Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

By Giles Clarke; J. L. MacDonald et al. | Go to book overview

2 ARCHAEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

i. HISTORY OF THE SITE

LANKHILLS is situated on a spur of land between the Itchen Valley to the east and the valley of a small stream, the Fulflood, to the south (Fig. 1). The area excavated sloped from west to east, and less markedly from north to south. The subsoil was chalk and, except where there had been recent landscaping, was covered only with a well-developed topsoil.

The earliest traces of human activity consisted of a scatter of Late Bronze and Iron Age sherds, found in the filling of a few of the later graves and features.1 There were two slight concentrations of these sherds, one in the fill of Grave 25 and the other in the northern part of Feature 9.2 Nowhere were they present in any number, and no features could be associated with them. If they represent occupation at Lankhills itself, this can only have been of the shortest duration. They could, however, mark the fringe of a more substantial settlement, as yet unknown.

Activity at Lankhills in the early Roman period seems to have been slight, for no more than ten scraps of pottery were found which are datable before the late third century.3 The site was, however, only 500 m from the north gate of Winchester and close to the main road leading to Cirencester. The earliest features in the excavation were Features 9, 12, and 43, all of which ran north-south across the site. Feature 12 had been dug by c. 300 and was contemporary with or later than Features 9 and 43, which themselves had no terminus post quem save for the prehistoric sherds in Feature 9. The three features may represent a boundary laid out early in the Roman period, perhaps the limit of an area already designated for burial.4

Pottery and coins indicate when burial started at Lankhills. Graves furnished with pots or coins did not pre-date A.D. 300, and few of them were probably dug until c. 320;5 as stratigraphic evidence shows that some of these graves were among the earliest excavated,6 an approximate starting date of c. 310 is suggested. Theodosian coins were found in several graves, which horizontal and vertical stratigraphy showed to be among the latest in the excavation.7 As no recognisably fifth-century objects were found (e.g. metalwork decorated in the Quoit-brooch style)8, the cessation of burial may be set at c. 410.

____________________
1
For these sherds, see below, p. 237 and Fig. 101.
2
For the location of these and other graves and features, see Fig. 105.
3
I am grateful to Mr. Martin Biddle and Dr. M. Fulford for examining these sherds. They are too fragmentary for further comment.
4
Cf. below, p. 117. For Features 9, 12, and 43, see below, pp. 99-105, 109-10, and 113-14.
5
See below, pp. 202 (coins) and 222 (pots).
6
Cf. below, pp. 114-19 (coin-dated graves) and 120 (graves containing pots).
7
See below, pp. 118-19.
8
Cf. below, p. 287.

-4-

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Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xvii
  • List of Tables xxi
  • List of Abbreviations xxiii
  • Introduction li
  • Part I - The Excavation 1
  • 1 - Circumstances of Excavation 1
  • 2 - Archaeological Background 4
  • 3 - General Character of the Excavation 12
  • 4 - The Graves *
  • 5 - Other Features 96
  • Part II - Analysis 111
  • 1 - Introduction 111
  • 2 - Chronology 113
  • 3 - Age and Sex 123
  • 4 - Cremations 128
  • 5 - Inhumations: The Grave 131
  • 6 - Inhumations: The Grave-Furniture 145
  • 7 - Cemetery Organisation 183
  • Part III - The Finds 201
  • 1: Introduction 201
  • 2 - Coins 202
  • 3 - Pewter Vessels 206
  • 4 - Glass Vessels 209
  • 5 - Pottery Vessels 221
  • 6 - Animal Remains 239
  • 7 - Equipment 246
  • 8 - Cross-Bow Brooches 257
  • 9 - Belts and Belt-Fittings 264
  • 10 - Beads and Necklaces 292
  • 11 - Bracelets 301
  • 12 - Other Personal Ornaments 315
  • 13 - Hobnails and Footwear 322
  • 14 - Miscellaneous Objects 326
  • 15 - Textile Remains 329
  • 16 - Coffin-Nails, Coffin-Fittings, and Coffins 332
  • 17 - Human Skeletons: Preliminary Reports 342
  • 18 - Economic Conclusions 345
  • Part IV - Discussion 347
  • 1 - Late Romano-British Burial Practice 347
  • 2 - Foreign Elements 377
  • 3 - Religion 404
  • Concordances 434
  • Addenda 451
  • Index of Sites 517
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