cutting pits
located to the north. Covering the entire area of the southern arm of the trench is a
deposit of light-mid grey silty clay, 0.10m deep, containing frequent deposits of
irregular sized sandstone deposits (447). This layer is a continuation of the same
located within Trench 26. Only after careful removal of this layer are the underlying
features visible.

Discussion

The presence of layer (447) makes identification of the underlying features difficult
and subsequent removal of this layer reveals the underlying archaeological features.
The complexity of the surviving archaeology within the area is staggering in that a
large portion survives but is complicated by the subsequent inter-cutting nature of the
gullies. The form in plan and section of these gullies shows multiple features of
differing forms. Taking the 2004 results into account there are four different
categories into which these can be positioned.

The first is a large circular gully, [251], can be classed as a drip gully of a round
house. If subsequent excavation proves this feature to be hlly circular then the
identification of a terminal end within Trench 36 would indicate a north-east facing
entranceway into the structure. If this is a form of round house, then the presence of
an entrance way to the north-east is unusual compared to round houses from
alternative sites, whose entrances tend to face in a south-easterly direction. It is
expected that this is not the case for [251] due to the typological nature of the
immediate area. A south east facing section would place this in direct line of the usual
prevailing wind direction but by moving to the north-east this problem is avoided.

However, there is the possibility that this represents the remains, not of a round house,
but, due to the high fractured stone content, the kerb of a burial mound. This
interpretation would tie in with the discovery of the Bronze Age flint dagger, placed
on the natural ground surface encompassed within the feature possibly suggesting the
ritual deposition of the dagger. If classified as a burial mound, then a burial would be
expected within the centre of the structure, the location of which would be within the
area of the inter-cutting pits, and therefore, at present, excavation has not been
conducted over this particular area.

Universiry of Manchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavations nt Mellor.

The second type of gully arrangement is characteristically semi-circular in plan. A


total of three have been identified, [231], [203] and [364], and there is the potential
for more of the gullies to be classed within the same grouping but which cannot be
immediately placed within these as their complete extent and form is as yet unknown.
All three are semi-circular in form and are arranged in the same orientation, the gully
to the south and the opened side to the north. Provisional interpretation is that these
features are not roundhouse gullies and could be earlier settlement structures, but
more probably animal enclosures. All three stratigraphically predate the largest,
complete gully [251], and cannot be present at the same time as they cut each other.

The remainder of the gullies cannot be classed as either at this point, as the excavation
does not identify their true form. The area exposed within Trench 26 and 36 does
show that the notion of zones of occupation can still be upheld, and that this
immediate area contains multiple examples of occupational usage over a prolonged
period of time, indicating that the area itself was particularly important in relevance to
its particular usage. Areas without occupational structural features, such as those to
the west would have been separated by use and remain as important to the
archaeological records as those with continuous re-use.

5.4.2 Pits

Within Trench 36 a large collection of inter-cutting pits were uncovered. These are a
continuation of those identified within the north eastern extent of Trench 26. In plan
the pits appeared to be one homogenous irregular layer, consisting of a mid-dark grey
silty clay containing frequent rounded and sub-rounded inclusions. The extent of the
swathe of pits continues in a north-east to south-west orientation and measures
c. 16.5m long and c.4.10m wide. To the south the pits cease c. 2.56m from the Trench
26 southern edge, and continue into the Trench 36 northern edge.

During the 2005 excavations four slots were placed over the single mass. The first,
alongside the northern trench edge and at the pits' eastern most-extent, was 1.20m
long by 1.00m wide and excavated to a depth of c.0.20m. Identified within were the
remains of four irregular inter-cutting pits, ranging in size from 0.60m wide to 1.30m
wide and all containing frequent amounts of rounded and sub rounded sandstone
inclusions. No dateable material was recovered from this area.

The second slot, located alongside the northern trench edge towards the centre,
produced evidence of three inter-cutting pits, [209], [210] and [212] measuring
between 1.00m and 1.8m in width and containing frequent deposits of rounded and
sub-rounded sandstone inclusions.

The third, located towards the centre of the trench, was 1.50m by 0.90m and designed
to establish if gully [251] continued beneath the pits. A further three pits 0.90111 in
width were identified containing frequent deposits of rounded and sub rounded
sandstone inclusions. The pits did not cut[25 11.

The forth, was a re-excavation and realignment of the section over the pits within the
trench 26 extension and revealed nine inter-cutting pits of assorted sizes.

Universip of Monchesler Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasom
of archaeological excwations a1 A4ellor.

Compared to other pits excavated upon the site, the universally high frequency of fire
cracked pebbles contained within the fills is highly unusual. A strategy of sampling
was introduced in order to evaluate the quantity and type of material that was
contained in a proportionate sample of the pits excavated. As the identification of the
pits was difficult during excavation, the stone inclusions were saved from the
respective sections. [219], [250], [249] contained a total of 504 individual stones,
which produced a weight of 41.00kg, of which 605 were sub-rounded and 405 sub-
angular. A total of 70 % of these were fire cracked in form, the smallest measuring
0.05m x 0.03m x 0.05m

Pits [331], [332], [333] and [334] contained a total of 216 individual stones,
producing a total weight of 47.00kg, of which 60% were sub-angular and 40% sub-
angular. A total of 20% were in fire cracked form, the smallest measuring 0.01m x
0.01m x 0.02m and the largest measuring 0.15m x 0.12m x 0.05m.

Pits [361], [362], [364] and [365] contained a total of 194 individual stones,
producing a total weight of 74.00kg, of which 70% were sub-angular and 30% sub-
angular. A total of 85% were in fire cracked form, the smallest measuring 0.01m x
0.02m x 0.03m and the largest measuring 0.03m x O.l8m x 0.23m.

Discussion

The large series of inter cutting pits revealed within Trench 26 and 36 is a type of use
not discovered in other trenches so far excavated on the Mellor site, and appears to be
localised into this immediate area. If future excavation across the site establishes this
to be the case, then it would suggest that the area held some particular relevance to
their functions. It is conceivable that the close spatial relationship between the pits
and the roundhouse gullies implies that they were associated and belong to a similar
phase. The repeated re cutting of the gullies denotes that the area was occupied and
re-occupied over a substantial period of time, which would therefore account for the
large number of pits and their repeated inter cutting nature.

This could be due to the pits having a function linked with some other activity or
feature in the immediate area, or that the area itself was ideally suited to their
particular purpose. It is important to note the possibility that there is little evidence,
other than a common immediate locale, to suggest that these pits were part of a series
or group. Indeed it is highly probable that individual pits of various dates and
functions lie within a larger group of possibly associated pits. This probability
appears to be supported by the few artefacts recovered from the fills of the excavated
pits. These include flint flakes along with shreds of Romano-British pottery along
with the late Iron Age date recovered from the pitlposthole [283]. The possibility of
re-deposition of artefacts and sample cannot be discounted, particularly due to the
frequent inter cutting nature of these features. It seems likely that they indicate a
repeated and prolonged use of this area over various periods of time for the cutting of
small pits. The questions posed by this are related to the specific purpose of the pits
and the significance of this particular area.

The two questions may not be mutually exclusive. It is possible that the pits were
placed here to exploit the natural resource of the geological boulder clay of the area,
which unlike the majority of the site (which possesses an underlying stone bedrock)

Universiry of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavolions a1 Mellor.

forms a band of natural boulder clay that runs approximately north-east to south-west
through the central portion of the hilltop. The clay could have been utilised for a
number of purposes, including a providing part of the structural integrity to the
roundhouse walls, and would therefore have proved to have been a highly desired
local resource.

No re-deposition of the boulder clay was identified within the fills of the pits. It
appears therefore that the boulder clay was extracted from the pits and utilised or
placed elsewhere. Whilst this may have been part of the pits' function, the nature of
their infill suggests another primary purpose. Each of the pits contained a very high
percentage of small sub-angular and more commonly, sub-rounded stone within their
fills. Many of which were fire reddened and cracked. Stones such as these are
classically known as 'pot boilers' and are associated with the heating and boiling of
water after initially being heated themselves. The impermeable nature of the boulder
clay would have served as an ideal receptacle in which to contain water, into which
stones were immersed after being initially heated. The pits therefore, would appear to
have served a primary purpose connected with the boiling water. Whether this served
a domestic, industrial or ritual purpose is unclear and it is possible that all three could
have been fulfilled at one or more stage. The nature of the stone inclusions assessed
by the sampling produced a remarkable difference in weight. The pits with the
highest portion of fire cracked stone were also the heaviest by a significant
proportion.

The recovery of the Bronze Age flint dagger from Trench 26 may suggest that ritual
activity took place within the area due to this objects funerary associations. Where
pits have been found closely in association with Bronze Age ritual 1 funerary activity
on other sites. The excavations have suggested that they may have been utilised as
saunas connected to a purifying ritual.

In a domestic context, the pits may have been utilised either in the preparation of
food, or to heat water for bathing. Occasional small burnt fragments of bone were
recovered from the fills of the pits and therefore may suggest a connection with the
cooking of food. Similarly, many of the stones from within the pits were volcanic in
origin and ideally suited to a slow release of stored heat which would have proved
beneficial in the cooking process.

