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The Leys and Littlemore

Minchery Farm, Littlemore, Oxford – Geoarchaeology and Palaeoenvironments

As part of the Archeox Project's excavations at Minchery Farm Paddock in autumn 2012 trench 1 sampled a peat deposit associated with the line of the Littlemore/Northfield Brook.  This report by Adrian Parker and Gareth Preston of Oxford Brookes University gives the results of geoarchaeological and palaeoenvironmental analysis of these deposits which span the end of the last iceage to the Early Bronze Age.


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.

Lithic artefacts from ARCHEOX excavations at Minchery Paddock - autumn 2012

The MP12 lithic assemblage indicates a human presence on the site, definitely between the Early Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (c. 4000-1500 BC), and potentially as early as the Mesolithic (c. 9000-4000 BC).  This fits with wider patterns of inhabitation evidenced by archaeological investigations on neighbouring sites.

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.

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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.

Littlemore and Blackbird Leys - place names and field names

Littlemore and Blackbird Leys - place names and field names

by Maggie Willis and Jane Darke

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