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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 810: summary

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Archaeological evaluation and excavation on land to the north of Orange Street, Thaxted, Essex, CM6 2LH: January and April-May 2015
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Pip Parmenter, Val Fryer, Adam Wightman)

Date report completed: February 2016
Location: land to the north of Orange Street, Thaxted, Essex, CM6 2LH
Map reference(s): TL 61329 30879 (c)
File size: 21,893 kb
Project type: Archaeological evaluation and excavation
Significance of the results: **
Keywords: Thaxted, medieval, cutlery industry, cutlers, cutlery, bone-working, pits, rubbish-pits, ditches

Summary. An archaeological evaluation and excavation was carried out on land to the north of Orange Street, Thaxted, Essxe in advance of the construction of six new dwellings and associated infrastructure. The development site was located within a highly archaeologically sensitive area of the medieval town. It was located immediately to the north of Middle Row, an infilled market place which largely consisted of cutlersí premises. Fourteen small pits and a ditch were dated to the medieval period, ie the 13th-16th centuries. The ditch was probably a property boundary set at a right-angle to Orange Street. A large number of rubbish-pits, seven clay quarry-pits (which had a secondary use as rubbish-pits), and three ditches (also probably property boundaries) were dated to the post-medieval period, ie the 16th-18th centuries. A number of modern features were also identified. All the features contained large quantities of medieval/post-medieval domestic and cutlery waste, and the site appears to have been used primarily as a rubbish-dump, probably for the market at Middle Row. Cutlery waste from the site included a large amount of worked bone and broken bone handles, iron-working waste, iron-blade fragments and copper-alloy scrap including sheets and rivets. Both whittle-tang and scale-tang knife blades and handles were being produced locally, probably on Middle Row. Cow metapodia were by far the most common material used in the production of handles, with at least two different styles of whittle-tang handle and seven different styles of scale-tang handle identified on the site, deriving from at least two different workshops.