An industrial purpose is also a potential explanation for some of the pits. An


unusually high concentration of red ochre was found both in and around the pits
location, which may have been used in the production process of a textile as a dye. It
seems likely therefore based on the above possibilities, that both the pits and the
specific area of Trench 26 and 36, served numerous purposes over a period spanning
some 3000 years. Continuity such as this is a recurrent theme upon the Mellor site
and signifies its importance within the landscape over the ages.

5.43 Postholes

Within trench 36 a number of postholes have been identified, numbering twelve


within the trench. Identification of the postholes is extremely difficult due to the
complexity of the inter-cutting gullies and pits. Many of the postholes were stone
packed and contained flat small to medium sandstone inclusions, which appear to

University of Munchester Archaeological Unil


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavalions a1 Mellor.

have been sat on-edge around the sides of the posthole and it is likely that these would
have acted as packing stones holding up a central post. Post holes of this type were
sub-circular or sub-oval in plan, measuring 0.45 x 0.40m with near vertical sides and a
flat, possibly u-shaped base and an average depth of between 0.20 and 0.30m.

It is particularly difficult to separate the identified post holes into any different uses
and structures as the complexity and multi-period usage of the surrounding features
does not allow for any individual phaseological relationship to be established.

One post hole of particular note was located in the centre of the southern arm,located
inside an arrangement of gullies, [283]. This was sub-circular 0.37m diameter, 0.33m
deep post hole, containing very steep sides and a gently rounded base. The upper fill
(284) consisted of a friable mid-grey clay silt containing occasional small flecks of
charcoal and occasional small sub-angular stone inclusions. The secondary fill
consisted of a friable very dark grey clay silt containing multiple fragments of
charcoal and flecks of burnt bone. Fragments of what appeared to be pottery were
recovered from this fill, later analysis by Dr Chris Cumberpatch pointed towards the
fragments being the waste from an industrial process, possibly metalworking and
maybe parts of a crucible. A charcoal sample was recovered from this fill and
radiocarbon dating produced a calibrated date of BC 190 to 40. (Beta-209510) The
primary fill was a mid-greyish brown firm clay containing occasional flecks of
charcoal; the deposition of this fill was natural, occurring from silting of natural sides
of the posthole.

Discussion

There is a strong possibility that [283] was not a posthole, the quantity of deposited
industrial waste material would suggest that if a post were present this would not have
been possible, therefore the feature could be a small pit, containing the waste material
as a deliberate phase of backfilling or depositioning, providing the possibility of
industrial activity upon the site during the late Iron Age. No other pits of this form and
fill have been identified within the excavated areas of Area C.

The post holes occur across both trenches, covering the entirety. Post holes within the
immediate area of the gullies can possibly be interpreted as being the foundations of
large posts which would have supported the roof of a structure. However, it is almost
impossible to identify particular layouts of these posts, due to the complex inter
cutting nature of the gullies and pits, so that any associated layout is masked. Along
with the possibility that the majority of the postholes are not going to be
contemporary, in that they would relate to each phase of round house and be very
similar in location.

Identification of the post holes in 2004 led to the interpretation of two distinct zones,
one of gullies and one of numerous postholes in between the zones of occupation.
Therefore it was expected that there would have been a significant number of
postholes identified to the east of the gullies. This was found not to be the case, there
were occasional postholes, but not found in the concentrations located to the west of
the gullies. Indicating a possible change of use within the different areas. Is this the
furthest extent of the round houses and settlement, within the confines of the outer

Universiry of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 ond 2005 seosons
of orchoeologicol excwatiom at A4ellor.

enclosure ditch? Or is this an area set aside for a different use, possibly that of
cooking pits?

5.4.4 Stakeholes

A total of 51 stake holes were discovered within Trench 36. These can be
distinguished into three separate groups. First and second are two parallel lines of
stakeholes approximately 1.50m apart, orientated in a north-west, south-east
alignment, The northern most line contains fourteen, whereas the southern line
contains eleven.

Typically the distance between each stake hole is 0.40-0.45m apart and comprises of
small sub circular features, averaging 0.10-0.20m in width and between 0.10m and
0.32m deep and are cut into the natural geology and filled with a friable light-mid
greyish brown silty clay containing no inclusions. The average profile of these
appears to be steep almost vertical sides sloping inwards to form a point at its base.

The remainder of the postholes remain classed as individual features as no apparent


grouping can be assigned to them and therefore they must be classed as separate. It is
expected that these would have formed parts of other groupings but it remains
impossible do differentiate between them.

Discussion

Within the two parallel lines, the stake holes appear to form the original space into
which the steaks had been placed. Due to the nature of the stake holes. It is possible
to state that they would have consisted of roughly circular wooden post with a shaped,
sharpened end. This end is the placed into the ground, by force, not by digging a hole
first. These posts would then become the uprights and more flexible branches would
then be weaved in between these in order to construct a temporary solid wicker fence.

The two parallel lines of stake holes represent two parallel fences that can be related
to each other. In terms of function and use, there are multiple options; firstly these
could be enclosures for containing animals, abutting to the roundhouses. Secondly
they could stand alone, as no stratigraphic relationship can be identified between the
steak holes and the gullies. The stake holes definitely denote a temporary wall,
demarcating a particular area for usage, whether this be for animals, industrial
processes or simply and entranceway into a particular area. The natural clay surface
provides a suitable background against which to identify these, suggesting that these
may be present in other areas which have been excavated, but are not recognised due
to the complexity of the background natural and the surrounding features.

University of Munchester Archoeological Unit


December 2005.
Figure 45: Community volunteers excavating the southern arm of Trench 36.
Figure 47: Nonh east facing section of multiple inter cutting pits located to the north
of Trench 36.

Figure 48:Multiple inter-cutting pits looking north in Trench 36


Repon on h e 200l and 2005 s c ~ o n s
of archomIogicnl ucnvolionr ar Mrllor

Figure 49: Overhead views of fully excavated pit, excavabon produced possible Iron
Age metalworking waste material and an Iron Age carbon date.
Repon on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
of ahomlogical ucovarions ar Mellor.

OVM M
n @ s h33
p(..
lm
- mO
N+

F i r e 50: Plan of Trench 36.

University of MancksferAmhncoiqlcP[ Unil


Ikcember 2aOS.
Rrpon on Ihe 2004 and ZOO5 sepronr
of ~ h o m l o g i c aexcavations
l at Mellor.

Figure 51: Combined plan of the 2004 Trench 26 and the 2005 Trench 36.

Universiiy of Mancluster Amhaeologkal Unit


December ZWS.
Figure 52: Trench 36 section
Reporr on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excavarions ar Mellor.

5.5 Trench 37

In March 2005 the Mellor Archaeological Trust excavated a trial trench against the
boundary wall between Area A and the churchyard of St Thomas's at the east end of
the Old Vicarage garden. The purpose of the trench was to confirm the line of the
large inner ditch south from trenches 18 and 32 and identify the point at which it left
Area A. The trial trench revealed the distinctive fill of the ditch with the fractured
bedrock on either side. It also showed what appeared to be the fill of a smaller linear
feature cutting through the ditch fill. In order to fully examine this relationship and
also to see if the palisade slot could also be detected the trench was extended and re-
examined as Trench 37 during the summer excavation.

Trench 37 ran north to south and measured 7.50m long by 1.50m wide. On excavation
the later feature was seen to be the fill and cut of the water pipe supplying the church.
The extension of the trench to the south revealed the 'tell tale' line of on edge stones
that in Trenches 18 and 31 and 32 had marked the line of the palisade slot. These
again appeared to run parallel to the ditch. The extension also revealed what appears
to be a posthole cut into the bedrock between the palisade slot and the ditch. A
lozenge shaped patch of dark grey soil was visible in the south half of the trench. This
was within the fill of the ditch. It is possible that it simply represents a discrete area of
infilling of the ditch; however, the possibility also exists that it is the fill of a later
feature cutting into the ditch fills. As it is planned to make an extension of Trench 37
the focus of one of the forthcoming summer seasons as these features were not
excavated.

Discussion

Trench 37 successfully proved the continuation of the inner enclosure ditch from
Trench 18 in a south-westerly direction towards the churchyard perimeter. The
identification of the ditch and its associated palisade slot, still parallel to each other,
further enhanced understanding regarding direction and extent of the ditch. It also
shows that at present, that between Trench 37 and 2, there are no further areas within
the vicarage garden available to track the inner enclosure ditch and that further
identification of its exact alignment would require excavation within the graveyard
perimeter. Unlikely to happen, due to the consecrated ground.

Universiry of Manchesrer Archneologicol Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasons
of archaeological excovalions at A4ellor.

5.5 Trench 38

Figures: 53,55 and 56.

Trench 38 was placed in order to assess the potential for the continuation of the outer
enclosure ditch from that identified within trench 30 in a westerly direction towards
the church. Recent geophysical survey of the surrounding area using a magnetometer
to follow the possible location of the ditch allowed for the accurate positioning of
trench 38, as close to the car park wall as feasibly possible, c.3m.

The trench was rectangular in shape, measuring 4.80m by 2.00m and orientated north
south at right angles over the projected geophysical anomaly. The geological make
up of the trench consisted of a fractured bedrock overlying plated bedrock. The
topsoil and subsoil extended to a depth of 0.5 1m.

Located just off centre to the north, a 1.90m wide rock cut ditch was identified [409].
The depth of the excavated feature was 0.95m from the top of the archaeological
layer. The profile of the feature consists of steep sloping sides cut from the bedrock
onto a flat solid base.

