Miss Kate Waddington
PhD fieldwork: the Whitchurch Excavations
Whitchurch is a large occupation and 'midden' complex dating to the Late Bronze Age and Earliest Iron Age, in the Feldon area of Warwickshire, England. Two weeks of excavations in September 2006 produced a large assemblage of pottery (1115 potsherds), animal bone, and metalwork, alongside worked stone, bone and flint artefacts, deriving from dark spreads of ashy organic soils and features such as pits, post-holes and gullies. The fieldwork was organised as a training excavation for undergraduate students from Cardiff University. A metal detector survey carried out across the ploughsoil of these fields produced an unusual assemblage of 68 copper alloy pieces; the typological affinities indicate that most belong to the Late Bronze and Earliest Iron Ages. The excavations at Whitchurch have produced the largest assemblage of archaeological finds for prehistoric Warwickshire, extending the known distribution of these sites into an area not previously known for either Late Bronze Age settlements or stray finds. A geophysical survey was carried out by Tim Young from GeoArch in late August 2007, being funded by the Prehistoric Society and the Royal Archaeological Institute. We used magnetic susceptibility to accurately define the extent of the midden across three fields. Magnetometer survey also revealed the midden spreads are directly associated with a series of enclosures, boundaries and roundhouses. One of the roundhouses identified through this survey was picked up in the excavations last year and the post-holes were contemporary with the formation of midden. A second season of excavation is taking place this summer, 24 August to 13 September 2008.