Substantial rubbish pits of 1st century date contained domestic debris, as well as quantities of painted plaster, building materials and tesserae.
To the south of these pits a large ditch appeared to have formed the southern boundary of the 1st and 2nd century settlement to the north along the lines of Stane Street and Watling Street. The ditch seems to have been used to dump domestic rubbish, necessitating its regular clearing on at least three occasions between AD43 and 80.
To the south of this boundary a series of fifteen wells had been dug, ranging in date from AD60-180. These consisted of both shafts without any form of shoring and circular and square shafts lined with timber.
Six contained complete or partial pottery vessels. The pots appear to have been deliberately broken, and it has been suggested that they represent votive offerings. Dog skulls and a human skeleton were recovered from one of the shafts, and may also represent ritual activity.
Offerings of this sort are common in Roman wells, with the jars being broken or neatly pierced to prevent their use by the dead against the living. Modern well-dressing, wishing wells and throwing coins into fountains are a distant echo of this practice.
The settlement appears to have extended southwards during the 2nd century, with gullies, fence lines and large rubbish pits being dug, and a second boundary ditch being excavated to the extreme south of the site.
A version of this article by Mark Beasley of Pre-Construct Archaeology was first published in Archaeology Matters No 6, August 1999