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Wessex Archaeology (2016) Fernhill Heath, Worcestershire. Archaeological Evaluation (OASIS ID: wessexar1-172799) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (doi:10.5284/1040790)
Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Taylor Wimpey UK, to carry out an archaeological evaluation on land off Dilmore Lane, Fernhill Heath, Worcestershire. The site covers an area of 6.84ha and comprises agricultural pastoral farmland centred on NGR: 38657 25930. The evaluation fieldwork was required to inform a planning application (pre-application reference CWR9693 and planning reference W/14/00367/OU) for residential development and follows on from previous desk-based assessment and geophysical survey.
Across the site, thirteen trenches were excavated to examine the results from the geophysical survey. The natural geology was found to lie at an average depth of 0.4m below ground level. The only archaeological features or deposits of note were two ditches in Trench 1, to the west of the site. In Trench 1 an east-west aligned ditch appeared to align with the location of one of the several geophysical anomalies located around this trench. The ditch contained fragments of post-medieval ceramic building material (CBM). A second ditch in the same trench was aligned with a furrow seen on the adjacent field surface.
Evidence of former agricultural practices (ridge and furrow) was observed across the site in Trenches 3 – 7, 10 and 11. The fills of the furrows were indistinguishable from the surrounding subsoil, which was also found to extend across the ridges. Fragments of post-medieval clay tobacco pipe uncovered from a furrow in Trench 5 included a 17th-century type bowl. The alignment of the furrows matched that indicated by the geophysical survey but was only evident on the surface of the fields around Trenches 1 and 3.
A 3m wide linear spread of gravel and sandstone in Trench 10 matched the alignment of a large geophysical anomaly targeted by the trench. Fragments of pottery recovered indicated a 19th century date for this feature. The feature extended away from the current gateway between the fields and was interpreted as an old farm track.
Trenches 2, 6, 8, 9 and 13 contained no archaeological features.
The project archive is currently held by Wessex Archaeology under the project code 102301 and will be transferred to the Worcestershire County Museum under an accession number to be issued on archive deposition.