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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1740: summary

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Archaeological evaluation and excavation on land east of Heckfords, Heckfords Road, Great Bentley, Essex, CO7 8RS: February May 2021
by Sarah Veasey
(with contributions from Dr Matthew Loughton, Laura Pooley and Adam Wightman)

Date report completed: October 2021
Location: Land east of Heckfords, Heckfords Road, Great Bentley, Essex, CO7 8RS
Map reference(s): TM 11603 22283 (centre)
File size: 17438 kb
Project type: Evaluation and Excavation
Significance of the results:
Keywords: Heckfords Great Bentley

Summary. An archaeological evaluation and excavation was carried out on land east of Heckfords, Heckfords Road, Great Bentley, Essex, in advance of a residential development. There are several sites of cropmarks surrounding the development site, including ring-ditches, enclosures and other linear features.

The work included a 13 trench evaluation and an open area excavation, covering an area of 15,326 square meters. A total of 287 features were uncovered. The main phase of activity on the site was centred around the Late Iron Age to early Roman period, with a small amount of medieval/post-medieval activity. Evidence points to a thriving settlement that produced both textiles and metalwork in an agricultural landscape. A series of irregular field boundaries, possibly delineating seven fields, was identified indicating an area in constant use over a few hundred years. The vast majority of the finds recovered were pottery sherds, although a rare pyramidal loomweight was also discovered. This site is the first in the Great Bentley area that provides evidence for a thriving settlement in the Late Iron Age to early Roman period.