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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1303: summary

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A Neolithic and Roman landscape: Archaeological excavation on land at Lufkins Farm, Great Bentley Road, Frating, Essex, CO7 7HN: November 2016 April 2017
by Laura Pooley
(with contributions from Stephen Benfield, Julie Curl, Lisa Gray, Adam Wightman, Mark Baister, Sarah Carter, Emma Holloway)

Date report completed: August 2018
Location: Lufkins Farm, Great Bentley Road, Frating, Essex, CO7 7HN
Map reference(s): TM 0975 2215
File size: kb
Project type: Excavation
Significance of the results:

Summary. An archaeological excavation was carried out in advance of the construction of a new agricultural reservoir on land at Lufkins Farm, Great Bentley Road, Frating, Essex. Cropmarks adjacent to the development site included a single ring-ditch and a rectangular enclosure, with a length of double-ditched trackway projected to cross the excavation area. Archaeological evaluation in 2007 produced features ranging in date from the Neolithic to the Roman period.

The 2007 evaluation and 2016/7 excavation revealed a total of 51 excavated features of prehistoric date, consisting of 33 pits, 16 tree-throws, one pit/ditch terminal and one ditch/tree-throw. Seventeen dated to the Early Neolithic, four to the Middle Neolithic, one to the Early to Middle Neolithic, four to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and two pits were of possible Late Bronze Age/Iron Age date. In addition was a pit of Neolithic date, and 13 pits, eight tree-throws and a ditch/tree-throw which could only be identified as prehistoric but are presumably contemporary with the dated features. The majority of these features were located within two main clusters in the northwestern corner of the excavation area and along the eastern side.

Almost all of the dated prehistoric features contained pottery sherds and/or pieces of worked flint, with a small number containing undatable finds (like heat altered stone and fired clay) that are probably of prehistoric date. Such material represents a range of daily activities including cooking and flint-working, providing evidence of repeated and persistent, although not necessarily continuous, occupation of the site throughout the Neolithic period with some activity possibly continuing into the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Roman activity on the development site dates from the 1st to 2nd century, possibly into the 3rd century. Ditches divided the landscape into a series of fields and paddocks with a large trackway/droveway running through the centre of the excavation area. Sparse finds evidence suggests a largely agricultural landscape on the periphery of an area of low status occupation, possibly a small farmstead.