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HER Number:MDV81291
Name:Archaeological Features, Land Adjacent to Station Road


Archaeological features, some of which have been identified as a Prehistoric co-axial field system dating from the Bronze Age to the Romano-British Period. Sherds of Beaker pottery and middle-late Roman pottery were recovered.


Grid Reference:SY 101 992
Map Sheet:SY19NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishFeniton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishFENITON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COAXIAL FIELD SYSTEM (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Woodley, K., + Thacker, G., 11/2013, Land off Station Road, Feniton, Devon, Archaeological Evaluation (Report - Evaluation). SDV355013.

A number of ditches were visible in a number of the evaluation trenches outlined below.

A ditch (Tr1) dated to the Romano-British period and the relativley large amounts of cultural material recovered from its fills, including both pottery and fragments of fired clay potentially derived from a domestic oven, suggest that the ditch was located in the vicinity of a related settlement.

Ditches (Tr1) appear from the geophysical plot to form a small enclosure which may, although undated, represent part of an early Bronze Age field system postulated by a previous evaluation.

A ditch (TR3) was the only feature identified, out of a possible three shown on the geophysical plot. The alignment of the ditch indicates that it may also form part of the postulated Bronze Age field system.

Parallel ditches (Tr4) may have formed a hedge and bank, but on the balance of evidence seem more likely not to have been contemporary, with the boundary that they demarcate shifting with time to the south-east. A ditch to the north-west is likely on grounds of alignment to have been related. None of these ditches was accurately represented on the geophysical survey, which identified a cluster of discreate features in this area.

Ditches (Tr5) appear to form a hedge and bank orientated perpendicular to the parallel ditches excavated in TR4, and may potentially be part of the field boundary defined by ditches in Tr6.

There is some evidence for a prehistoric field system that may have been linked to a nearby settlement, although there is a distinct lack of cultural material within the fills. Linear ditches (Tr1) seem to form part of a system of fields and enclosures of Roman date. The type and quantity of finds recovered from a ditch, although absent from other ditches, may indicate the presence of a settlement in the vicinity.

Sabin, D. + Donaldson, K., 2011, Land Adjacent to Station Road, Feniton, Devon, 1, 7, 8, (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV349179.

Magnetometer survey undertaken of an area of land adjacent to Station Road on the eastern edge of Feniton. An area of 2.5 hectares was surveyed. A number of positive linear and discrete anomolies of uncertain origin were located. The site lies in an area of high archaeological potential with regard to known prehistoric activity in the area. The anomolies are listed below.

Areas 1 and 2

1) A series of positive linear anomolies that form 'T'shaped features. It is possible that these anomolies relate to land drains.

2) Positive linear anomolies on different orientations to anomolies (1). They may also relate to land drains.

3) A positive linear anomaly extends across the centre of the survey area with a north-south orientation. It is possible that this relates to
a former field boundary.

4) In the central western part of the site are several weak fragmented linear and positive curvilinear anomolies. Although their form is not
particularly characteristic it should be noted that several flint implements were visble on the field surface in the vicinity at the time of

5) The site contains a number of short positive linear and curvilinear anomalies. Due to their weak response and lack of defining
morphology, their origin cannot be determined.

6) Several weak, discrete, positive anomolies are located within the western half of the survey area. Although these may relate to pit-like
features, their origin is uncertain.

7) A negative linear anomaly, with flanking positive linear anomolies, crosses the survey area close to, and broadly parallel with, the
western field boundary. The anomolies relate to a former field boundary, removed some time before 1960, and are likely to have been
constructed from an earthen bank with flanking ditches.

There are also a series of anomolies in these two areas which relate to ploughing, magnetic debris, a buried service pipe and ferrous material.

Area 3

8) Two short positive anomolies have been located. The narrow width of the survey area does not allow for confident interpretation
although it is possible that they relate to former cut features. Map object based on this Source.

Hughes, S. + Valentin, J., 2012, Land Adjacent to Louvigny Close, Station Road, Feniton, Devon: Results of an Archaeological Trench Evaluation (Report - Evaluation). SDV349983.

The evaluation has established that the geophysical survey was broadly accurate, with the majority of targeted anomalies present as sub-surface features. It can therefore be assumed that the survey results are a reliable indicator for the presence of archaeological features on the site.

All the exposed features are likely to be ditches representing the presence of former field system boundaries, with no discrete features (pits, postholes etc) recorded to indicate associated settlement.

It is likely that two distinct phases of fields are present; historic maps show a general field pattern of broadly north-south and east-west boundaries, with earlier ditches likely to be represented by a northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest trend.

The Early Bronze Age (Beaker) pottery recovered from probable ditch terminal is likely to be a reliable indicator in terms of a date for the northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest ditches excavated on the site, as well as potentially the linear geophysical anomalies also following the same alignment. The pottery appears to represent a deliberate dump of sherds from different vessels associated with a rapidly infilled deposit, and there are currently no Beaker associations for such contexts in South West England, or indeed more generally in Britain (H. Quinnell pers comm.).

The co-axial prehistoric field system identified at Castle Hill (Fitzpatrick 1999) was also on a general northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest alignment, although this was dated by limited radiocarbon method to the Middle Bronze Age period. However, a review of the pottery assemblage from the site (Quinnell 2003) indicated that some of the pottery was mis-diagnosed and is Beaker period in date.

Some of the linear features identified on the site are likely to represent part of a wider prehistoric field system, with alignments present similar to those identified at Castle Hill to the south. There was no evidence from the trial trenching to indicate that associated in situ settlement features are present on the site, although the recovery of domestic Beaker period pottery suggests that such activity must be close by. Two pieces of worked flint were recovered from two ditches, thought to be residual.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV349179Report - Geophysical Survey: Sabin, D. + Donaldson, K.. 2011. Land Adjacent to Station Road, Feniton, Devon. Archaeological Surveys Ltd. Report. 385. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1, 7, 8,.
SDV349983Report - Evaluation: Hughes, S. + Valentin, J.. 2012. Land Adjacent to Louvigny Close, Station Road, Feniton, Devon: Results of an Archaeological Trench Evaluation. AC Archaeology Report. ACD528/2/0. Digital + A4.
SDV355013Report - Evaluation: Woodley, K., + Thacker, G.. 11/2013. Land off Station Road, Feniton, Devon, Archaeological Evaluation. Oxford Archaeology. 5654. Digital + A4.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds

  • FDV5445 - ANIMAL REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • FDV5331 - SLAG (Unknown date)
  • FDV2049 - TOOL (Mesolithic to Late Iron Age - 8000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV5329 - SHERD (Early Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 1501 BC)
  • FDV5443 - (Roman to Early Medieval - 43 AD to 1399 AD)
  • FDV5444 - FIRED CLAY (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FDV5330 - SHERD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV5754 - Magnetometer Survey, Adjacent to Station Road
  • EDV6329 - Archaeological Evaluation, Land off Station Road, Feniton (Ref: 5654)

Date Last Edited:Mar 17 2015 9:17AM