Featured Image: The stripped excavation area showing the excavated enclosure ditch, © Border Archaeology
A rural settlement, dating back approximately 2000 years to the Late Iron Age/Roman period, has been excavated in the village of Monks Eleigh.
The excavations, which took place in September 2020 by Border Archaeology, revealed evidence of an early field system and domestic settlement, which included an extensive enclosure ditch, pits, dumps of domestic waste and field boundaries.
The artefacts give us a snapshot into the everyday lives of the people who once lived there; these included bronze tweezers, a possible pre-Roman conquest brooch, fragments of glass vessels, pottery imported from the continent, ceramic building materials, animal bones and a great quantity of oyster shells which were a common food source in the Roman period.
The pottery assemblage was mainly of everyday coarse wares but did include some finer Samian ware dish fragments and colour coated wares often associated with higher status occupation. The imported pottery shows that this was a community with wider networks and trading links.
The excavation is now complete and Border Archaeology will begin to fully analyse and catalogue the finds and soil samples to gather more information to help us build a better picture of the local historic environment and understand more about the community that once lived there so long ago.
Before this new discovery, only a few fragments of pottery hinted at the possibility of Romans in the area, which was often from the scattering of debris during the manuring of arable land. Hypocaust tile fragments, which were used by the Romans for underfloor heating, have also been found in the village, which may suggest that the remains of a more impressive villa may be somewhere nearby yet to be uncovered.
Read more about the Monks Eleigh project on Border Archaeology’s website.