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A sizeable number of archaeological digs have taken place in the Hungerford area over recent years.
Undy's Farm, 1988-89:
One of the most significant was that at Undy's Farm in 1988-89. The area investigated was a 12-hectare site north of Undy's Farm, between the Hungerford to Chilton Foliat Road and the flood plain of the River Kennet.
Evidence was to be found of habitation on the site from the Mesolithic period (10,000BC), Bronze Age (2100-750BC), and the Medieval period (1100-1500AD).
An initial sample survey by Bryn Walters in 1987 had shown medieval pottery, layers of medieval flooring and flint work, some dating from 10,000BC.
The exploration was funded by Trencherwood in advance of the site being developed as Charnham Park Industrial Estate.
The archaeological team was led by Steve Ford (of Thames Valley Archaeological Services). One area revealed a medieval settlement, with the distinct remains of three buildings. The third building had a chalk floor, hearth and bread or malting oven, and a two-metre pit, possibly representing a medieval well.
Elsewhere, there was more evidence of medieval buildings (houses- two made with flint nodules and another constructed of wattle and daub with a rammed chalk floor - and a barn), metalled trackway, metalled yard, and rubbish pits. A hearth showed up as an area of burnt soil.
One structure, a flint-lined pit, baffled the experts. "It was surrounded by gullies and ditches, and was very elaborate," said Mr Ford. There was speculation that it represented the remains of a windmill, oast house or ice house.
A third site revealed what was possibly Berkshire's only example of a Bronze Age ceremonial site. The seven metre diameter site had seven pits around a large central hearth. The pits held posts which had burned down and been replaced on several occasions. In association with this find was a probable fragment of an "Aldbourne cup". These small vessels are normally associated with Early Bronze Age (Wessex II) inhumation burials. Its discovery here was considered "most unusual".
Beyond these three sites, there was evidence of Mesolithic (or possibly earlier Neolithic) flintwork
The finds included:
- 66 pieces of prehistoric flakes or blades
- 336 sherds of Medieval pottery (and one Roman), some probably late Saxon,
- 185 identifiable animal bones (one the tibia from a dog as big as a Great Dane!
- much brick and tile
- many metal finds, including a silver (or silver-plate) buckle possibly late Saxon / early Medieval.
- Undy's Farm, Jun 2007. The dig had taken place in the area behind (north of) the farmhouse
- Looking east towards Undy's Farm, 1989
- Post holes and hearth, at what was a probable Bronze Age ceremonial site
- Typical Bronze Age round house. [For more on Bronze Age re-enactments and Bronze Age swords see www.bronze-age-swords.com ]
- Details of trench 1
- Flint tool from trench 1
The Croft, 1996:
This is a summary of the report on the archaeological investigation at the Hungerford Surgery, The Croft, in May 1996:
The site is situated to the east of Parsonage Lane, south of the parish church and north of the railway line in Hungerford, on what is thought to be the periphery of the Medieval town. The underlying geology is river terrace gravel. A watching brief was carried out in May 1996 by Thames Valley Archaeological Services during topsoil clearance and the digging of foundation trenches for a new Health Authority Clinic. Three pits were discovered, one of which produced animal bone, slag/iron ore, a fragment of quernstone and pottery dated to the 10th to 11th centuries AD. (A full report is deposited with the County Sites and Monuments Record and the site archive will be deposited at Newbury Museum.)