Hill Field

Geophysical survey and small scale excavation in Hill Field to the north-east of the Upper Holt have highlighted a number of Roman features within the area, while metal detecting has produced a small assemblage of finds, mainly Roman in date.

The most prominent feature in this area is a large Roman building. This was in the form of a single room measuring at least 9m long, with a straight northern wall which curved to the south to form an apse at the end of the building. Evidence for wooden supports for the roof was found in the form of pier bases at situated at regular intervals along the inside of the northern wall. Occupation debris was also present in the room. It is unlikely that this is the only element of the building, but further survey is needed to clarify its form.

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Northern wall of the Hill Field building, including post-pads adjacent to the south side of the wall

To the north east of the building was a rectangular tank or cist, which showed signs of burning in situ. This was filled by a deposit which included animal bone, and an entire smashed jar at the top. This suggests a ritual element to how this feature was used.

The area around the building had cobbled surfaces containing postholes, which suggests further structures in the vicinity. A second smaller building was also found much closer to the Upper Holt, possibly associated with iron working in the Roman period, due to the presence of notable quantities of slag. Dumped masonry was also found beyond the former boundary ditch.

Coins from the House of Constantine within the apsidal building suggest a mid 4th century date for the site. This date, along with the fact that it is a high status Roman building and it is located in proximity to the Upper Holt Wood, suggest that it is part of the same complex. However, further work is needed to characterise the building fully.