Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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Stuart Foreman (2009) Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Palaeoenvironment - Scheme Wide Research Report


A large body of environmental data was analysed from excavations along the route of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The charred plant remains showed only traces of cereals and wild foods in the early prehistoric period although arable agriculture had became firmly established in the area by the middle to late Bronze Age with the cultivation of hulled wheats and barley. Emmer as well as spelt appears to have been grown well into the Iron Age although spelt becomes the dominant wheat by the Romano-British period. The post-Roman period saw the appearance of free-threshing wheat including bread wheat, rye and oats and the continued cultivation of hulled barley. There was, however, a large amount of hulled wheat remains at one site. Other cultivars include horse bean, pea and flax, present from the late Bronze Age onwards. The weed seeds suggest that a range of soils may have been cultivated but particularly sandy loam soils in the prehistoric period with the increasing use of heavy clay soils in the Roman and post-Roman periods. Crops may have been both spring and autumn sown. Several exotics (including possible imports) of fig, grape and lentil were recovered from a Romano-British cemetery site. The animal bones show the presence of the four mammalian domesticates (cattle, sheep/goat, pig and horse) from the late Bronze Age onwards, with the limited ageing evidence suggesting mixed husbandry strategies but possibly with an increase in sheep at several sites in the medieval period reflecting the importance of the growing wool trade. Marine fish remains suggest that this was an important part of the food economy in both the Roman and post-Roman periods. The hunting of wild game appears to have played some part in the food economy throughout. There was also evidence for bee keeping at the Roman villa at Thurnham. The animal bones from Parsonage Farm are indicative of a high status site in the medieval period.

Evidence on the nature of the environment/landscape was limited although the geo-archaeological sequence at White Horse Stone allowed a reconstruction of the landscape around this settlement in the post-glacial period. Molluscan and pollen evidence suggests local and regional variation within periods and across the route although the charcoal remains appear to indicate that there was little pressure generally on woodland resources at least up until the beginning of the Romano-British period with oak being a dominant element in domestic, economic and ritual activities .

Other material from the programme linked to this report.

Phase 2 - Specialist Research Reports

This material is also discussed in the Palaeoenvironmental - Specialist Research Report.

Phase 2 - Integrated Site Report

This sections provides a schemewide summary of material taken from the site specific Integrated Site Reports.