A desk-based assessment, geophysical survey and trial trenching was undertaken on behalf of South Yorkshire Transport Executive on the site of a proposed park and ride scheme. The site lay immediately adjacent to the vexillation fortress at Rossington to the south of Doncaster. The results of the geophysical survey and aerial photographic plotting indicated a potential for remains of Iron Age field systems and possibly Roman defensive works to be present. The trial trenching confirmed the presence of several of the features identified by the plotting but little artefactual material was encountered to allow dating. The material recovered gave a preliminary date for the Roman activity in the 2nd century, which is somewhat later than the current dating of the fortress of AD 70.
Thunscoe, South Yorkshire
The site of a proposed housing development was subject to a desk-based assessment and trial trenching on behalf of Fairway Homes Ltd. The desk-based assessment demonstrated that the site was the site of a former medieval grange, which was part of die holdings of Roche Abbey (Cistercian), along with the remains of several post-medieval farm buildings including a granary and dovecote.
The evaluation demonstrated that the site contains the remains not only of the barn, stables, – granary and dovecote associated with the 17th century farmhouse but that of the earlier, medieval, grange. The evidence for the grange is limited to the presence of walls, probably of agricultural buildings, on the same alignment as the later barn. This reflected the continual usage of the site from the establishment of the grange through to the demolition of the post-medieval barns.
Overall there was a paucity of artefactual and environmental material; this strongly suggests that the lareas evaluated were agricultural rather than occupational in nature. The dating of the recovered finds assemblage suggests human activity on the site possibly from as early as the 12th century, but with an increase around the end of the medieval period, possibly coinciding with the dissolution of the monasteries. One notable recovery from the site was a large amount of Don Valley pottery type wasters and kiln furniture used as hardcore for the later buildings. The nearest known production site for this material is Mexborough some 11 kms to the south-west, suggesting a possible closer, currently unknown, kiln. Management took the form of bank, ditch and wall boundaries presumably to protect newly coppiced areas and/or to restrict die movement of grazing livestock. The woods were also used to mine coal, ironstone, clay and stone, while limited evidence of ridge and furrow indicates some cultivation. Archaeological remains at risk of erosion/damage were noted.
High Street, Doncaster SE 5749 0335
Archaeological excavations were carried out in the centre of Doncaster along the High Street during the construction of a large retail unit. The area included plots 8-10 High Street as well as the back plots of 5-7, where an old Picture House once stood. Excavations were confined to 34 foundation pits and trenches within the footprint of the new building. The site lies circa. 100m to the south of the Roman fort, within the area believed to be the civil settlement, and also falls within the historic medieval core of Doncaster.
The majority of the archaeology exposed consisted of urban Roman layers and features, with a smaller amount of medieval activity, and only limited evidence of the post-medieval occupation surviving. The Roman features included floors of buildings, pestholes, beamslots, remnants of stone walls, wells, gullies, pits (some possibly industrial in nature) and a grave containing two inhumations. The eastern edge of the Lincoln-York Roman road and ditch was also revealed aligned with the present High Street. Roman glass games counters, oil lamps, brooches and other copper objects, many fine pottery wares including stamped and decorated samian, large amphorae fragments, worked bone, quern stones and Roman coins were recovered.
Amongst the medieval and post-medieval features uncovered was a possible copper smelting pit, a limekiln, four stone wells and limestone walls. Only one medieval coin was found amongst the medieval finds assemblage that comprised mostly of pottery and animal bone. Post-excavation analysis of this significant site is currently, under way and it will allow new light to be shed on the historic centre of Doncaster.