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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 848: summary

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Archaeological excavation and monitoring at Hallfields Farm, Manningtree Road, Dedham, Essex, CO7 6AE: June-September 2015
by Ben Holloway and Howard Brooks
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Val Fryer)

Date report completed: November 2015
Location: Hallfields Farm, Manningtree Road, Dedham, Essex, CO7 6AE
Map reference(s): TM 06144 32854
File size: 5,027 kb
Project type: Archaeological excavation and monitoring
Significance of the results: */**
Keywords: Iron Age, Roman, ditches, pits, post-holes, post-medieval/modern, pit, gravel-extraction

Summary. This site is on the eastern edge of the built-up area of Dedham, whose historic centre lies approximately 400m to the north-west. The site is an L-shaped area of open ground, recently used as paddocks and containing buildings for livestock. A significant area of cropmarks lies to the north and east of this site (ESSEX HER MEX9725 and MEX9645). Although mostly unexcavated, this includes cropmarks of field systems and burial mounds. Limited excavation in 1960 showed that the cropmark complex includes a Late Iron Age/Roman enclosure and a Bronze Age burial site. An evaluation in May 2015 identified eighteen archaeological features on the current site. These included an Iron Age ditch which may be part of the extensive area of cropmarks to the north and east. The excavation reported on here is a follow-up to the evaluation. It involved the stripping of two house plots, with the aim of further exploring the prehistoric features revealed by the evaluation. We excavated 29 archaeological features (including three which had been investigated during the evaluation), ie prehistoric ditches, pits and post-holes, a Roman ditch and a large post-medieval/modern pit probably associated with gravel extraction. A single trench across a possible ring-ditch showed that it was a modern pit. Monitoring of the digging of footings trenches for three house plots on the southern edge of the site revealed four undated pits (probably post-medieval).