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Industry and Magic in Ewell, Surrey

By 23/03/2021April 8th, 2021News

This Friday (March the 26th) join PCA’s Becky Haslam for an online talk to Wandsworth Historical Society as she discusses the Roman and Anglo-Saxon phases of a highly significant site excavated in Ewell, Surrey in 2015.

Recent excavations in Ewell revealed a palimpsest of archaeological remains that date from the Mesolithic to the Middle Saxon period. The first archaeologically identifiable evidence of activity within the confines of the site consists of scattered struck flint of Mesolithic and Neolithic date with more substantial activity occurring in the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age, as evidenced by settlement activities associated with a well organised field system. During the early Roman period, Ewell became the site of a large quarrying industry. That activity, and the landscape that it took place in, were of undoubted significance to the world-view of the ancient inhabitants of the area, as demonstrated by the presence of a wealth of ‘special’ deposits in quarries and ditches that included a large quantity of human remains. Some knowledge of the importance of this landscape and the earlier features that sat within it appears to have survived in some form into the post-Roman period, when the top of one of the quarries was apparently used as a receptacle for a ‘deviant’ burial of Middle Saxon date. The results of this excavation therefore add to our current understanding of the development of Ewell and its environs from the Late Bronze Age onwards and contribute to bodies of knowledge on several wider topics, including the nature of Late Bronze to Early Iron Age pastoralism and settlement in the North Downs, late prehistoric flint tool production, Roman quarrying in south-east Britain, our understanding of mortuary rites in this region during the Late Iron Age and Roman periods, the potential importance of landscape context and liminality within prehistoric and Romano-British cosmologies and the appropriation of the landscape by a new culture during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Click here for tickets for Becky’s talk on this fascinating site!

A silver strap from the ‘deviant’ Saxon burial.