Thanks to centuries of river improvements, the banks of the River Thames are well defined, relatively stable and dry. As humans increasingly occupied the landscape, the evidence becomes difficult to decipher.
Newham Museum Service, Essex County Council Archaeological Unit together with The Museum of London, have carried out a series of excavations.
A visit to that institution is essential to increase knowledge, investigate further and to view finds.
SITE IG-HR93 Fairlop Quarry TQ46208990 1993/1994
Period Middle Iron Age Roman Late Iron Age
Evidence from aerial photography confirmed a large rectangular enclosure. Romano-British pottery dating from mid 1st to early 2nd c AD recovered from ditch fills.
1994 investigation of crop marks of rectangular enclosures, uncovered structures including pen annular gullies (in this instance, a gully forming an almost complete square) of Middle Iron Age, and postholes.
The enclosure ditch contained finds from Middle Iron Age to 2nd c AD.
A group of cremation burials dating from the late 1st to early 2nd c AD.
SITE IG-HR6 Fairlop Quarry TQ463391111 1996
Period Late Bronze Age Roman Late Iron Age
Several phases identified. A Late Bronze Age pit, with pottery, several pits and ditches spanning Late Iron Age to early Roman, some scattered pits and ditches. Early Roman field systems 1st and 2nd c AD and in later Roman period 3rd to 4th c AD, with a good assemblage of pottery, predominantly form mid/late 2nd-4th c AD.
The final phase comprised ditches, post holes and pits without finds.
SITE FLQ97 Fairlop Quarry TQ46439100 1997
Period Middle Bronze Age Roman Late Bronze Age Late Iron Age
Site evaluated as gravel extraction continued. Two Middle Bronze Age ring ditches investigated. Within one were two cremations, one found an urn. Within the second ring ditch were deposits of pottery and pyre debris (burnt human bone, ash and charred branches). This ring ditch has been preserved.
A middle Bronze palstave (axe head) was recovered.
Five Bronze Age ring ditches were located.
West of the site, a late Bronze Age post built structure associated with a pit contained large amounts of pottery.
Late Iron Age and late Roman cremation was recovered.
Visible crop marks of Roman Field System excavated (3rd-4th c AD).
One enclosure was a Roman post built agricultural structure. Numerous lava quern stone fragments suggest it was used for crop processing. (corn grinding).
SITE AHF03 Aldborough Hall Farm TQ463008920 2003
Period Bronze Age Roman Iron Age Post Medieval 18th, 19th & 20th Century
Ditches and pits of 18th, 19th century were found cut into natural gravels and overlaid by topsoil and residual flint was recorded.
A round up in 2004 revealed a Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age ring ditch of 13m diameter and a semi circular pit locate centrally within, interpreted as the remains of a burial mound or barrow.
Acidic soil conditions may explain the absence of human remains, although the only find was a single piece of struck flint.
These features were truncated by one of two Roman curvilinear ditches.
Finds recovered from the ring ditch comprised pottery and burnt flint.
In the round up of 2007 revealed a Late Bronze Age Barrow.
In another area a single prehistoric yielded a worked flint blade of uncertain date.
Iron Age activity consisted of two round houses with a droveway and fire pits and a possible cremation on slightly higher ground.
Further Roman activity recorded two parallel curvilinear ditches. These truncated the remains of earlier Bronze Age Barrow.
Post –medieval boundary ditches were located in a number of areas.
Numerous 19th and 20th century field drains were found as were modern quarry pits and ditches.
From Ice Age to Essex ISBN 1-901992-61-6
Pamela Greenwood, Dominic Perring and Peter Rowsome
Published by Museum of London (2006)