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Report Title

Land at The Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire: Archaeological Field Evaluation

Publisher and Publication Year

Albion Archaeology - 2004

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Summary All figures are bound at the back of the report. Albion Archaeology Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire Archaeological Field Evaluation 4 Preface
Non-Technical Summary Albion Archaeology was commissioned by Mr Salvatore Genovese to undertake an archaeological evaluation of the site at `The Nurseries', situated at the northern edge of the village of Blunham, Bedfordshire. To support a planning application to Mid Bedfordshire District Council (03/2234) to erect glass houses, with adjacent landscaping comprising a pond, reservoir and tree-planting, the Assistant County Archaeological Officer indicated that because the site is within a sensitive archaeological landscape, further information regarding the nature and significant of the archaeological remains was required. This information was to be gained through a program of archaeological investigation. The site is situated approximately 9km to the east of Bedford, centred on National Grid Reference TL (5/2) 1461 5240. Located at the confluence of the River Great Ouse and River Ivel, the area is generally flat at approximately 21m above Ordnance Datum. Situated to the west of an existing building known as `The Villa' and associated glass houses, the site is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring up to 330m north-west to south-east by approximately 110m wide; an area of approximately three hectares. The geology of the site consists of river silts and gravels overlying Oxford Clay. As part of the evaluation, a review of documentary evidence and historic maps held by the Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record and Bedfordshire and Luton Record Office was undertaken. A complex series of cropmarks have been identified in the areas to the north and east. The majority of these features seem to form a coherent pattern of enclosures associated with a routeway orientated roughly north- north-east to south-south-west. The nearest cropmarks are the eastern part of a probable rectilinear enclosure with internal sub-divisions. The western continuation of the cropmarks is obscured by `The Villa' and associated buildings. The only cropmarks detected within the area of the site were a series of wide bands of darker crop growth. The width of these features indicated a probable geological origin. No previously identified archaeological or historic sites are recorded within the limits of the site. The available information, particularly the cropmark information, was utilised to formulate the trenching strategy. The trial excavation stage of the evaluation was undertaken between 25th and 28th October 2004, plus an additional day of work on 5th November. A total of eight trial excavation trenches were opened, revealing considerable spatial variation in the archaeological remains. The eastern part of the site, extending from the centrally located glass house to the eastern site boundary, contained few archaeological deposits, which were dispersed and undated. In contrast a greater number of features were identified in the west, with the most significant remains being identified in the north-western margin of the site. Evidence for two phases of activity comprising pits and ditches was defined. Although undated by artefacts, at least one element of the later phase, interpreted as a cultivation furrow, would appear to be of medieval or later date, if correctly identified. The features were relatively shallow indicating truncation of the upper elements, probably by agriculture. The orientation of the early ditches in this area contrasts with that of the known cropmarks implying that they are not associated. The apparently confined nature of the activity implies clustering, whereas the known cropmarks indicate an extensive area of activity focussed on a main routeway with possible perpendicular off-shoots. Albion Archaeology Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire Archaeological Field Evaluation 6 The evaluation identified a single cluster of archaeological features in the north- western area of the site. Although undated and truncated, the earlier phase of activity in particular would appear to be significant, having the potential to add to the understanding of the settlement pattern in an important archaeological landscape, which to date has mainly been identified by cropmarks visible on aerial photographs. The site archive, which contains all records of the project (Project number NB 1011) is currently stored at the offices of Albion Archaeology and w transferred to Bedford Museum (Accession Number 2004.287) on completion of the project. It is essential that the above summary is read in conjunction with the main body of the report Albion Archaeology Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire Archaeological Field Evaluation 7 1. INTRODUCTION

Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION 7 1.1 Background 7 1.2 Site Location and Description 7 1.3 Historical and Archaeological Background 8 2. RESULTS OF THE TRIAL EXCAVATION 9 2.1 Introduction 9 2.2 Methodology 9 2.3 Results of the Trial Excavation 9 3. CONCLUSION 15 3.1 Overview 15 4. BIBLIOGRAPHY 17 5. APPENDIX 1 18


Structure of the Report
Key Terms
Non-Technical Summary
1.1 Background
1.2 Site Location and Description
1.3 Historical and Archaeological Background
Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire
2.1 Introduction
2.3 Results of the Trial Excavation
2.3.1 Eastern Area Ploughsoil Subsoil Geological Stratum Archaeological Features Pit [103] Posthole [203] Boundary Ditch [503] Tree-throw [106] Palaeochannel [505]
2.3.2 Western Area Ploughsoil Subsoil Geological Stratum Archaeological Features Trench 6 Trench 7 Features sealed by the subsoil Features cutting the subsoil Trench 8
2.3.3 Artefacts Introduction Pottery Other artefacts
Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire
3.1 Overview
Land at the Nurseries, Grange Road, Blunham, Bedfordshire

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