The layer morphology of the ditch segment consists of a primary fill of light brown
silty sand, containing frequent inclusions of large angular fragments of re-deposited
natural (410). Towards the northern slope a secondary deposit of light brown silty
sand containing frequent inclusions of 0-0.15m angular plated fragments was
identified (411). Overlain by the main ditch fill (412) consisted of light-mid brown
silty sand with occasional smaller fragments of sub-rounded material. No finds were
recovered from any of the fills within this ditch.

Discussion

Excavation concluded that the outer enclosure ditch does continue in a westerly
direction, in similar form to Trench 30 and can be positively identified up to the car
park. This proves that the geophysical results work particularly well within the outer
field on this side of the hilltop, specifically upon areas of a bedrock background
compared to a clay background as seen in Area D.

5.6 Trench 39

Figures: 54,55 and 56.

Trench 39 was located to the east of trench 30, towards the eastern most wall within
this field, and on top of and at right angles to the furthest extent of the geophysical
anomaly. The trench, rectangular in shape, measuring 8.00m by 2.00m and in a north
south orientation contained the remains of the continuation of the outer enclosure
ditch.
The ditch measured 1.34m wide and 0.65m deep cut into natural bedrock and located
off centre to the north of the trench. Possessing undulating steep sloping sides and a
flat base, the ditch possessed a primary fill of a mixed silty sand containing occasional
angular sandstone £ragments. No dateable material was recovered from this feature.

Universiry of Manchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Rrpon on h e 2 W 4 and 2W5 seasons
of amhamlogical ruavafionr af Mellor.

Figure 53: East facing section of the outer enclosure ditch located in trench 38.

Figure 54: East facing section of the outer enclosure ditch located within trench 39.
Repon on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
o/nrchaeologicol acavntionr or Mellor.

Figure 55: Plans of Trench 38 above and Trench 39 below.

Universiry of Manchester Archeological Unir


December 2005.
Repon on rhe 2004 and 2 W 5 semons
of archaeological ercovdionr ar Mellor.

Figure 56: West facing sections of Trenches 38 and 39, Q and R respectively.

5.8 Trench 40

Figures: 57,58,59,60 and 61

Trench 40 was excavated in November 2005 and located directly over trial trcnches
exposed in 2004 in order to excavate the terminal ends of the possible entranceway of
the outer enclosure ditch. An rectangular area of 3.70111 by 8.60m was de-turfed and
hand excavated down through the previous backfill to the known archaeological
horizon, 1.10rn deep. A 1.50 m wide section was then placed over the eastern
terminal end, the western terminal end was revealed but not excavated. The western
terminal end consisted of a primary silting layer, followed by a large purple-brown
wet clay containing frequent quantities of angular and sub angular material (506),
silting of silty sands then fills the remainder of the ditch. No archaeological dateable
material was recovered from this trench.

Discussion

The identification of the two sections of ditches, are significant in that they are the
same ditch, the outer enclosure ditch, and that it does continue acmss Area E, running
approximately along the contour lines towards Mellor Old Hall. indicating that
although the geophysics conducted upon this area did suggest a few possibilities of
features, however it was unable to distinguish the ditch fmm the clay and bedrock
background. It is suspected that this is due to the similarities between the infill and
the natural geology, along with the waterlogged conditions present wherever clay is

Universiry of Momhesrer Archocologic~lUnir


December 2W5.
Repon on the 2 W and 2M)5 s~asonr
rrcuvorionr er Hellor
ofa~~luvoIogical

present on the site. Showing that if an area is identified as void of features using the
geophysical results, this does not necessarily conclude that them are no features
present. Therefore excavation must be conducted throughout such areas to positively
conclude any results.

The discovety of two terminal ends to the ditch is extremely significant as this is the
fmt entrance way identified within the excavations at Mellor. Although small, the
entrance for the outer enclosure ditch need not have needed to be any largw, wide
enough for people and cattle move through into different areas. It would be safe to
presume that this would not be the only entranceway within the outer enclosure ditch,
and that there are likely to be a few more over the large area covered by the enclosure
ditch. Any further entranceways have not been identified as yet.

The lack of any dateable material found within ihe excavation of these two terminals,
may indicate a specific date for the feature. It is common place for the deliberate
deposition of object into ditch terminals in the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age
periods, where as this pmctice becomes less common into the Late B r o w Age and
Iron Age.

Figare 57: West facing section of the eastern terminal end of the outer enclosure
ditch located within Trench 40.
Repn a the 2 W and 2005 seasmu
ofe~~hadogiral
ucavMVMom 111MdJm.

Figure 58: Unexcavated western terminal end of the outer enclosw ditch located
within Trench 40.

Fignre 59: T e d a d end of outer enclosure ditch as seen in Trial Trenching in 2004.
Report on the 2 W and ZOO5 reasons
of o ~ e h o m l o g i d-avorim or Mdlor.

Figure 60: Plan of Trench 40

Universiry of M ~ c h r s f c Archocologlcnl
r Unil
Drcrmbrr ZOOS.
Repon on lhc 205i and 2005 scarom
of ~hncolo8icnlucavutionr or Mdlor.

figure 61: West facing section of the outer enclosure ditch identified in Trench 40.

figures: 62.63 and 64.

Another trench excavated in November 2005, trench 41, was positioned to positively
identify the possible ditch located within the trial trench exposed in 2004. The trial
trench had revealed the feat* down to the correct archaeological horiwn but due to
time and reso- excavation was unable to proceed Trench 41 located the same
archaeological feature and excavation revealed a 1.23111 wide and 0.95111 deep, steep
sided ditch with a flat base, cut into the natural surmunding bedrock. Consisting of
primary silting layers (523), (524). (523, (526) and (527). The main body of the
ditch is then fdled with one universal fill, a reddish brown silty clay containing a high
frequency of angular and sub angular fragments. No dateable material w a s recovered
from this feature.

The positive identification of the ditch proves that the outer enclosure ditch identifed
within Trench 41 is similar in nature to that excavated in Trenches 22 and 24, and
therefore the conclusion that these are part of the same feature can be made.
Expanding the known extent of the outer enclosure ditch within are% A and indicating
that the ditch is likely to be heading off in a north easterly direction towards that of
Mellor Old Hall. If this is the case then the m a enclosed within the outer enclosure
ditch is massive.
mpre 62: West facing section of the outer enclosure ditch identified in Trench 41.

- - -- -- -- - - 1
OVM 05
Tlcnch 4 1
Plro

N C t

Figure 63: Plan of Trench 41.

Uniwniry of M~chcs~er
Archorological Unit
December ZOOS.
21570m N S
AOD x

- 0.5m

Figure &1: West facing section of outer enclosure ditch identified within Trench 41.

Univrrsiry of ManchesterAmhaeo1~LulUnit
Dccembrr 2005.
Report on the 2004 and2005 seasons
of archaeological excavationr at MeNor.

9. 2005 Conclusions

Each trench excavated during the 2005 season of excavation succeeded in its designed
objectives and contributed significantly to our understanding of the nature and extent
of the settlement on the hilltop at Mellor. Furthermore the excavations at Mellor are
now reaping the rewards from the implementation of coherent strategy of evaluation
begun by the Mellor Archaeological Trust and UMAU. This strategy means the
results fiom any individual trench excavated in a single year no longer stand alone.
They will form part of a group of trenches excavated over several years designed to
gradually provide an insight on specific questions about the history of settlement on
the hilltop around the Old Vicarage.

This long term strategy of evaluation now means that the information gathered from
the various groups of trenches is beginning to overlap to provide new interpretations
of the site. Central to these developing interpretations is the systematic radio-carbon
dating of features from the site. To date 8 radio-carbon samples have been recovered
from the excavations, allowing Mellor to become a regionally and possibly nationally
significant site. A table of the radio-carbon dates can be seen below in chronological
order.

I Figure 65: Radio-carbon dating from the Mellor excavations 1998-2005.

Excavation of Trenches 26 and 36 have provided a valuable insight into the character
of settlement present upon the hilltop. Round houses appear to be present, along with
four semi-circular features which are provisionally interpreted as animal enclosures or
I structures from the Bronze Age: BC 2920 to BC 2560 (Beta - 209509,2 sigmas). The
presence of the largest stone packed curving gully may show the potential use of this

I area for other structures that are not round houses, such as the kerb of a possible burial
cairn. The identification of the multiple inter-cutting pits shows that the area was
heavily re-used over a substantial period of time, for multiple purposes. The presence

Universirv o f Manchester Archaeolonical Unit 98


Report on the 2004 ond2OO5 seasons
of archaeological u c w o l i o m o f Mellor.

of industrial waste within a small pit, together with crucible fragments recovered from
Trench 1 reaffirms the existence of industrial activity at Mellor during the Iron Age
and confirms the area of the pits was used for multiple occupational tasks.

The combination of the trenches within the Old Vicarage garden, 1,2,33, 34 and 35,
revealed a new period of occupation from the excavations at Mellor. The existence of
an aligned row of post pits within Area A demonstrated the presence of a substantial
timber structure. Pottery recovered from the packing of some of the post pits was
dated to the 11" - 13" centuries and material recovered from the post pipes within the
post pits has been dated to the 13" - 15' centuries. An iron war arrowhead from one
of the pit fills is dated to the 13-14" centuries and radio-carbon dating from this fill
pl'oduced a date of AD 1000 to AD1250 (Beta - 209508, 2 sigmas). This suggests
that the structure was constructed during the 11" to 13" centuries and closed at some
point during the 13" to 15" centuries. Due to the limited area of excavation it is not
possible to determine the extent or type of building that would have been present,
although there are examples of timber halls dating to the medieval period with similar
configurations of post pits. Further excavations of areas within Area A should assist in
identifying the true nature of the structure.

