Test Pit 13 - Keys Cottage, 70 High Street

This pit was dug in the garden of Keys Cottage, a 17C Grade II listed thatched cottage located next to Meldreth Primary School.   The pit was located to the rear of a 1980s house, built on land that formerly belonged with Keys Cottage.

The Finds

The pottery from this pit included a wide range of types including Romano British Ware, St Neots Ware and Stamford Ware dating to the Saxon period, Medieval Shelly Ware, Medieval Sandy Ware, Hedingham Ware and Hertfordshire Greyware dating to the 12th -14th centuries, Late Medieval Ware, Glazed Red Earthenware, Staffordshire Slipware, English Stoneware and a very large assemblage of 201 Victorian-era sherds.

Other finds from this test pit included glass, metal nails, an old metal hinge and other metal objects, a Chinese coin, clay pipe fragments, plastic, tile, brick, a corroded battery, shell fragments and some stone. The faunal assemblage included bones of cow, sheep/goat, pig, horse, cat, chicken and some other unidentifiable remains.

The two sherds of Romano-British ware found in this test pit form part of a general pattern of Roman-era pottery found across the central part of the present settlement at Meldreth, indicating activity in the area at this time most likely corresponding to a small number of farms surrounded by fields. Low levels of activity seem to have continued in the area around this test pit, which was most likely used as fields throughout most of the past 2000 years although with some increase in activity during the 12th-14th centuries, possibly indicating a nearby domestic residence at this point. The low-density deposition suggesting use as fields or gardens resumes in the post-medieval period, until clear evidence for reoccupation appears in the Victorian era.

For an overview of the site and finds, please click on the image of the exhibition poster which is the first image in the gallery below.

For detailed analysis of the finds, please see the results sheet for this pit, which is available as a download at the bottom of this page.

For reports and maps relating to all of the test pits, please see the documents available on our results page

Site Diary

Day One

There was a very interesting collection of finds in the top two or three contexts. Richard found it exciting and glad there was life after digging the hole at the end. Margaret [the owner] provided an excellent back-up with refreshments and encouragement. Sheila was interested and pleased at the range of finds.

Day Two

Contexts 4-7 (final):

  • Bill was very pleased to find the Roman pottery pieces at the lower levels.
  • Richard found it hard going today as we did not find as much.
  • Margaret is glad it has been completed successfully.
  • Sheila really enjoyed the team work.

Photo Gallery

Please click on a photograph to display a larger image.


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