Excavation undertaken during the redevelopment so Hunt’s House, Guy’s Hospital, Southwark, revealed evidence for sporadic activity from the Late Mesolithic to the represent day. The site lies in what was an area of low-lying marshland on the eastern margins of two islands, which became the focus of Roman occupation in Southwark. This monograph focusses on the Roman sequence as revealed during excavations.
The earliest activities indicated that the area of the site experienced periodic exploitations for the marsh’s natural resources and access to Guy’s Chanel, a natural watercourse which was being used by river craft in the early Roman period. Early 2nd-century waterfront installations recorded along the channel were abandoned c AD 170, possibly due to severe flooding. Drier conditions followed in the 3rd and 4th centuries and a series of drainage ditches were dug. Enclosures, possibly for livestock, were also identified and a timber-walled structure may have been used for storing amphorae. Pottery from this period suggests a nearby shrine while other finds suggest leatherworking, leadworking and the processing of animal carcasses in the vicinity. Further embanking of Guy’s Channel in the mid–late 4th century suggests rising river levels at this time with industrial activities continuing nearby, possibly into the early 5th century.
Ditches found across the site may represent 5th-century fields which were covered by thick alluvial deposits resulting from sustained flooding which continued until c 1300, when attempts to drain the area resumed. 8th-centruty soakaways, cesspits or wells were all that survived of the post-medieval houses which occupied the site before the construction of Hunt’s House.
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