Regionally few examples of medieval timber structures have been excavated: one is
the rectangular aisled buildings located during excavations of a medieval village at
Tatton Park. Structures B and D closely resemble the structure located at Mellor, in
that they were timber buildings of a medieval date, the first being 14.4m long by 4.6m
wide with all four walls bowing out slightly, structure D, a rectangular structure
measuring 9m long by 4.5m wide. The significant difference between these two
examples and that identified at Mellor is the size of the postholes and their irregular
form. The average size of those at Tatton was 0.70111 in diameter compared with
1.20m at Mellor, possibly due to the differing nature of the natural geology within
each area (Higham 2000). The other is the aisled hall identified during the Baguley
Hall excavations. In total seven large post pits were identified and the eighth
postulated, forming a small rectangular timber building. The pits are almost identical
to those found at Mellor, although slightly larger in plan and depth and would have
contained similar sized posts within (0.40m). The date of this is considered to be prior
to the fourteenth century hall and therefore similar to the one identified at Mellor.

Universiry of Munchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Reporr on r11e2001 and 2005 seasons
of archaeologicol excoooriom or Mellor.

Figure 66: Baguley Hall, aisled hall post pit phase (after Dixon, Hayfield and Startin
1989).

Universiry of Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on rhe 2004 and 2005 seasons
ofnrchneological excwofions ot Mellor

I Figure 67: Tatton Village, excavated medieval features (after Higham 2000).

Nationally, the number of medieval timber halls which have been excavated remains
I small in comparison to structures relating to almost any other period. Caution needs
to be applied when assessing the nature of the medieval structure at Mellor in
comparison with other timber built halls as its complete layout has not been
I ascertained. Excavations at Cae Castell, Rumney castle, Cardiff, identified the
remains of rectangular post-hole built medieval timber halls (Lightfoot 1981),
structures B and E, the dimensions and intervals between the postholes closely
I resemble those identified at Mellor. The manor site of Goltho, Lincolnshire, initially
occupied during the Roman period, was later utilised as a defensive site from the ninth
century onwards and contained multiple domestic timber structures akin to that
I identified at Mellor, of which two successive timber single aisled halls were identified
Universify of Monchester Archneological Unit
December ZOOS.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasons
o/archaeological excavations at MeNor.

to the late 1l h century and a larger timber hall, aisled on four sides was constructed
c. 1150 (Beresford 1987).

Figure 68: Medieval timber buildings identified at Cae Castell. (Gwent and
Glamorgan Archaeological Trust 1981).

Internationally, two halls were excavated in the Pays de Caux region of Normandy,
Notre-dame-de-gravenchon and Mirville. Excavation of Notre-dame-de-gravenchon
revealed occupation phases dating from late Roman, early Frankish and medieval.
The 1 2 ~ century phase included an elongated rectangular posthole building,
surrounded at one end by a number of smaller postholes assumed to be associated
with structures attached to the building. Noteworthy for its long narrow structure with
no internal central supports (le Maho 1981). Whereas Mirville consisted of a smaller
eleventh century rectangular timber hall, 17m long and 8m wide with a hipped roof
and internal divisions (le Maho 1981). The excavation of Der Husterknupp in
Germany identified a single aisled c. 12m long, 8m wide timber building, structure 3,
with post pits initially in a similar layout to those at Mellor. Importantly due to
environmental conditions, the posts remained and indicated a high level of working
and decoration of the posts above ground (Herrnbrodt 1958), suggesting that previous
reconstructions and images of medieval timber halls and buildings could have been
over simplified and that they may be more elaborate than originally anticipated.

It is suspected that the timber structure located at Mellor could be that of a medieval
hall. Documentary evidence indicates that during the 13" century an estate granted to
the 'foresters' who protected the game within the immediate area of the Kings
forested lands within the region, particularly that of the Peak, was held by the 'de
Mellur' family. Such a location within the landscape would possess the benefits of
being isolated, but also providing a view over the prime access route into the forested
areas. Previous suggestions place the site of their dwelling as the present Mellor Hall,
or Bottoms Hall (Arrowsmith 1997, Hearle and Oldham 1985). Following the recent
discovery of the suspected medieval hall in the Old Vicarage Garden, it may be
necessary to re-assess the timber structure as being the site associated with the
original dwelling of the 'de Mellurs'.

Universip of Manchester Archaea/ogical Unir


December 2005.
Report on the 2004 and 2005 seasons
ojorchaeological excavations at A4ellor.

GrundriS des H a w s 3 der Fla&sicdluog. MaBuab 1:bO.

Figure 69: Timber hall (House 3) identified at Husterknupp. (Hermbrodt 1958).

University of Manchester Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
Report on the 2001 and 2005 seasons
o/archaeological excavarions or Mellor.

Excavation of the inner enclosure ditch within Trench 33, confirms its existence
between the previous known extents of Trenches 1 and 2 in Area A. As the ditch runs
right through Trench 33, it is possible to say that there can be no entrance way into the
area enclosed by the large ditch to the western side of the hilltop. Therefore it is
postulated that the entranceway was located towards the eastern side, close to Trench
18, providing access from the flat area of settlement in between the outer and inner
enclosure ditches. The discovery of the continuation of the palisade slot for a short
distance confirms its association with the ditch, but lack of rampart. The absence of
the palisade slot within the central segment of Trench 33, and it close proximity to a
posthole alignment may indicate the presence of a small overlapping entranceway in
order to gain access for maintenance of the ditch.

Trench 37 confirmed the expected continuation of the ditch from Trench 18, to the
furthest extent available within Area A, that is the perimeter of the church yard wall.
Along with confirming the alignment of the palisade slot identified in earlier trenches,
parallel to the internal side of the inner enclosure ditch, the trench also failed to find
any trace of an inner bank.

The targeted excavation of trenches within Area D over geophysical and evaluation
trench anomalies has confirmed the presence of an entranceway for the outer
enclosure ditch and the ditch's continuation to the middle of Area D, it is expected
that its course will proceed across the entirety of Area D, in the direction of Mellor
Old Hall. Continued evaluation following evaluation over the linear geophysical
anomaly identified within Area E, has c o n f i i e d the presence of a linear enclosure
ditch, similar in proportions to those identified within Area D. The extent of the
feature can now followed from the car park within Area E, to the eastern most edge of
this field.

The possibility remains that the ditches located within these two areas are the remains
of a single outer enclosure ditch which would have encompassed the entire flat
portion of the Mellor hilltop, and more entranceways are likely to be present
throughout the remaining segments of the enclosure ditch. This would create an
enclosure ditch that encompasses a much greater area than most Iron Age hill top
enclosures. It is not yet possible to determine the chronological relationship between
the inner and outer enclosure ditches, presenting the possibility that the outer ditch
could be Bronze Age in origin. Dating of this ditch is solely dependant upon the
recovery of the suspected Iron Age 'Mellor' pot, which cannot be traced to a similar
typological form.

Universiry o/Manchesrer Archaeological Unit


December 2005.
I Appendix 1
I
I 2004 Radiocarbon Dating Results

I
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C
11
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C
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C
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1
I

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I Dr. John Roberts Report Date: 3/22/2005

University of Manchester Material Received: 2/23/2005

I Sample Data Measured


Radiocarbon Age
13C/12C
Ratio
Conventional
Radiocarbon Age(*)

Beta - 2023 15 2100 +I- 40 BP -26.2 0100 2080 +/- 40 BP


SAMPLE : O W 04 S-LEN0 34
ANALYSIS : AMS-Standard delivery

I. MATERlAUPRETREATbEM : (charred material): acid/alkaliacid


2 SIGMA CALIBRATTON : Cal BC 190 to Cal AD 10 (Cal BP 2140to 1940)

I - Beta 2023 16
SAMPLE : O W 04 SAMPLE NO 37
3140+/- 160BP -24.9 0100

ANALYSIS : RadiomehioStandard delivery (concentration of charcoal h m within sediment mapix)


3140+1- 160BP

MATFNALPRETREATbEM : (charred material): acid/alkali/acid


2 SIGMA CALIBRATION : Cal BC 1750 to 970 (Cal BP 3700 to 2920)
I
CALIBRATION O F RADIOCARBON AGE TO CALENDAR YEARS
1, (Variables: C 13lC 12=-26.2:lab. m u l e I )
Laboratory number: Beta-202315

1 Conventional radiocarbon age:


2 Sigma calibrated result:
2080*40 B P
Cal B C 190 t o C a l AD 1 0 (Cal BP 2140 t o 1940)

I (95% probability)
Intercept data
Intercept of radiocarbon age
I with calibration curve:
1 Sigma calibrated result:
Cal BC 80 (Cal BP 2030)
Cal BC 160 to 40 (Cal BP 2 120 to 1990)
(68% probability)

Charred m a t e d d

References:
D~lrrbasrused

1 INTCAL98
CalibratYon Dafnbasc
Editorial C o m m cnt
Sluiver, M..v a n d e r p l i c h t . H. 1998. RIEdimnrbm 40(3), pdi-*ii
INTCAL98 Rgdiocnrbon Age Calibration

