Excavations at Cedars Park revealed a late Iron Age farmstead that remained occupied until the mid-4th century AD. The late Iron Age settlement comprised two ditched enclosures with associated roundhouses and other features. Four post structures probably for the storage of plant based foodstuffs were located well away from the settlement enclosures. In the early Romano-British period, the northern enclosure was converted to agricultural use; a system of parallel linear gullies, likely to have been associated with arable farming or horticulture, was laid out here and also across the upper slopes of large parts of the adjacent hillside. In the southern enclosure, new buildings were put up (roundhouses and a rectangular post-built structure) and the enclosure ditches were re-dug. By the mid-3nd century the southern enclosure had been surrounded on three sides by a system of ditched small enclosures and paddocks. Three buildings (a three-roomed domestic building and two bathhouses) were constructed partly in stone, along with rectangular timber buildings (posts and sill beam construction) and two new roundhouses. Droveways and a stock-handling area were established in the eastern part of the site. The farmstead's principal buildings fell into decay or were demolished in the late 3rd or early 4th century. However, despite the absence of recognizable new structures, the site continued to be occupied. Later Roman activity was represented mainly by finds-rich occupation layers which had only survived truncation from modern agricultural activity where they lay in natural depressions or in the tops of earlier features. Pottery and coins indicate that the site continued to be occupied until around the middle of the 4th century. The site thus fits in with the picture emerging from other late Roman rural sites in East Anglia, where cut features are rare but continuing occupation is nevertheless represented by surface spreads of dark earth containing 3rd- and 4th-century cultural material.
A Late Iron Age and Romano-British Farmstead at Cedars Park, Stowmarket, Suffolk
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