Archaeologists have uncovered one of the most significant Romano-British sites in the Trent Valley, at Langford Quarry in Nottinghamshire. However, it is clear from the evidence that Langford was a focus for activity from the Neolithic onwards.
Archaeologist Lee Elliott, of Trent and Peak Archaeology part of York Archaeological Trust, led the research with Peter Webb.
Lee explained that, “We believe this site is a Romano-British village, very few of which have been identified along the Trent Valley – single farmsteads being the norm. The village appears to have been sub-divided into areas for living, working and burial. The exceptional range of artefacts for a rural community suggests prosperity possibly built on large scale animal husbandry and associated products servicing the nearby Romano-British towns at Brough and Lincoln. “
“For the Romano-British period it represents one of the most substantial collections recovered in the Trent Valley, revealing not only the wide range of animals present, but evidence of butchery and the working of bone and antler,” explained Lee. ‘’Altogether the findings provide fresh insight into rural life during this period.’’
A unique opportunity
In a unique agreement with Nottinghamshire County Council, Tarmac, the owners of the quarry, agreed to strip all the remaining land that needed to be worked so that archaeologists had the maximum opportunity to examine the site.
An exceptional chronology
The Neolithic to Bronze Age (4000BC- 800BC) was represented by a large amount of flint and pottery from several surface scatters, a small number of pits and a ring ditch (probable former burial mound c.20m in diameter). A particularly significant find was a rare stone macehead.
The Mid to Late Iron Age (400BC- 42AD) comprised a collection of ditched enclosures incorporating pits and circular gullies for round houses and stack-stands (stores for hay).
The most substantial remains on site were of a Romano-British (42AD-400AD) village/hamlet like settlement c.200m by 180m in size. This comprised trackways along which were located several sub-rectangular ditched enclosures containing various forms of activity including building remains, wells, corn-drying, animal corralling/butchery and human burial.
The presence of eight stone lined wells is an unprecedented total for a Romano-British site in Nottinghamshire. They have provided potentially significant environmental evidence and artefacts (including near complete pots). Outside the settlement core lay ditched field systems for animals and possibly crops.
A range of artefacts
A substantial range of artefacts has been recovered including pottery, metalwork (coins, brooches, pins, nails, buckles), worked wood, animal bone, leather, glass, as well as palaeoenvironmental evidence. This group of finds/material comprises one of the largest and most significant collections ever recovered from a rural Romano-British site along the Trent Valley. Together they provide fresh insights into everyday rural life during this period.
Evidence was also recovered of Early Anglo-Saxon settlement (c.410AD-649 AD) in the form of pits, postholes and the remains of sunken floored buildings. A wide range of artefacts was recovered including pottery, glass beads, pins, spindle whorls, loomweights, brooches and animal bone. The pottery recovered comprises one of the largest collections of Anglo-Saxon domestic pottery found along the Trent Valley.
Together with the other finds this adds significantly to the understanding of the cultural wealth of the Early Anglo-Saxon rural settlement of the Trent Valley, with few sites of this type yet discovered and excavated.
During the medieval period (c. 1066AD-1539AD), most of the site formed part of the field system of the nearby village of Langford and was covered by ridge and furrow. Several items have been recovered from this period including coins, lead weights, a buckle, and a mount. This hints at the former wealth of the village which is now shrunken to a small hamlet, with earthworks indicating its previous extent.