1 Sluiver. M.,er. oL, 1998. Radiocarbon 40(3), ~ 1 0 4 1 - I 0 8 3


Mothemolics
A SimpliJlcd A p p r o m h to Colibraling C l 4 D n f u
Talma. A . S.. Vogel, J . C . , 1993. Radiocarbon 35f2). p317-322

Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory


498JSW. 74th Courr.Mlmnr, Fiorlda 33IJJ. Trl; (303)667-5167 .Fa: pOJ)663-(1964- 8-Moll: be~@rndiocmbon.com
CALIBRATION O F RADIOCARBON AGE TO CALENDAR YEARS
I (Variables: C13/C12=-24.9:lab. m u l F l )
Laboratory number: Beta402316
I Conventional radiocarbon age: 3140i160 B P
2 Sigma calibrated result: Cal BC 1750 to 970 ( C a l B P 3700 to 2920)

I (95% probability)
intercept data
Intercept of radiocarbon age
withcalibration curve: Cal BC 1410 (Cal BP 3360)
1 Sigma calibrated result: Cal BC 1540 to 1210 (Cal BP 3490 to 3 160)
(68% probability)
I 3 1 4 W 1 6 0 BP Charredmaterid

3600

References:
- ~

Da1abarcuscd

I INTCAL 98
CaUbmtion Dotabnsc
Editorfa1 Comm emf
Sluiver. M..v a n d e r Plichr. H . 1998. R d i a a r b m 40(3). pxii-xiii

4; INTCALBB Radiocarbon A g c Calibration


Sruivu. M ,e l . aL. 1998. Radiocurbon 40(3), p1041-1083
MolhcmntiP
A S i m p l i j e d Approach l o C s l i b m t i n g C l 4 D n l c r
Tolmo. A . S., Vogel, J . C . . 1993. Radiocarbon 35(2). p317-322

Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory


4985 S W . 74th Cowt.MIom1. Flmfdo 33 1 5 5 . Tcl: (305)667-5167. F m : (305)663-0966. E-Mali: brro@radiocorbn.com
I
I
Appendix 2
I
I 2005 Radiocarbon Dating Results
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Dr. John Roberts Report Date: 11/9/2005

University of Manchester Material Received: 10/12/2005

Sample Data Measured 13C/12C Conventional


Radiocarbon Age Ratio Radiocarbon Age(')

Beta - 209508 930 +/- 60 BP -25.9 0100


SAMPLE : OVMOSSAMPLE NO1 7
ANALYSIS : Radiometric-Standarddelivery
MATERIAUPRETREARviENT : (chmed material): acidalkalilacid
2 SIGMA CALIBRATION : Cal AD 1000 to 1250 (Cal BP 950 to 700)

-
Beta 209509 4200 +/- 80 BP -26.3 o/ca
SAMPLE : OVMOSSAMPLE NO16
ANALYSIS : Radiometric-Standarddelivery (concentration of charcoal from within sediment matrix)
MATERIALPRETREATMENT : (charred matend). acidalkal2acid
2 SIGMA CALIBRATION : ~ aBC l 2920 to 2560 (Cal BP 4860 to 4510) AND Cal BC 2520 to 2500 (Cal BP 4480 to 4440)

1 -
Beta 2095 10
SAMPLE : OVMO5SAMPLE NO13
2120 +/- 60 BP -26.0 0100

ANALYSIS : Radiometric-Standard delivery (concentration of charcoal frum within sediment matrix)


2lOO+/- 60BP

MATERIAUPRETREATMENT : (charred marer~al)ac~dalkalilacid


2 SIGMA CALIBRATlON : Cal BC 560 to 290 (Cal BP 2310 to 2240) AND Cal BC 230 to Cal AD 30 (Cal BP 2180 to 1920)
CALIBRATION O F RADIOCARBON AGE TO CALENDAR YEARS
(Variables: C 13lC 12=-25.9:lab. mult=l)
Laboratory number: Beta-209508
Conventional radiocarbon age: 920i60 B P
2 Sigma calibrated result: Cal AD 1000 to 1250 (Cal BP 950 t o 700)
(95% probability)
Intercept data
Intercepts of radiocarbon age
with calibration curve: Cal AD 1060 (Cal BP 890) and
Cal AD 1080 (Cal B P 860) and
Cal AD 1150 (Cal BP 800)
1 Sigma calibrated result: Cal AD 1030 to 1190 (Cal BP 920 to 760)
(68% probability)

.. .. . ... ..

800 1000 1020 1040 1060 1080 1100 1120 1140 1160 1180 1200 1220 1240 1260
C a l AD
References:
Daf#bnse used
INTCAL 98
Calibration Dmtabase
EdiIoriol Contm cnf
Sluiver, M.. v o n d e r Plichr. H . 1 9 9 8 , R o d i w a r b a , 40(3), pxii-siii
INTCAI.98 Radiocarbon A g e Cdibrafion
Sluiver. M..el. al.. 1998. Radiocarbon 40(3). ~ 1 0 4 1 - 1 0 8 3
MrzfhcmaLlcr
A Simpliflcd A p p r o m h to Calibrating C I 4 D a f u
Tolma, A . S.. Vogel. J. C., 1993. Radiocarbon 35(2), ~ 3 1 7 3 2 2

Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory


-
1985 S W . 74th Courr.Mimi. Florida 33 155 Tsl: (305)66 7-51 67. F m : (305)6634964. EMoII: bcra@rodioclrrbon.com
CALIBRATION O F RADIOCARBON AGE TO CALENDAR Y E A R S
(Variables: C13/C12=-26.3:lab. mult=l)
Laboratory number: Beta-209509
Conventional radiocarbon age: 4180*80 B P
2 Sigma calibrated results: Cal BC 2920 to 2560 (Cal B P 4860 to 4510) and
(95% probability) Cal BC 2520 to 2500 (Cal B P 4480 to 4440)
Intercept data
Intercepts of radiocarbon age
with calibration curve: Cal BC 2870 (Cal BP 4820) and
Cal BC 2800 (Cal BP 4750) and
Cal BC 2770 (Cal BP 4720)
1 Sigma calibrated result: Cal BC 2890 to 2 620 (Cal BP 4840 to 4 570)
(68% probability)
4 1 6 W 8 0 BP Chsrredmaterid

2950 29W 2650 2800 2750 2700 2650 2550 2500 2450
Cal B C
References:
Dofobasc used
I N T C A L 98
C n l i b m d o n Dnfabose
Editorial C o m m m t
Sluiver. M., v a n d e r Plish;, H. 1 9 9 8 , R m l i a o r b m 40(3). pxii-xiii
INTCAL98 Radiocarbon A g e C d i b r o d o n
S o i v e r . M .e l . aL, 1998. Rodiourrbon 40(3). p l O 4 1 - 1 0 8 3
Mmthcmodct
A Simplified Approoch to C n l i b r a d n g C I 4 D a f e r
Tolmo. A . S.. V o r e l . J . C . . 1993. Rndiocarbon 35(21, p 3 1 7 J 2 2
- ~

Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory


4985 S.W. 7 r r h Court.Mtoml. Florida 33155 - Tci: (305)66>5167 Fm: (305)663-0961. £ M o i l : be,a@rodiocorbon.com
CALIBRATION O F RADIOCARBON AGE TO CALENDAR YEARS
(Variables: C13/Cl2=-26:lab. mult=l )
Laboratory number: Beta-209510
Conventional radiocarbon age: 2100i60 B P
2 Sigma calibrated results: Cal BC 360 t o 290 (CaI BP2310 t o 2240) and
(95% probability) Cal B C 230 t o C a l AD 3 0 (Cal BP 2180 t o 1920)
Intercept data
Intercept of radiocarbon age
withcalibration curve: Cal BC 110 (Cal BP 2060)
1 Sigma calibrated result: Cal BC I90 to 40 (Cal BP 2 140 to 1990)
(68% probability)

References:
Dnlobase used
INTCAL98
Calibration Dnlobnsr
Editorial Comm en1
Sruiver, M., v o n d e r Plichr, H . 1998. R r d i o c a r b m 40(3),pxii-riii
Z N T C A L 9 8 Radiocarbon Age Colibrntion
Sfviver. M., e l . 01.. 1998, Radiocarbon 40(3). ~ 1 0 4 1 - 1 0 8 3
Malhcmnlia
A Simplified Appromh Io Cnlibroting C I 4 D a l e s
Tolmo. A . S.. Yopel. J. C.. 1993. Radiocarbon 35/21, ~ 3 1 7 - 3 2 2

Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory


4985 S.W :i 4 r h C o u r r . M i o m l . F l o r i d a 33 135 .Tsl: (305)667-5167 .
F a : (305)663-0963. 6-Moll:b ~ r o @ r o d l o c o r b o n . c o m
I
Appendix 3
I
I 2005 Plant macrofossil and pollen
assessment
I
I Archaeological Services
University of Durham
I
I
Old Vicarage, Mellor, Greater Manchester
I
I plant macrofossil and pollen assessment

I
on behawof
I University of Manchester Archaeological Unit

Report 1349
October 2005

Archaeological Services
Durham Universi@
South Road
Durham DH1 3LE
Tel: 019i 334 1121
Fax: 0191 334 1126
archaeological.services@d~~ham.ac.uk
www.durham.ac.uk/archaeologicalse~ces
Old Vicarage, Mellor, Greater Manchester
plant macrofossil and pollen assessment

Report I349
October 2005

Archaeological Services Durham University


on behalf of
Univers* of Manchester Archaeological Unit
Universi~of Manchester, Oxford Road Manchester, MI3 9PL

Contents

1. Summary . 1
2. Project background 2
3. Methods . 2
4. Plant macrofossils . 3
5. Pollen 4
6. Recommendations . 4
7. References . 5

O Archaeological Senices 2005


Old Vicarage, Mellor: plant macrofossil andpollen assessment; Report 1349, October 2005

Summary
The project
This report presents the results of plant macrofossil and pollen assessment of
two samples taken during an excavation of a prehistoric settlement at Mellor,
Greater Manchester.

