Willington, South Derbyshire

Matthew Beamish, 2009 (updated 2011)

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Matthew Beamish
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School of Archaeology and Ancient History
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Matthew Beamish (2011) Willington, South Derbyshire [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000075

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Introduction

Photograph of excavations

The Willington, South Derbyshire project has comprised the analysis of Neolithic and Bronze Age domestic remains and evidence of fire clearance of the area in the third and second millenia B.C.

The Neolithic occupation was mainly characterised by an assemblage of Peterborough ware from pits and spreads. An extensive radiocarbon programme has confirmed the theory that Peterborough ware had become fully developed in the 4th millenium B.C., and did not extend into the Late Neolithic of the 3rd millenium B.C. The appearance of the Peterborough ware occupation of the site is consistent with the national date for the start of the Peterborough ware tradition (c 3600 B.C.). There are some indications that the Ebbsfleet style of Peterborough ware did only appear at the start of the tradition.

The radiocarbon programme also revealed a sequence of occupation in the "Beaker period" (late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age) that included a Burnt Mound sited above earlier Neolithic occupation. A later ring ditch and burial pit were cut through alluvial silts that started to inundate the site, and a second Burnt Mound of Middle Bronze Age date established. The Beaker period burnt mound included residual Peterborough ware material and would have been interpreted as contemporary with Peterborough ware occupation without the benefit of radiocarbon dating.

The Neolithic occupation was most probably within a wooded environment that had not been cleared. Series of burnt horizons and tree-throw pits containing in-situ burnt material were recorded. Radiocarbon dating has successfully demonstrated that this fire clearance was an ongoing process in the 3rd millenium and suggests that clearance took place over many generations and was a gradual transition for the landscape rather than an abrupt change within living memory.

The on-line archive contains the specialist reports commissioned in 2005-7 in support of the following published research report:

Beamish, M., 2009, 'Neolithic and Bronze Age Activity on the Trent Valley Floor. Excavations at Egginton and Willington, Derbyshire, 1998-1999', in Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, vol 129, pp17-172.

Details of the publication can be found at the Derbyshire Archaeological Society website.