Archaeologists find remains of Iron Age village
- Credit: Oxford Archaeology East
The remains of an Iron Age village has been found at Tye Green.
Members of Oxford Archaeology East have been investigating the four hectare area for Countryside Properties and RPS Consulting, ahead of work to create new housing.
Their fieldwork suggests the site was important in the late Iron Age and early Roman periods, but could have come to harm - possibly as a result of Boudiccan reprisals.
The site has a large defensive enclosure dug in the late 1st century BC, with 17 roundhouses and 17 semi-circular shapes which could have been screens or windbreaks.
Smaller semi-circular structures are also associated with hearths.
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The depth of the roundhouse gullies has suggested that the buildings were up to 15m in diameter. Archaeologists said the enclosure had an avenue-like entrance and aligned with the central roundhouse. Structures similar to medieval granary stores could have been stored grain taxes.
They uncovered over 100 brooches ranging from the 1st century BC to 3rd century AD, 10 Iron Age coins, Roman coins, hairpins, beads, finger rings and a copper alloy cockerel figurine.
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They also found an area with large amounts of animal bone and oyster shell and votive offerings. Initial interpretations suggest a potential link to the Roman god of communication and commerce, the Cult of Mercury, among other things.
The settlement was expanded but at some point during the later 1st century AD a number of the larger roundhouses was burned down and the main enclosure was cleared.
Writing for the Oxford Archaeology magazine In Touch, Andy Greef and Pat Moan said: "It is difficult to be certain prior to further analysis, but there is potential that this represents evidence for reprisals on local important families following the Boudiccan uprising.
"Alternatively, and somewhat less dramatically, this abandonment of the main enclosure could represent the local elite moving to nearby villa sites and the Tye Green settlement devolving into smaller farmsteads."
Their sitework was completed in October, with social distancing in place, but assessment work is ongoing.
BBC TV's Digging for Britain series has been there to film.