Plant macrofossil assessment


Charred hazelnut fragments were abundant in context 285 but charred remains
were absent from context 343. The results suggest that context 285 is made up
of domestic waste.

Pollen assessment
Pollen was present in both contexts but was largely degraded or corroded. The
results suggest that woodland cover was limited and the landscape was
dominated by open and disturbed ground with areas of damp ground and
possible heathland.

Recommendations
No further plant macrofossil work is recommended for the samples. Material
suitable for AMS radiocarbon dating is present in context 285.

Further pollen work is recommended for context 285. Pollen concentration is


too low in context 343 to facilitate further analysis.

Archaeological Services Durham University 1


Old Vicarage, Mellor: plant macrofossil andpollen assessment; Report 1349, October 2005

2. Project background
Location and background
2.1 A series of archaeological works have been carried out by Manchester
University Archaeological Unit at Mellor since 1998 and have confirmed the
presence of an Iron Age Hillfort. In August 2003, trench 22 was excavated.
over the line of the enclosure ditch which surrounds the hilltop. Plant
macrofossil and pollen work was undertaken on samples from this trench by
Archaeological Services Durham University (Archaeological Senices reports
1059, 1073, 1090). Plant macrofossils were poorly preserved and only charred
remains of hazelnuts occurred. Pollen indicated that a mixture of arable and
pastoral farming was being carried out. Trench 36 wis excavated during
August 2005 in a field to the north of the Old Vicarage at Mellor, near
Stockport (NGR SJ 9818 8890). Two environmental samples were collected.
Context 285 is the fill of a post hole from which, what is believed to be Bronze
Age pottery was recovered. Context 343 is the fill of a pit thought by the
excavators to represent Iron Age or Romano British activity.

Objective
2.2 The objective of the assessments was to determine the archaeobotanical
potential of the material and to make recommendations for further work if
appropriate.

Dates
2.3 Plant macrofossil and pollen assessment was carried out between 31d- 17"
October 2005. This report was prepared on the 18" October 2005.

Personnel
2.4 Sample processing was carried out by Dr David Webster and Mr Lome Elliott.
The assessments and report preparation were undertaken by Dr Charlotte
O'Brien.

Archive
2.5 The site code is OVM05, for Old Vicarage, MeUor, 2005. The flots and pollen
preparations are retained in the Environmental Laboratory at Archaeological
Services Durham University for collection.

3. Methods
Plant macrofossils
3.1 The samples were manually floated and sieved through a 500 pm mesh. The
residues were retained, described and scanned using a magnet for ferrous
fragments. The flots were dried slowly and scanned at x 40 magnification for
waterlogged and charred botanical remains. Identification of these was
undertaken by comparison with modem reference material heId in the
Environmental Laboratory at Archaeological Services Durham University.
Relative abundance of remains per species was logged and the results were

Archaeological Services Durham Universiry 2


Old Vicarage, Mellor: plant macrofossil andpollen assessment; Report 1349, October ZOO5

interpreted in their archaeological and palaeoecological contexts. Plant


taxonomic nomenclature follows Stace (1997).

Pollen
3.2 One ml of sediment from contexts 285 and 343 were assessed. Pollen was
extracted using potassium hydroxide to remove humic and fulvic acids,
acetolysis to digest organic deposits and a heavy liquid technique to separate
the pollen from rninerogenic material. Lycopodium spores were added to allow
the calculation of pollen concentration. The pollen was mounted in silicone
fluid and scanned at high magnification. Identification of pollen and spores
was undertaken by comparison with modem reference material. Plant
taxonomic nomenclature follows Stace (1997).

4. Plant macrofossils
Results
4.1 Charred hazelnut kagments were abundant in the flot of context 285. Other
plant macrofossils were absent and no plant remains occurred in context 343.
Calcined bone and charcoal were present in both contexts and small amounts
of coal and modem roots were present in context 343. Insect fragments
occurred in context 285. The contents of the flots and residues are listed in
Table 1.

Table 1. Plant macrofossils ffom OVM05


. .. . ' '. :- . . - . .:. . ... ..
. .. >,".

.,....:.-.,. ... - .2
:
~

p .z~::.'.. A:-: .:.:-.:a,.


.-:
.1:.:.-13
- <'./:.'5:14;:.
. . . . , :-I+.? .. .. ,) .. . . ;.<. 1; 1:i
:.283:-:, 343::
,I - - - I, -won
-snnn ---
Volume offlot (ml) 1 200 1 5
Volume offlot assessed (ml) 1 200 1 5
Residue contents (relative abundance)
Calcined bone 1 2 1 1
Flot mairii- (relative abundance)
Charcoal
Coal
1 3 1 1

Insect 1
I Modem roots

(t: treedshrubs)
kelative abundance is based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (bighest).

Discussion
4.2 The abundance of charred hazelnut fragments in context 285, the fill of a post
hole, suggests that these nuts formed an important part of the diet. Hazelnuts
and other gathered wild foods were used profusely during the Neolithic period.
From the Bronze Age onwards their importance diminished with the increase
in cereal cultivation. The presence of the charred remains in combination with

Archaeological Services Durham Universiv


Old Vicarage, Mellor: plant mocrofossl andpollen assessment; Report 1349, October 2005

charcoal and calcined bone fiagrnents suggests that the context is dominated
by domestic waste.

4.3' A few insect fragments were recorded in the flot of context 285, however
these are likely to be modem introductions. Modem roots occurred in context
343. The absence of plant remains in context 343 means that no chronological
or economic information can be provided about this pit fill.

5. Pollen
Results
5.1 Pollen was present in both contexts but was largely degraded or corroded.
Pollen was more abundant in context 285 than 343. Context 285 was
dominated by bracken with lower numbers of other ferns including the royal
fern. Low numbers of arboreal pollen occurred and included hazel, alder and
birch. Sedges and grass were also present and microscopic charcoal was
abundant.

5.2 Context 343 was dominated by fern spores, particularly those of the royal fern.
Arboreal pollen was present in low numbers and included hazel and willow. A
few grains of devil's bit scabious and heather were also recorded. Charcoal
was sparse.

Discussion
5.3 Low numbers of arboreal pollen grains occurred in both contexts indicating
that woodland coverage was limited. The non-arboreal pollen assemblage
indicates the presence of open and disturbed ground. Royal fern and sedges
indicate areas of damp ground. Heather pollen occurred in context 343 which
suggests the presence of nearby heathland.

6. Recommendations
Plant macrofossik
6.1 No further plant macrofossil work is recommended for the contexts. The
hazelnut fragments in context 285 would be suitable for AMS radiocarbon
dating. Material suitable,for radiocarbon dating is absent from context 343.

Pollen
6.2 Sufficient pollen was present in context 285 to facilitate further analysis and
counts of 300-500 grains would be possible. This would provide a detailed
picture of the local environment and the extent and diversity of woodland
cover at the site. The plant macrofossil assessment indicates that hazelnuts
formed an important part of the diet and further analysis of the pollen would
establish what proportion of the local woodland was made up of hazel. Full
analysis may also provide information about farming activities at the site.

I Archaeological Services Dwham Universiry 4


Old Vicarage, Mellor: plant macrofossil andpollen assessment; Report 1349, October 2005

6.3 No further pollen work is recommended for context 343 due to the low pollen
concentration.

7. References
Archaeological Services (2003) Mellor, near Stockport, Greater Manchester:
plant macrofossil assessment. Archaeological Services Durham University
Report 1059:

Archaeological Services (2004) Mellor, near Stockport, Greater Manchester:


pollen assessment. Archaeological Services Durham University Report 1073.

Archaeological Services (2004) Mellor, near StocLport, Greater Manchester:


pollen analysis. Archaeological Services Durham University Report 1090.

Stace, C. (1997) New Flora of the British Isles. 2ndEdition. Cambridge


University Press. pp1130.

Archaeological Services Durham University 5


I
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Appendix 4
I
1 2005 Pollen analysis
I
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-

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Archaeological Services
University of Durham

Old Vicarage Mellor, near Stockport,


Greater Manchester

pollen analysis

on behalfof
The University of Manchester Archaeological Unit

Report 1361
November ZOOS

Arclraeologicaf Services
Durham University
South Road
Durham DHl3LE
Tel: 0191 334 1121
Fax: 0191 334 1126
archaeological.se~ces@durham.ac.uk
www.durham.ac.uk/archaeologicalservices
Old Vicarage Mellor, near Stockport,
Greater Manchester
pollen analysis

Report 1361
November 2005

Archaeological Services Durham Universiw


on behalf of:
University of Manchester Archaeological Unit
University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

Contents
1. Summary . 1
2. Project background 2
3. Methods . 2
4. Results . 3
5. Discussion . 3
6. Conclusions 4
7. References . 4

O Archaeological Services 2005


I Old Vicarage Mellor, Greater Manchester; pollen analysis: Report 1361, November 2005

1. Summary
The project background
1.1 This report presents the results of pollen analysis of context 285, which was
sampled during an excavation of a prehistoric settlement at Mellor, Greater
Manchester.

