The Excavation of the Cleatham Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, North Lincolnshire

Kevin Leahy, 2007 (updated 2014)

Data copyright © Kevin Leahy unless otherwise stated


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Introduction

image of excavation

Between 1984 and 1989 the Anglo-Saxon mixed rite cemetery at Cleatham, in the parish of Manton, North Lincolnshire (National Grid reference SE932008) was excavated in advance of its destruction by ploughing. This work resulted in the recovery of 1204 urns and 62 inhumations together with boundary ditches and other features. Cleatham originally contained an estimated 1528 burials making it the third largest Anglo-Saxon cemetery in England. It was in use throughout the early Anglo-Saxon period, terminating with later seventh century 'Final Phase' burials. There are indications that the Cleatham site contained a sub-Roman element.

Many of the urns were intercut or found with other vessels making it possible to construct a Harris Matrix showing their stratigraphic relationships. This allowed the decorative styles of the urns to be placed into sequence. The sequence was found to be internally consistent and correlated well with dated grave goods from Cleatham and other cemetery sites. It was also possible to look at the frequency with which certain types of object were used over the period during which the cemetery was in use. No developmental sequence was identified for urn shapes although there appear to have been changes in the pot fabrics used. An examination of urns from other cemeteries suggests that the Cleatham sequence is generally applicable throughout Anglian England.

Kevin Leahy's report on the excavation, Interrupting the Pots; Excavation of Cleatham Anglo-Saxon Cemetery was published in 2007 as Council for British Archaeology Research Report, 155. This digital resource is intended to make the data upon which the report was based available. It includes the full catalogues as a relational database together with images and the meta-data defining the terms used. While it can be used by itself it is best understood as being complementary to the hard copy synthesis.

The preparation of data for inclusion in this resource has been made possible through a grant given by the Friends of North Lincolnshire Museums whose support is gratefully acknowledged.