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CHER Number:CB14681
Type of record:Monument
Name:Romano-British occupation activity, Waste Management Park, Waterbeach

Summary - not yet available

Grid Reference:TL 488 689
Parish:Landbeach, South Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

  • DITCH (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MIDDEN (4th century AD - 301 AD to 400 AD)
  • STRUCTURE? (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • CREMATION CEMETERY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • EXTRACTIVE PIT (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (Unknown date)
  • GULLY (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • PIT (3rd century AD to 4th century AD - 201 AD to 400 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • DROVE ROAD (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • WATERHOLE (2nd century AD to 3rd century AD - 101 AD to 300 AD)
  • WELL (2nd century AD to 3rd century AD - 101 AD to 300 AD)
  • POND (2nd century AD to 3rd century AD - 101 AD to 300 AD)
  • POST HOLE (2nd century AD to 3rd century AD - 101 AD to 300 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (19th century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • GULLY (Unknown date)
  • DITCH (Unknown date)
  • WELL (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)
  • METAL WORKING SITE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds:

  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Undated)
  • RING (Undated)
  • ROD (Undated)
  • COFFIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HAIR PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HANDLE? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLUG (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • QUERN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SICKLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SLAG (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STUD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • STUD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TESSERA? (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VESSEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • VOTIVE MODEL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • COIN (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • INSCRIBED OBJECT (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • SHERD (2nd century AD to 4th century AD - 101 AD to 400 AD)
  • COIN HOARD? (4th century AD - 301 AD to 400 AD)

Associated Events:

  • Excavation and evaluation at IWM Park, Waterbeach, 2002
  • Excavation at Ely Road, Waste Management, Waterbeach, 2007 (Ref: ERW07)
  • Further excavations at Ely Road, Waterbeach, 2008 (Ref: ERW08)
  • Evaluation at the Cambridge Centre for Recycling, 2000

Full description

1. Evaluation in the area of the IWM park revealed evidence for late 3-4th century occupation, including a midden and traces of structures, overlying earlier Roman ditches. Other ditches found were also mainly late Roman, relating to field systems, except one ditch which was Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age in date. One undated cremation related to the 4th century temple that once stood nearby (now lost to quarrying) was recovered.

2. A second phase of evaluation and area excavation was undertaken in 2002 prior to the construction of the IWM park. A low density of undated features were observed across the site, including boundary ditches, gullies, pits, postholes and a well. Some of the features contained worked and burnt flint, suggesting they were related to prehistoric activity. The well contained a deposit of partly articulated lamb bones, and a decapitated calf, suggested to be later Iron Age. Three further cremations of probable Roman date were located in the western part of the site, in the vicinity of the postulated late Romano-British temple. Two were associated with iron nails and charred wood, suggested to be the remains of coffins or planks from a funeral pyre. In addition numerous Romano-British gravel extraction pits and several field boundary ditches were also recorded.

