OUR April lecture was called “Archaeology of the Jubilee River” and was given by Stuart Foreman, of
OUR April lecture was called “Archaeology of the Jubilee River” and was given by Stuart Foreman, of Oxford Archaeology.
The Jubilee River is a channel which was artificially constructed between Taplow and Eton with the intention of providing flood relief to the Thames.
Before its construction in 1997, an archaeological study was carried out to recover information before this was lost.
Pre-excavation, analysis of crop marks was particularly useful here because the site was on gravel, which makes these marks particularly clear.
The site showed evidence of activity from the Neolithic to the late Middle Ages.
The Neolithic was characterised by a number of pits containing Mortlake ware and flint assemblages.
No trace of the Bronze Age was found, although, by the Romano-British period (1st century AD), a farmstead had been established — the only evidence of habitation from any period.
The site yielded extensive evidence of an Anglo-Saxon presence in the form of 130 pits, which contained large quantities of cattle bones and a smaller number of remains of other animals, including the articulated skeleton of a dog.
Many loom weights were present, suggesting significant weaving activity, but, surprisingly, few sheep bones were found.
There was further evidence of domestic activity in the form of quern stones and bone needles. More elaborate items included tweezers, a carved bone handle and a bronze pin with a decorated head.
It is believed that the site may have been a meeting-place (or moot) in the period, although other interpretations, such as a sheep-shearing site, close to water for washing the wool, have been suggested.
An isolated Anglo-Saxon burial, with an amethyst pendant, was found near Eton rowing lake. Late mediaeval remains, including a well, were more sparse.
The next lecture will be on May 3 when Derek Toms will speak about “Philip II of Macedonia: why was he so important to Greece?”
Lectures are held monthly, usually on the first Tuesday of the month, at King’s Arms Barn, starting at 7.45pm. Admission is free to members, £3 for non-members.
For more information, visit www.henley-on-thamesÂ archaeologicalandhistoricalÂ group.org.uk