The southern suburbs of the modern industrial town of Scunthorpe perhaps seem an unlikely location for an important archaeological record stretching back into prehistory. Nevertheless this is precisely what was revealed by two archaeological investigations at Burringham Road and Baldwin Avenue, Bottesford, in an area that was, until the mid 19th century, a rural landscape with a scatter of villages overlooking the River Trent and its tributary, Bottesford Beck.
That humans were active in this area in prehistory is demonstrated by flint tools at both sites. By the Late Iron Age, the Burringham Road site probably lay at the southern limit of a settlement, while for much of the Roman occupation it was utilised for various purposes, mostly agriculture-related and including several ‘corn-driers’, these indicative of the crucial activity of grain processing. The Roman evidence raises the intriguing possibility that a settlement of that period – possibly a ‘villa’ – lay close by.
It was in the Middle Saxon period that a settlement lay close to the Baldwin Avenue site, this situated close to Bottesford Beck. Amongst artefacts recovered there are the remains of three large Saxon lead vessels, probably dumped as scrap metal for later retrieval, which have provided a wonderful opportunity for an unusual and fascinating body of archaeological ‘post-excavation’ analysis.
As this volume sets out to prove, the findings of archaeological investigations on the boundaries of occupation can provide equally as intriguing and thought-provoking evidence of human activity as those that more commonly find their way into print.
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