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The Archaeology of Castle Hill


Wittenhams 2004 Week 2

Trench 15
This trench has been opened up south of Hill Farm to examine an area of dense features found by our geophysical survey last winter. We have targeted part of a circular enclosure, probably the drainage ditch around an Iron Age roundhouse, associated pits and other ditches crossing the enclosure, probably Roman. Last year our excavations in the hillfort found evidence of Iron Age pits and burials, but outside Time Team found very little evidence of Iron Age settlement later than 400 BC. We suspect that the settlement shifted westwards over time, and dating this roundhouse should prove whether we are right. We have already found a crouched human burial in one of the pits.

Skeleton under excavation

Skeleton under excavation (click to view larger image)

Northfield Farm and Clifton Meadow
With the kind permission of the landowners, we have made a geophysical survey of a field at Northfield Farm, Long Wittenham, in an attempt to trace a Roman trackway and an earlier field system onto the Thames floodplain at Clifton Meadow. The trackway and field system show as cropmarks on the gravel terraces, but disappear under alluvium close to the river Thames. We have followed the ditches further north, but they either die out or are buried below alluvium (river mud) before reaching Clifton Meadow. We aim to excavate trenches across the line of the projected ditches to find out whether they do continue, and hope to recover waterlogged environmental remains, and to establish the history of prehistoric and Roman cultivation and flooding from the alluvium.

Map of Northfield Farm showing field system and trackway ditches
Map of Northfield Farm showing field system and trackway ditches (click to view larger image)



Link to the Northmoor Trust website