Colchester Archaeological Trust
CAT Report 893: summary
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Archaeological excavation and monitoring on land to the rear of Chapel House, Chapel Green, Little St Mary’s, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9HX: February-November 2015
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Julie Curl, Emma Holloway, Pip Parmenter, Val Rigby, Adam Wightman)
Date report completed: June 2016
Location: land to the rear of Chapel House, Chapel Green, Little St Mary’s, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9HX
Map reference(s): TL 863 450 (c)
File size: 16,496 kb
Project type: Archaeological excavation and monitoring
Significance of the results: ***
Keywords: Roman, burials, human bone, road, pits, rubbish-dumping, quarrying
Archaeological excavation and monitoring took place on land to the rear of Chapel House, Chapel Green, Little St Mary’s, Long Melford, Suffolk in advance of the construction of two new dwellings. The site was located within the historic centre of Long Melford which is known for its Roman and medieval heritage.
Archaeological investigations in the past have revealed evidence of a Roman villa/bath-house, a Roman road, several Roman burials, and scatters of structural features and domestic finds all close
to the development site.
A total of 107 well-preserved features were recorded: 99 of these were of Late Iron Age and Roman date, along with three post-medieval pits and five natural features. Most of the
Late Iron Age/Roman features were pits but they also included post-holes, stake holes, gullies, a small length of possible road surface and five burials (three inhumation and two cremation burials). In addition, the partial human remains of at least 15 other individuals were also identified.
The evidence shows that the site originated in the early-mid 1st century with three pits possibly representing the remains of baby/juvenile burials. In the early Roman period (mid 1st-early
2nd century), it was primarily a quarry site, with pits dug to extract the natural clays, sands, silts and gravels required for the construction of the Roman road. Located on the eastern
margin of the settlement, the site was subsequently used as a rubbish-dump for buildings fronting onto the road (later 1st-2nd century). By the later 2nd to 3rd century, babies/juveniles
and adults were buried here. Small quantities of later Roman material (later 3rd/4th century) suggest a return to rubbish- dumping activity, but the settlement was in decline by this period.