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Oblique air photo looking south over the Westmead settlement. Photo: P. J. Fowler discovered suggest that it was in use from about A.D. 270 to 345.

Around 350 then, the cowshed was abandoned and the stone was robbed and taken away, and this ought to be the end of the story. However, in two places structural evidence indicated activity after this phase. At one of these places a stone curb was built into the collapse of an enclosure wall, and with it was associated an occupation level with handmade pottery, as if some sort of structure had been built in the ruins. It looks then as if there was activity on the site after the stone wall layout had been abandoned, beginning in the late 4th century and continuing—who knows

— down into the Dark Ages.

The excavations were particularly interesting from a technical point of view in their treatment of pottery. This, as soon as it had been washed and marked was sorted, not by shape or presumed date, but by fabric. A type series was built up of 32 fabrics ranging from the typical Iron Age fabrics, type fabrics I to VI, through Romano-British grey wares, black wares and thick, coarse wares down to reddish wares. Samples from the whole series were then examined in thin section under a Petrological microscope. Subsequently, the sherds in each type fabric were sorted by their stratigraphical source into early, main and late context, and the percentage taken for each type. The results were interesting; type fabric II, for instance, was a typical Iron Age fabric of a 'corky' appearance and feel, resulting from leached-out in­

clusions, probably calcite; coarse texture, light weight, with colour varying from black/grey to yellowish; hand made. But 78 per cent of the sherds came from a main, or late, context which suggests that it was not exclusively an Iron Age type at all, but rather a native hand-made ware that was still being made in the late Roman period, a conclusion reached independently by Ken Barton in his excavation of the Star Villa nearby. Details of these results are contained in an interim report on the excavations 1966-7, just published in the Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society for 1968. This is a 'must' for all pottery addicts, and it is available as an offprint, price 6/-, from: The Secretary, The Spelae­logical Society, University Road, Bristol 8.


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