Love's Lane, Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire (OASIS ID: oxfordar1-277741)

Oxford Archaeology (South), 2017

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Oxford Archaeology (South) (2017) Love's Lane, Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire (OASIS ID: oxfordar1-277741) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


Love's Lane, Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire (OASIS ID: oxfordar1-277741)

Oxford Archaeology Ltd undertook an archaeological evaluation of the site of a proposed housing development in the village of Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire, between 24th October and 2nd November 2016. The evaluation comprised 20 trenches, some placed to investigate features identified by a previous geophysical survey or otherwise distributed throughout the remainder of the application site. The trenches were placed at greater density in the southern part of the site where any archaeological features were obscured on the geophysical survey plot by traces of ridge-and-furrow and magnetic debris.

No features or in situ deposits were dated earlier than the middle to late Iron Age, but the presence of a very small amount of residual worked flint suggests that Mesolithic and earlier Neolithic activity is likely to have taken place in the vicinity of the site.

A D-shaped enclosure ditch, identified by the geophysical survey in the northeastern part of the site, was investigated in three trenches and is thought most likely to date from the late Iron Age, on the basis of pottery finds. The most closely datable artefact recovered is a fine flagon handle of the 1st century AD, recovered from the latest fill of the enclosure ditch. The absence of any definite Roman pottery suggests that the enclosure is most likely to have been abandoned prior to, or during, the Roman conquest period.

As few internal features were found, the function of the enclosure is not certain, although its form is closely comparable with numerous late Iron Age farmsteads known in Leicestershire. In contrast to more extensively excavated examples there was clear no trace of roundhouses, which are usually indicated in this region by pennannular eavesdrip and/or foundation ditches. A possible rectilinear arrangement of pits on the geophysical survey plot, inside the enclosure, may indicate lines of storage pits rather than posthole structures. The trenching revealed two probable storage pits just outside the enclosure ditch to the north and a third inside the enclosure.

The evaluation proved the existence of a pair of parallel ditches, forming a possible trackway, which crossed the site on a NW-SE alignment, apparently cutting through the D-shaped enclosure. Pottery dating evidence was limited but also suggests a late Iron Age date for this feature.

Charred plant remains from the late Iron Age features indicate that arable agriculture and cereal processing took place in the vicinity, supported by the discovery of a beehive quernstone fragment. Animal bone was very scarce, possibly because the local soil conditions are not conducive to bone preservation.

In conclusion, the Dunton Bassett site appears to be of local significance, but further study of it would contribute to important regional research objectives, as detailed in the West Midlands Regional Research Framework.