Methods
1.2 Material fiom context 285 was processed using standard techniques including
heavy liquid separation to concentrate the pollen. The residues were scanned for
pollen and spores which were identified by comparison with modem reference
material.

Results
1.3 The pollen indicates the presence of mixed deciduous woodland dominated by
hazel. There also appears to have been a nearby wet meadow and possible alder
can. The cereal-type pollen and associated weeds indicate a mixed farming
economy.

Archaeological Services Durham Universi@ 1 '


Old Vicarage Mellor, Greater Manchester; pollen analysis: Report 1361, November ZOO5

2. Project background
Location and background
2.1 A series of archaeological works have been carried out by University of
Manchester Archaeological Unit at Mellor since 1998 and have confinned the
presence of an Iron Age Hillfort. In August 2003, trench 22 was excavated over
the line of the enclosure ditch which surrounds the hilltop. Plant macrofossil and
pollen work was undertaken on samples from this trenchby Archaeological
S e ~ c e Durham
s University (Archaeological Services 2003; 2004a; 2004b).
Plant macrofossils were preserved and only charred remains of hazelnuts
occurred. Pollen indicated that a mixture of arable and pastoral farming was
being carried out. Trench 36 was excavated during August 2005 in a field to the
north of the Old Vicarage at Mellor, near Stockport (NGR SJ 981 8 8890). Two
environmental samples were collected. Context 285 is the fill of a post hole from
which, what is believed to be Bronze Age pottery was recovered. Context 343 is
the fill of a pit thought by the excavators to represent Iron Age or Romano
British activity. Plant macrofossil and pollen assessments were undertaken on
these contexts by Archaeological Services Durham University (Archaeological
Services 2005). Charred hazelnut fragments were abundant in context 285 but
charred remains were absent from context 343. Pollen was present in both
contexts but was largely degraded or corroded and further analysis of context
343 was not recommended due to low pollen concentration. The assessment
results suggested that woodland cover was limited and the landscape was
dominated by open and disturbed ground with areas of damp ground and
possible heathland. This report presents the results of full pollen analysis of
context 285.

Objective
2.2 The objective was to cany out pollen analysis of context 285 in order to
reconstruct the palaeo-environment and to provide information about the
economics and agricultural practices in the area.

Dates
2.3 Pollen analysis was carried out between 28" October - 9" November 2005. This
report was prepared on 10" November 2005.

Personnel
2.4 Pollen preparation was undertaken by Mr Lome Elliott (Archaeological
Services). Pollen analysis and report preparation were carried out by Dr. Tim
Mighall (University of Aberdeen).

Archive
2.5 The site code is OVM05, for Old Vicarage Mellor 2005.

3. Methods
3.1 One mI of sediment from context 285 was analysed. The samples were prepared
using standard procedures (Barber 1976), which included density floatation
(Moore et a1 1991) in order to concentrate the pollen. Identification of pollen
and spores was undertaken by comparison with modem reference material. Plant
taxonomic nomenclature follows Stace (1997).
Old Vicarage MeNor. Greater Aflanchester;pollen analysis: Report 1361, November 2005

4. Results
4.1 The maioritv
- . of the Dollen in context 285 was degraded
- and this restricted the
pollen count to 230 land pollen grains, excluding aquatic pollen and spores whlch
were also recorded. The results, showing absolute numbers, are shown in Table
1.

Table 1: Pollen and Spore assemblages from context 285 (absolute numbers).

5. Discussion
5.1 The pollen assemblage of 285 is dominated by arboreal pollen. A hazel-
dominated mixed woodland is suggested by the abundance of Corylus avellana-
type. Quercus (Oak) and Tilia (Lime) also form a minor component of woodland
occupying dryland soils with ferns such as Polypodium (Polypody), Pteridium
(Bracken) and Filicales (Undifferentiated ferns) contributing to the understorey.
Old Vicarage Mellor, Greater Manchesrer; pollen analysis: Reporr 1361. November 2005

Some Alnus (Alder), possibly alder cam, is present on a low lying, wet substrate
e.g. a valley bottom. Poaceae (Grasses) and Cyperaceae (Sedges) are the
dominant non-arboreal (NAP) pollen taxa but a suite of herbaceous pollen is also
well-represented including Asteraceae (Daisy family), Polygonum (Knotgrass)
and Plantago lanceolata (Ribwort plantain). However, other NAP taxa and
spores are present. These include CalIuna (Heather), Caryophyllaceae (Pink
family), Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot family), Ranunculaceae (Buttercup
family), Filipendula (Meadowsweet), Succisa (Devil's-bit scabious),
Polypodium and Filicales.

5.2 The occurrence of cereal-type pollen provides evidence of arable cultivation.


Plantago lanceolata, Polygonum, Ranunculaceae, Lactuceae (Dandelion group),
Chenopodiceae and Pteridium have been associated with agricultural ecosystems
and suggest that a mixed farming economy - cereal cultivation combined with
pasture - was practised (Behre 1986). Pottery, that is believed to be Bronze Age,
was recovered from context 285 during the excavation and palaeoecological
evidence from other sites in northwest British Isles suggests that sustained arable
and pastoral farming was undertaken within the region during the Bronze Age
(Chiverrell2003; Walker 1966; W i b l e et a1 2000). Cyperaceae, Filipendula
and Succisa are all indicative of wet meadows and grassland. The pollen
assemblage obtained fiom sample 285 is, therefore, similar in composition to
samples 442 and 449 from Trench 22, the results of which are presented in
Archaeological Services report 1090.

6. Conclusions
6.1 The pollen indicates the presence of mixed deciduous woodland dominated by
hazel. There also appears to have been a nearby wet meadow and possible alder
carr. The cereal-type pollen and associated weeds indicate a mixed farming
economy.

7. References
Archaeological Services (2005) Old Vicarage Mellor, Greater Munchester:
plant macrofossil andpollen assessment. Archaeological Services Durham
University Report 1349

Archaeological Services (2004a) Mellor, near Stockport, Greater Manchester:


pollen analysis. Archaeological Services Durham University Report 1090.

Archaeological Services (2004b) Mellor, near Stockport, Greater Manchester:


pollen assessment. Archaeological Services Durham University Report 1073.

Archaeological Services (2003) Mellor, near Stockport, Greater Manchester:


plant macrofossil assessment. Archaeological Services Durham University
Report 1059.

Barber, K E, 1976 History of vegetation. In (SB Chapman, Ed.) Methods in


Plant Ecology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp5-83

Behre, K-E, 1986 Anthropogenic indicators inpollen diagrams. Rotterdam


Old Vicarage Mellor, Greater Manchester; pollen analysis: Report 136/. November ZOO5

Chiverrell, R C, Innes, J B, Blackford, J J, Wood, J J, Davey, P J, Tomlinson, P


R,Rutherford, M M and Thomas, G S P, 2004 Palaeoecological and
archaeological evidence for Bronze Age human activity on the Isle of Man. The
Holocene 14, 3,346-360

Moore, P D, Webb, J A and Collinson, M E, 1991 Pollen Analysis. 2ndedition.


London

Stace, C, 1997 Newflora of the British Isles. 2ndEdition. Cambridge

Walker, D, 1966 The late Quaternary history of the Cumberland lowland.


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 251, 1-120

Wirnble, G, Wells, C R and Hodgkinson, D, 2000 Human impact on mid- and


late Holocene vegeation in south Cumbria, UK. Vegetation History and
Archaeobotany 9, 17-30

Archaeoloaical Services Durham University


1 Appendix 5
I
Geological analysis of the boulder clay at
I Mellor.
I
MeUor Archaeological Site
Notes arising from visit by Morven Simpson and Fred Broadhurst, 31" August 2005

Boulder Clav or Till


Boulder Clay is the weathered remains of material deposited by melting ice. At
Mellor the boulder clay dates from the end of the Devensian Glaciation about 10,000
years ago. The Devensian is the last of the glaciations which have occurred in the area
over the last 1%- 2 million years. The material when deposited by the ice would
consist of boulders and other debris varying in size down to finely ground material -
to which the name rock flour is ffequently given. The components of the rock flour
have a large surface area/volume ratio. This results in rapid chemical weathering and
the breakdown of the rock material to form clay minerals (plus soluble material which
is removed in solution). So the boulder clay observed at Mellor is a clay (once rock
flour) with contained pebbles/boulders derived from outcrops crossed by the ice on its
way to Mellor (ie from Southern Scotland, the Lake District and localities between the
Lake District and Mellor)
The present distribution of boulder clay at Mellor is determined by the original areas
of deposition/nondepositiontogether with the effects of erosion on site since
deposition. So, at Mellor today, there are areas with no boulder clay, and other areas
with variable thicknesses of boulder clay.

