Test Pit 5 - 90a High Street
This pit was located on land adjacent to the British Queen. It was dug close to the river behind the house which is now called Longmead. At one time called “The Limes”, it was once part of Sheene Manor. Sylvia Gipson recalled the house: “I remember the house had a small ornamental garden at the back and the rest of the land was orchards right down to the river. Then all the trees were taken out and the gardens were created”. In the late 1950’s the house was owned by the Jackson family of Fowlmere and otter hounds were kept in kennels at the bottom of the garden.
The single sherd of prehistoric pottery that was found in Context 4, shows that the site was in use at that time, perhaps as fields. It then appears to have been abandoned until the early medieval period, before once again falling from use at the end of that era until the 19th century.
Other finds included stone, glass, a clay insulator, slate, brick, tile and fragments of mussel and oyster shell. The faunal assemblage included bones of pig and some other unidentifiable remains.
The finds suggest that this site, close to the River Mel, has never been directly occupied. However, further upstream, the finds from Test Pit 12, indicate that in that area of the village settlement did take place adjacent to the river.
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.
Not much was expected from this site by the river, so the finds were of interest. Sieving dictated the work rate.
Sieving again dictated the work rate. Shells and the glacial stone indicated that the river was wider in the past and clay was deposited. We did not reach the chalk.
Please click on a photograph to display a larger image.