Wellington Quarry

Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, 2011

Data copyright © Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service unless otherwise stated


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Primary contact

Robin Jackson
Project manager
Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service
Woodbury
Worcester University
Henwick Grove, Worcester
WR2 6AJ
England
Tel: 01905 855401

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Introduction

Working shot of Early Neolithic pit excavation

This post-excavation project undertaken by Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service was commissioned by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund to bring to publication the results of 10 years of work at Wellington Quarry in Herefordshire.

Between 1986 and 1996, a small team working in advance of sand and gravel extraction recorded significant archaeological deposits scattered across an area of more than 37 hectares of farmland. Although the quarry company, Redland Aggregates (now Lafarge Aggregates), voluntarily supported the costs of the fieldwork and some preliminary reporting, it has only been through ALSF support that it has been possible to bring this work to publication.

During these 10 years a regionally unique archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sequence was recorded covering nearly 8000 years of interrelated human activity and landscape change in the Lower Lugg Valley. Starting with use by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, the heavily wooded floodplain witnessed periods of sporadic occupation and activity throughout early prehistory. A mid 4th millennium BC pit group provided a detailed insight into a wide range of seasonally based activities, while later funerary deposits included a wealthy Beaker burial. From the start of the 2nd millennium BC, an increasingly open and cleared landscape existed beyond the floodplain, on which activity was evidenced by occasional finds from former watercourses.

Ritual deposition of human remains and artefacts in the later prehistoric period included a rare Iron Age double inhumation, though by this time a more settled and farmed landscape had emerged. By the 2nd century AD, a streamside settlement had been established. Expansion and intensification of this settlement led to the construction, by the 4th century, of one or more well-appointed stone buildings indicating that at least some of the inhabitants lived a highly Romanised lifestyle, rare on rural sites in this region.

The settlement was abandoned by the late 4th to early 5th century but, until at least the 12th to 14th centuries, arable cultivation continued. During the post-medieval period there was a shift towards an enclosed landscape of pasture and meadow, a pattern maintained until the onset of mineral extraction in the 1980s.

A monograph presenting the project results in detail was published by Oxbow Books in April 2011 (Jackson R. and Miller D. 2011 Wellington Quarry, Herefordshire (1986-96). Investigations of a landscape in the Lower Lugg Valley. Oxbow Books, Oxford. ISBN 978-1-84217-366-4).