Element Group record MCC9342 - Possible Iron Age and medieval occupation features to the east of Maldon Road, Heckfordbridge


A number of ditches, possibly Iron Age in date, and possibly forming an enclosure, and medieval ditches, possibly field systems, were defined in advance of the construction of a water pipeline in 2011.


Grid reference TL 9446 2152 (point)
Map sheet TL92SW
County ESSEX


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Between January and March 2011, an excavation was undertaken by Oxford Archaeology East - the central (4m-wide) easement of a water pipeline by Essex and Suffolk Water, 167m long to the north of Lukes Farm.<1>

The first phase of occupation was not conclusively dated, but its form would suggest an Iron Age date. This activity was attested to by several ditches which were recorded on a north-east to south-west alignment 2, 36 and 30, these would probably have been part of a larger rectilinear field system. The ditches are on the same alignment as some recorded on aerial photographs located to the south-east of the excavation area, which suggests that is was part of a larger farming landscape during the Iron Age.
A curvilinear ditch was also excavated 70 and 72, which was recorded turning towards the north and terminating just inside the excavation area 76, possibly forming a small banjo-shaped enclosure. This is likely to have used to keep livestock and may suggest that domestic settlement may have been close by. However, no animal bone or large abundance of pottery was found to corroborate this. A circular feature is shown on previous aerial photographs just to the north-east of the site, which could be interpreted as a similar animal pen or possibly a round house.
Later activity on site has been shown to be medieval in date, this occupation compriising two ditches 26 and 28, running north-east to south-west. These are on the same alignment as Maldon Road, which leads to the suggestion that the medieval field system was laid out to respect this. Aerial photographs also show further features on this alignment.
At the south of the excavation area, two parallel ditches ran north to south, spaced 30m apart which (the reports suggests) might relate to later medieval strip cultivation.

Several tree throws 10, 14, 22, 45, 51, 60, 62 and 65 were distributed across site; one additional one was of note 49/56, as it contained Late Bronze Age / Early Iron Age pottery.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> EXCAV REPORT: Stocks-Morgan, Helen. 2012. Prehistoric and Medieval activity along the route of the Wormingford to Abberton pipeline: Excavation Report. Fig. 8.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 28 2016 2:13PM

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