|The annual autumn SLHA Archaeology day conference was held at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, on Saturday 17 September. The following papers were presented:
Landscape Inhabitation in South Lincolnshire during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC
Dr Peter Chowne
Rural settlements are usually associated with agriculture and have constructed facilities such as roads, enclosures, field systems, boundary banks and ditches and conglomerations of dwellings. In historic times these might be defined as villages, hamlets or farms and can be recognised through extant remains, historic maps and place names. Understanding prehistoric settlement is difficult particularly in an agricultural county with few visible prehistoric remains.
In Lincolnshire our evidence for human activity in prehistory derives largely from surface scatters of occupation debris and cropmarks visible on aerial photographs sometimes supplemented by excavation. Dr Chowne’s paper presented a brief overview of landscape occupation in early prehistory before focussing on the later Bronze Age and Iron Age through a case study of the fen margin between the River Slea and River Welland.T'other side of the river – Britons and Romans in the Territory of the Parisi
Dr Peter Halkon
This contribution considered the extent to which the Parisi, who according to Ptolemy occupied the north bank of the Humber, possess a distinct tribal identity, from their roots in the Iron Age Arras Culture, famous for its chariot burials, to the end of the Roman period.
Reference was also be made to the growing evidence for the possible influence from the south bank of the Humber in the form of coinage and pottery in the later Iron Age and the extent of continued connections.Recent fieldwork at Roman Sites on the Central Lincolnshire Wolds
Dr Steve Willis
This paper focused on recent findings resulting from excavation and survey at sites of the Roman period in the Waithe valley through the Lincolnshire Wolds. The Wolds have been little studied archaeologically but new examination is revealing their importance in the past.
The work has been undertaken through an on-going partnership between the North-East Lincs Archaeology and Local History Society, the University of Kent and local volunteers, combining research and training and involving a wide spectrum of people.
Two sites in particular were discussed together with their broader context within Lincolnshire and beyond, in Roman times. The first was the late Roman site at Hatcliffe, which was thriving right till the end of the Roman era, while the second was a high status site near Binbrook with a formal layout and strong 'economic pull', as seen in the finds. Classical architecture, religious curse tablets and the importation of coal are aspects of the freshly emerging picture.
A theme of the paper was that this part of Lincolnshire was a thriving, vibrant and integrated component of the Roman Empire.Community, Landscape and Power in Eastern England: Understanding Middle Saxon Settlements
Dr Duncan Wright
The Middle Saxon period is increasingly seen as central to how the settlement history of England is understood, although archaeologists have often struggled to demonstrate how elite power at the time was articulated in the landscape.
Closer examination of the evidence from Eastern England, however, reveals important changes in the settlements of the seventh and eighth centuries, reflective of an increasingly complex and hierarchical society.
The power of elite institutions is particularly apparent, as Anglo-Saxon kings can be seen as consolidating their authority through the establishment of new settlement forms, typically attached to early church communities. These centres were often remodelled in subsequent centuries into recognisable historic villages, providing a legacy which continues to influence the landscape character of Eastern England today.The Rector's Gift: Integrating Church Development and Village Landscape at Car Colston and Elsewhere
Professor David Stocker
This paper had its origins in research done by Paul Everson and David Stocker on the church and village of Car Colston, Notts, for the Joint annual conferences of the Society for Church Archaeology and the Medieval Settlement Research Group, held at Leicester in 2015.
At Car Colston, a link is proposed between the exceptional architectural features found at the church, and the unusual plan-form taken by the medieval settlement.
Having established the likely sequence of events, and the relationship between the reconstruction of the chancel to the pattern of development in the village plan-form, a number of other cases were identified for the same developments at Heckington and Great Hale (Lincolnshire) and at Wharram Percy (Yorkshire, East Riding).
The paper suggested that observation in fields of study that are often thought of as distinct, such as the architectural and documentary history of churches and the plan forms of medieval settlements, can sometimes cast important light on understandings in related fields.Test –pit excavation in Lincolnshire – outcomes for Communities and Research
Professor Carenza Lewis
This lecture presented and contextualised the results of archaeological test pit excavation carried in two communities in Lincolnshire in the last year, extending a ten-year programme in East Anglia which has been very successful in reconstructing the development of historic settlements and measuring the impact of major events such as the Black Death.
The Lincolnshire results have thus been given added value by being compared with patterns from elsewhere. Professor Lewis outlined the different aims of the two projects, presented their results, and considered the potential for similar work to be carried out more extensively across the county in the future.
Recent Research and Excavations at the Middle Saxon Site at Little Carlton
Dr Hugh Willmott
Following the discovery of an hitherto unknown Middle Saxon productive site by responsible metal detecting, the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, has been undertaking a programme of survey and excavation at Little Carlton since 2015.
Dr Willmott’s talk provided an overview of this research, outlining the range of detected finds and presented for the first time the results of the archaeological investigations into what has turned out to be one of the most important early Christian settlements to have been investigated in recent years.