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Lower Caldecote Before 1086

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] documents all prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon find spots and sites known in the county. It is now on-line as part of the Heritage Gateway website.

There are cropmarks north of Manor Farm described [HER 3527] as follows: "An area of recorded cropmarks produced extensive occupation evidence in advance of gravel quarrying. A Bronze Age ring ditch was recorded, along with a small amount of Mesolithic and Neolithic material. Occupation became more intense in the later Iron Age, when a large enclosure was constructed, containing storage pits (later used for rubbish disposal) and structures, probably stock pens or dwellings. A field system was laid out to the south of the enclosure, and a number of drainage ditches indicate problems with flooding".

"The site seems to have been abandoned briefly at the end of the Iron Age, and was reoccupied during the 1st century AD. A farmstead was constructed, comprising a large number of rectilinear enclosures containing evidence for buildings and rubbish pits. A kiln was found on the northern edge of the settlement, and a small inhumation cemetery nearby. Cremation burials were found in more scattered locations. Further drainage ditches were needed, and the site was abandoned due to flooding in the 4th century".

"There is slight evidence for agricultural activity on the site from the 4th to the 6th century, followed by a phase of short term occupation indicated by a small number of pits and postholes. In the Saxo-Norman period activity intensified again with the construction of a small farmstead consisting of a post-built structure which was probably the main dwelling, and two barns or cattle sheds. Pits containing timber hurdles were found, and environmental sampling found seed and capsules from flax in the pit fills, suggesting that they were used for flax retting. Remains of fish traps, with sandstone or lead weights, were also found".

A similarly detailed description is given of cropmarks north-east of Ivel Farm [HER 13974]: "Located to the north-east of Ivel Farm cropmarks showed an area of rectilinear enclosures and linear features. This site has undergone a number of archaeological investigations from 1998 to 2004 due to the presence of a quarry on site. The site has produced features from a variety of different periods".

"Prior to mitigation, field walking produced evidence for Prehistoric to Post Medieval activity on the site, via worked flints and pottery. Trial trenching occurred and produced evidence of a large amount of early to middle Iron Age activity as well as areas that suggest late Iron Age to Roman activity which included possible cremation cemeteries and trackways".

"The Iron Age was mainly represented by un-urned cremation pits. These have been recovered from all the phases of excavation undertaken on this site. A number of pits have also been excavated, they were located 25 metres west of the north-south aligned dyke. The site also contained two four-post structures and possible ritual pits suggesting that there was a lot of activity on the site in this period".

"Other areas of the site have produced Iron Age evidence including a cluster of circular pits with vertical edges and flat bases, one of which contained a canine skeleton. Ditches from this period are also present".

"Features which indicated late Iron Age to Romano-British activity on site were enclosures and associated pits and post-holes. This evidence appears to suggest a settlement located to the east of the cropmark evidence. The site has also produced a series of enclosure and boundary ditches, pits and possible droveways indicating several phases of activity on the site".

"There was also some evidence for an Anglo-Saxon presence on site, this included three sunken- features buildings, and pits".

The HER also records cropmarks north-west of Lower Caldecote [HER 3528]. These form a block of long, narrow, reversed-S shape closes, fronting the A1, probably representing settlement or early inclosure taken out of open fields. The enclosures overlie an irregular double-ditched east-west trackway. The field system appears to be medieval, and the trackway is probably Roman.