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Test pit

Test pits are excavation in miniature. All the processes that are carried out on a full scale-excavation, such as digging, recording, drawing, photography and taking soil samples, take place during the excavation of a test pit. Over the next three years we hope to dig as many test pits as possible. If you are interested in digging a test pit in your garden please contact

Lithic artefacts from test pits in East Oxford

This report summarises the results of an analysis of lithic artefacts recovered during a programme of test pit excavation carried out between 2010 and 2014 by the East Oxford Archaeology and History Project, or ARCHEOX.  A total of 71 pieces of flint with a combined weight of 411g were recovered from 31 of the 73 test pits excavated by the project.  These finds are grouped into a series of 10 loosely defined test pit clusters. With the exception of a post-medieval gunflint and a Mesolithic microlith none of these artefacts is chronologically diagnostic.

Test Pit 63, East of Cowley Road in front of Littlemore Fish Bar

The test was dug on the green space between Littlemore Fish Bar and Cowley Road. Historic mapping shows that up until the 1950s this land was allotments and from the 1960s, green space after the construction of the Cowley Road. The road to the E of the green space that joins Long Lane to the N shows on the 1870’s mapping.

Test Pit 59, St George's House, Littlemore

The test pit was dug in the garden to the east side of the house which was thought to be the most likely to be undisturbed. St George’s House is one of the oldest buildings in the village. The owners have researched its history and advised that the house appears on a map dated 1611 but probably built slightly earlier. Some of the stonework incorporated in the building could originate from the dismantling of buildings after the dissolution in the early 1520s of nearby Minchery Priory. The building has extremely shallow foundations and is built directly on the high limestone bedrock.

Test Pit 45, 15 Whitethorne Way

1960’s housing estate. We excavated in the front garden. According to records the area was mostly farm land until the estate was built during the 1960’s.Test pit reached 1m depth in the sondage. Very little found of any apparent significance. Once we had uncovered the pipe (103) we left that section alone. One bone found but not identified; occasional pottery was found – one possible Roman and one possible medieval sherd.

Read more

Test pit 22: 142 Cricket Road

142 Cricket Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 3DL, UK

The test pit was dug at the bottom of the garden which backs onto school grounds and positioned to avoid tree roots. Cricket Road was developed in the 1930s but marks a much older boundary and possible route between Cowley and Oxford. The first edition Ordnance Survey 25in map 1877 shows the site as a field. The north-east corner of the pit was 21.75m from the house. Read more.

Test pit 38: 19 Teal Close

19 Teal Close, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 7GU, UK

The Test Pit was dug in the rear garden of an 80’s house, built when the Greater Leys Estate was constructed. Prior to the building work a number of trenches were dug in the confines of the planned area of the estate as part of an archaeological evaluation and discovered evidence of extensive late Roman pottery works and one example of early (1st Century) Romano-British occupation (HER PRN 26336, Tempus Reparatum).

Test pit 39: 4 Bergamot Place

4 Bergamot Place, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 7GL, UK

The test pit was dug in the lawn of the back garden. The house is part of a modern housing development which is less c 20 years old. Prior to the house being built it was farmland. This area is known to be part of a Romano-British pottery industrial area, with nearby Roman road to Alchester. Read more.

Test pit 52: 13 Belvedere Road

13 Belvedere Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 2AZ, UK

The Test pit was dug in the back garden of a 30’s house, built approx. 1935. The area is shown as a field in the First Edition Ordnance Survey Map and before that, which in effect means before the Enclosures, it is shown as “Cowley Marsh” (Cowley Enclosure Map, 1853; Christ Church Tenancy Map, 1777).

Test pit 66: 9 Junction Road

9 Junction Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 2NT, UK

This test pit was one of a cluster dug in the Temple Cowley area on the weekend of 29-30th June 2013 with the aim of finding out more about the archaeology of the area, especially the medieval activity associated with the Preceptory of the Knights Templar. The site was located within the grounds of a large house known as Quintain on old maps until the current house was built around the turn of the 20th century. Read more

Test Pit 65: Archeox Shed - Ark T centre, John Bunyan Baptist Church, between Beauchamp Lane and Crowell Road.

In November 2011 two test pits were dug in the grounds of the Ark T Centre. The
first, EOXP Test Pit 5 (AKT 1), was on the eastern side of the grounds, adjoining
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