Colchester Archaeological Trust
CAT Report 563: summary
(Click on report title to view full report in PDF format)
Report on the archaeological monitoring of EDF cable undergrounding within the Freston causewayed enclosure at Potash Farm, Holbrook, Suffolk - April 2010
by Adam Wightman
Date report completed: June 2011
Location: Potash Farm, Holbrook, Suffolk
Map reference(s): TM 16808 37821 (c)
File size: 2,817 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: prehistoric, Neolithic, flints, causewayed enclosure
Archaeological monitoring was carried out in April 2010 during cable undergrounding between Potash Farm and Latimer Cottages, to the north of Holbrook in Suffolk. The site is located within the internal area of the Freston Neolithic causewayed enclosure, which consists of two concentric circuits of interrupted ditches with a palisade ditch in between. Very little field investigation has been undertaken in the enclosure since its discovery through aerial photography in 1969.
Although much of the roadside verge through which the cable trench was excavated had already been disturbed (57% of the total length), the archaeological monitoring indicated that deposits associated with the causewayed enclosure survive along the B1080 road. Moreover, the verge does not appear to have been subjected to deep ploughing and, therefore, better-stratified deposits may survive in the verge than elsewhere in the enclosure, most of which is currently under cultivation. Interpretation of the deposits was hindered by the narrow width of the cable trench (0.2 m). However, this has minimised disturbance to the archaeological deposits.
In total, 45 worked flints and four fragments of prehistoric pottery were recovered during the watching brief. Some of the flint artefacts are indicative of flint-working in the early Neolithic period. However, many of the flints recovered are not closely datable and, therefore, a later Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date for some of the artefacts cannot be ruled out. Four pottery fragments recovered are small and abraded, and more typical of the Bronze Age and Iron Age than the Neolithic. As such, the pottery fragments are later in date than the blade component of the flint assemblage and either suggests the re-use of the enclosure in the Bronze Age and Iron Age or, more likely, later activity unrelated to the monument itself.
The quantity of finds recovered from such a narrow excavation could suggest a relatively high level of activity in the vicinity. The only cut feature identified was a probable post-medieval/modern post-hole. This may reflect the difficulty in distinguishing changes in soil colour in such a narrow trench, or it may reflect a low level of prehistoric digging in this part of the enclosure. The whole cable trench was located inside the southern part of the enclosure, very near to the inner concentric ditch. No evidence of that ditch or any further internal ditch circuits or palisades was uncovered.