Iron Dan and clav colouration


The iron pan shown to us at the Mellor site is associated with the presence of
underlying boulder clay. The evidence on the ground suggests the action of
downwards movement of water through soil containing organic matter. Such water
becomes acidic by the addition of humic acids and would tend to lose dissolved
oxygen by reaction with organic carbon. Acidic, deoxygenated, water is a significant
solvent for iron (present in the soil, notably linked to the organic carbon). The
downwards percolation of the iron-bearing solution would be arrested by the
underlying essentially impervious boulder clay and so be ponded - providing an
opportunity for oxidation and hydration of the iron to form an iron pan (mixture of
fenic oxides and hydroxides). Dissolved oxygen in the groundwater within the
sandstones beneath the boulder clay (especially where the boulder clay is thin)
probably plays a r61e in the iron pan formation.
We were shown patches of clay and silt at the top of the boulder clay where there
were distinctive colour variations, sometimes brown, red, sometimes grey. The
brownish, reddish areas contain iron in its oxidised, hydrated state. In larger amounts
this would amount to an iron pan. The grey areas did not contain oxidised or hydrated
iron. The presence or absence of oxidised and hydrated iron will be related to the
nature of the downward movement of water from the soil layer above.
The absence of an iron pan in the boulder clay-l?ee areas will result ffom the lack of
any barrier to the downward movement of water. It is likely that oxidation and
hydration of iron will occur, but not at one specific level. ,

FMB
Appendix 6

2004-5 Romano-British Pottery


Assessment
Mellor Summary of Romano-British pottery recovered from excavations in 2004-5

R.S. Leary

A total of 72 sherds (697g.) were examined, including sherds from excavations 2002,
2003,2004 and 2005 (table 1). Although a smaller number of Romano-British sherds
were recovered from the excavations in 2004 and 2005 than previously, a similar picture
in terms of the range and character of the assemblage was disclosed in some respects
(charts 1-2). Derbyshire ware was common along with Cheshire Plains oxidised wares
and significant amounts of samian ware. Traded wares from Mancetter-Hartshill,
Wroxeter, Wilderspool and the Midlands were present as well as the table wares from
Gaul. In contrast to previous excavations no BB 1 from Dorset was identified amongst
the material from 2004-5. Wroxeter white ware mortaria have been identified at
Manchester as a major mortaria supplier in the period AD100-1501160. The fabric is
very like Mancetter-Hartshill and some, but not all, of the mortaria previously identified
as Mancetter-Hartshill mortaria have been reclassified as Wroxeter white ware mortaria.
This shows that Mellor had close ties with the military supply network during this period.

Table 1 quantity of sherds from excavations by year.

Relative proportion of fabrics by sherd


weight and count for excavations in 2004

80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
0
4
XI
G7 %
' 0
%7
t9 C
*?
+%
.,
Chart 1
Relative proportion of fabrics by sherd
weight and count for excavations in
2005

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

-
Chart 2

Much of the group from 2004 came from a much fragmented orange ware flagon which
had suffered from burial conditions resulting in severe surface erosion. Although the
form was a simple plain necked flagon with everted rim, the fabric and type point to a
date in the Hadrianic-Antonine period and a source at the Wilderspool kilns. The rest of
the material excavated in 2004 included sherds of Derbyshire ware, a white ware base,
probably from a flagon or beaker and two samian scraps. A date in the Hadrianic-
Antonine would account for all these fabrics and forms.

The group from 2005 was also dominated by oxidised wares and Derbyshire ware. The
sherds comprised undiagnostic bodysherds but again the former compared well with
material from Manchester and Wilderspool. The finer wares may well have been made at
Manchester but in the absence of diagnostic vessel types, it is difficult to be certain. The
group also included four samian sherds, two Mancetter-Hartshill mortariurn dating to AD
180-240. Four shelly ware sherds compared with material from the previous excavations
identified as late shell-tempered ware. This is thought to appear in this region in the
fourth century.

These assemblages are too small to assess in terms of proportions of vessel types but both
groups included samian table ware and the pottery from 2004 included one or probably
two flagons indicating the desire to acquire Roman table ware seen in previous years.
The traded wares demonstrate links with the Roman trading network whether through
trade or gift exchange.

Bibliography

Colyer, C., Gilmour, B.J.J. and Jones, M.J., 1999, The defences of the Lower City.
Excavations at the Park and west Parade 1970-2 and a discussion of other sites
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Gillam, J. P., 1970, Types of Roman Coarse Pottery Vessels in Northern Britain, third
edition, Newcastle
Hartley, K.F. and Webster P.V. 1973 The Romano-British kilns near Wilderspool.
Archaeol. Journ. 130,77-104
Tomber, R. and Dore, J., 1998, The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection. A
Handbook, MoLAS Monograph 2. London
Mellor 2004-5 Catalogue
Comments
Abbreviations
i_-- ' : Fabrics -___ <<-..!
~-
I I
." 1_ . . . .. . . . .- - - - . - ..-'.-::-
.
~ ~

. ~

, ,
Fabric Fabricname Fabric description
code
.- _ _ ,. . .. . . _ . . . _ . _ _ .. . -. . . .. . . - .~ -. .- - .. - - ~.~ ~

I
ITS Samian 1 I
I
1 0 ~ ~ 1 Fine orange Cheshire plains fine ware, orange to pale orange. Soft with powderylsandy feel and smooth fracture.
I ware Sparse, well-sorted, fine quartz and sparse ill-sorted fine to medium, rounded red brown inclusions. I
i
1 0 ~ ~ 1 Sandy orange
I
I~icaceous I
Cheshire Plains medium orange, hard to soft with rather sandy feel and quite smooth fracture. Sparse-
I ware moderate, ill-sorted medium to coarse subangular quartz, sparse, ill-sorted, rounded redlbrown and grey 1
]
-

1 I
f inclusions I
i

I
OBAl

jOBA2
1.
e ware 1 !AS OAAl but buff
l ~ i n buff
1
!Fine buff ware 2 l ~ e d i u m
-
I
buff. Soft with powderylsandy feel and irregular fracture. Common, well-sorted, fine quartz and ;
- -
1 I
\sparse ill-sorted fine to medium, rounded- red
- .
brown
-.
inclusions.
-..
As OAIBAI but more quartz. 1
I
,-

T s a n d y buff ware ]AS OAB 1 but buff


I I I
OAClOBCl Pre-Derbyshire Orange (OAC) or buff (OBC). Hard, rough with irregular fracture. Moderate, coarse, ill-sorted, subangular quartz,
ware often crystalline appearance suggesting quartzite; moderate, coarse, ill-sorted, rounded, black or brown inclusions, i
1 I , .. .., . probably. iron..,,oxides. ...., . , ... ,..,, ,.,,,, ,.. ..,, ." -
~
.. ., ..,, ,.,,, ,,, ,,,. . . , ,.,
, ,, , . ,. . , , ..,,, , . ., , - !
~GRA 1Grey. Very fine, hard, smooth with smooth fracture. Sparse, fine subrounded quartz j
. . ,,
1 ~ i n e
grey
. ,., . ,.,, ,,- ,-ware ", . . .. .,,, .., ,. ,,, , ,. ,, .,.,, , .. , .., ., . .... ,..,, ...,,, ,,,, .,,.,, ,, , .,.. ,.. .,. "..,, ,,..., . ., ., -, -- ., .,. .. ,,., .
\
AS
, ~

, ,
/BB1 l ~ l a c kburnished Tomber & Dore 1998 South-East Dorset BBI (DOR BB1).
lware 1 I

FLB2 ]white-slip
lorange ware
-
l ~ a r dwith sandy feel and irregular fracture. White slip. Moderate well-sorted medium subangular quartz, j
]sparse, coarse. rounded grey inclusions
FLAl ]white ware {cream. Hard with smooth feel and almost conchoidal fracture. Rare, well-sorted, very fine, subangular quartz and /

. . "
i
I
Hartshill I
with a self-coloured slip. Inclusions usually moderate, smallish, transparent and translucent white and
mortaria
pinkish
. quartz with sparse opaque orange-brown and rarely blackish fragments; rarely white clay pellets
I
-",,"."."v-.-..aM~ .""-m- -" i=___ml_._.. ,"......."
.,-~.,",ww..>,,~,~.,..- ......
-I_1_" "__I;Lj jil i iliu--",.:i.i- 1
-. -. -. ..-. -
. .-

i
- -- :_
-- . . . . .. -..- .~
- -..~
.-F abrics
-.
, '
____
. ~
~ .- . -.
~~~ 1
Fabric
--
. .
Fabric name Fabric description
code -. .: . . . -~ . . ~ . . -- - .- . . ~~~
~~. .

1 (or re-fired pottery 1


'MWROX Wroxeter white Cream fabric, variing in texture fiom softish to very hard and often with a buff-cream slip. Inclusions: 1I
ware mortarium again varying, moderate to frequent, ill-sorted quartz, red-brown and opaque black material. Trituration i
grit: mainly quartz, quartz sandstone, red-brown sandstone, black rock !
DBY
.u-.d,-".:d*;.--.
Derbyshire ware
~===-,-
As
:--~=~~>-.:~-~---- Tomber and Dore 1998 PER
-" .-.CO
:: -. ~ ~-~~-~,,..,.:;~,~._a-~-..._.~ ~ . ~ - . ~ . . . . . . 4 . _ _ ~ _ ~ . ~_._~~,~,.~_,.,..L~.A.w,,,.,........_._ :=. :.;-, ~ :.,.i

BKR bodysherd of beaker


CHM chamfered
-, -, , . ...,,,,.,
base, , .
- -- -

FLG flange

~IRS/incomplete rim section1


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