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Monument record MDR2586 - Willington - Settlement dating from Late Neolithic to Anglo-Saxon

Type and Period (1)

  • (Early Neolithic to Saxon - 4000 BC to 1065 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

A settlement site with traces of occupation from Late Neolithic to Saxon times has been discovered at Willington. The site lies on a gravel terrace of the River Trent, and was located by Mr J Pickering in the course of air reconnaissance. Gravel quarrying is being carried out at the site and most of the areas examined in 1970 have already been destroyed. The Neolithic settlement is marked by a considerable number of post-holes, including several pairs, and by pits, some of which contained Beaker and Grooved Ware type sherds. To the east of the settlement site a quantity of Beaker sherds were found in the turf mound of a round barrow. This barrow was not dateable and a central pit, suitable in size for an extended inhumation was excavated without anything being found. A small group of post-holes and pits associated with Grooved Ware was found approximately 150m to the west of the main settlement, suggesting perhaps a second area of Late Neolithic settlement. In addition, circular huts of Bronze and Iron Age have been excavated. From the 2nd to 4th centuries an enclosed Roman farmstead of 5000 sq m was in use, with post-structures, hearths, pits and probable cattle pounds. Romano-British pottery was recovered from two pits, and was also found scattered throughout the topsoil of the site. A small oven dateable to the 4th century was cut through the barrow/ditch. In the 6th century at least three Saxon grubenhauser were constructed. (1-2) The Iron Age aspects of this site are listed by Challis and Harding, including three Iron Age clay-lined pits for water. (3) Excavations at Willington from 1970-1972 showed the site to have been occupied intermittently from Neolithic to Saxon times. There were two late Neolithic settlements shown by pottery, mostly Grooved Ware, found in post holes and pits. Two barrows were excavated, one of the Beaker period or later and the other of probable Bronze Age date although this is not certain. Other Bronze Age material was found in isolated situations including a small pit containing part of an urn. The Iron Age was represented by a field system and a settlement showing two phases of occupation, from the 8th-7th century BC and the 4th-1st century BC. Isolated Romano-British artefacts and features, mostly pits, were found over the whole excavated area. The most notable of these isolated features were an oval pit with the straight sides and flat bottom of a grain-storage pit, a Romano-British corn-drying oven of the later 3rd or early 4th century that had been dug through the ring ditch of Barrow 1, and a hearth dug through the ditches of Barrow 3. In two instances, enclosures were excavated where the density of features suggested the sites of two 2nd century Romano-British farmsteads [SMR 27909 and SMR 27927], although no dwellings were identified. A 6th century Saxon agricultural settlement of three grubenhauser was also excavated. Finds from the excavation are now in Derby Museum. (4) Cropmarks plotted on map overlay, 1:10,000. (6) This large complex of cropmark features were plotted as GIS polygons for an aerial photographic mapping survey, which was carried out as part of an aggreggates resource project. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Article in serial: Wheeler, H.. 1972. Antiquity 1972. 46.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: CBA Report of Trent Valley Arch Res Com 1970 1-11 (H Wheeler).
  • <3> Monograph: Challis, A & Harding, W. 1975. 'Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne', British Archaeological Report 20. Part 2. p9, 38, 39, 55.
  • <4> Article in serial: Wheeler, H (TVARC). 1979. 'Excavation at Willington, Derbyshire, 1970-72', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 99, pp 58-220.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Swan, V. 1984. The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain. Gazeteer 252.
  • <6> Archive: Whiteley, S. 1989. Aerial Photographic Transcripton Project.
  • <7> Digital data: Archaeological Research Services (ARS) Ltd. 2009/2010. Aerial Photographic Mapping Survey carried out as part of an Aggregates Resource Project.



Grid reference Centred SK 28562 27739 (874m by 381m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR201
  • EDR218

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Record last edited

Oct 12 2015 5:37PM

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