3. Excavation of 2.6 ha in the NW part of the site revealed further evidence for Romano-British activity. The site was dominated by Roman-British occupation activity, dating to the 2nd to 4th centuries, with a peak in activity during the 3rd century. Parts of two rectangular enclosures were identified along the western edge of the excavation area, with a well established droveway between the two which is also visible as a cropmark to the SW of the excavation area. The southern enclosure had three major phases of construction, dating to the early 2nd, late 2nd - early 3rd and 3rd centuries respectively, and appears to have gone out of use by the late 3rd century. The later phases of the enclosure saw an increase in the material culture deposited into the ditches, including pottery, animal bone, oyster shell and iron. The northern enclosure, of which only the corner was excavated, was constructed soon after the south enclosure, probably in the late 2nd century, and had two distinct phases of construction in the later 2nd and 3rd centuries. A number of small parallel gullies were excavated inside the south enclosure, associated with the second and third phases of the enclosure. A small undated two-sided structure was excavated in the SE corner of the southern enclosure. The structure comprised an L-shaped beam slot, with three small postholes and six stake holes, forming a square building of probable Roman date. A small curving gully in the NW corner of the south enclosure was possibly part of a larger wooden structure, and contained pottery of 2nd-4th century date. A possible water hole was excavated just outside the south enclosure, thought to be contemporary with the final phase of enclosure ditches. The fills included a black organic basal fill that contained a large number of waterlogged seeds, pottery, oyster shell and a piece of black flint utilised as a tessera. A deposit of three cow mandibles and three scapulae were included in another of the lower fills. In the NW corner of the excavation area a rough gravel surface measuring 8m by 11m was exposed overlying the droveway between the enclosures. Pottery and a decorative stud recovered from the gravels give a probable construction date for the metalled surface as mid-late 3rd century. Overlying the metalled surface was a midden, which formed in the late 3rd/early 4th century, and represents one of the final phases of Romano-British activity on the site. The midden measured at least 7m by 15m, and contained a single homogenous fill which yielded over 5000 sherds of pottery, 2000 fragments of animal bone, including some worked bone artefacts, 40 copper alloy objects and 75 coins. The finds recovered suggests that the midden may have been used as more than a rural settlement rubbish tip, and may have been associated with the nearby temple and its related activities. A sequence of ditches were exposed in the far south of the site, orientated NE-SW, with a gap between the ditches representing a possible droveway running parallel to Akeman Street. In the NE corner of the site an area of intercutting pts was excavated, which included 42 pits, nine post holes and two possible large pond features. The quarrying activity probably started in the 2nd century, with activity continuing through to the late 3rd or early 4th century. Two large shallow features, probably ponds, were cut through the intercutting quarry pits in the late 2nd or 3rd century, and appear to have remained open. Two pits in the northern part of the pit cluster contained waterlogged deposits, including wood fragments, seeds and insects, suggestive of standing water. Nine post holes were also excavated, only one of which contained later Roman pottery. A number of undated features were also recorded, including pits, postholes, one well, four gullies, four ditches and a pit with possible foot prints.

4. A further narrow strip of land was excavated in advance of ditch widening, revealing a continuation of Romano-British features from the adjacent excavations. A continuation of the rectilinear enclosure ditch and recuts was recorded with a slight curvature to the south, and with silty-clay deposits with in the ditches. These also contained moderately large quantities of animal bone and a fragment of decorative copper alloy sheet. A NE-SW aligned boundary ditch was also recorded which represented a continuation from the 2007 excavations, but the lack of a parallel ditch indicate this was not a droveway as originally thought. A further shallow ditch was also recorded on the same alignment as other Romano-British features.


<1> Masser, P., 2000, The Cambridge Centre for Recycling, Ely Road, Waterbeach: Archaeological evaluation of Graves' Field, The Undertakers, Webster's Field and the IWM Park (Unpublished report). SCB17533.


<2> Cooper, A. and Whittaker, P., 2004, Integrated Waste Management Centre, Ely Road, Waterbeach. Archaeological Investigation (Unpublished report). SCB19946.


<3> Ranson, C., 2008, The Waste Management Park, Waterbeach, Cambridge. An Archaeological Excavation (Unpublished report). SCB20969.


<4> Slater, A., 2009, Further Archaeological Investigations at the Waste Management Park, Waterbeach, Cambridge (Unpublished report). SCB21290.

Sources and further reading

<1>Unpublished report: Masser, P.. 2000. The Cambridge Centre for Recycling, Ely Road, Waterbeach: Archaeological evaluation of Graves' Field, The Undertakers, Webster's Field and the IWM Park.
<2>Unpublished report: Cooper, A. and Whittaker, P.. 2004. Integrated Waste Management Centre, Ely Road, Waterbeach. Archaeological Investigation.
<3>Unpublished report: Ranson, C.. 2008. The Waste Management Park, Waterbeach, Cambridge. An Archaeological Excavation.
<4>Unpublished report: Slater, A.. 2009. Further Archaeological Investigations at the Waste Management Park, Waterbeach, Cambridge.