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Aspects of the Romano-British landscape around holme on Spalding moor, east Yorkshire

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Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

An examination was undertaken of the nature and extent of Romano-British settlement and industry in the context of the landscape around Holme on Spalding Moor. An environmental reconstruction of the study area was made, showing it to be marginal, low lying and prone to wetness. The most suitable land for exploitation were the ridges of Aeolian sands. Systematic field survey over an 8 x 8 km square, together with cropmark evidence showed that site distribution was closely related to soil type, watercourses and other environmental constraints. A total of 106 Romano-British kiln and settlement sites, 49 sites with iron working or manufacture and several with evidence for glass working were discovered from fieldwalking, examination of museum collections and archives and excavations. Worked flints and stone axes showed that there had been activity on the sand ridges near to watercourses since the Neolithic. The data suggests that settlement was intensified during the later Iron Age with iron working and manufacture being undertaken especially near the dendritic creek system in which the Hasholme Iron Age log boat sank. The Romano-British pottery industry seems to have built up around the same creek system, which provided a means of distribution to Shiptonthorpe, Brough and other Romano-British settlements further afield. Fabric and form analysis of local wares when compared with pottery of known date showed that production began in the later 2nd century A.D., reaching a peak in the mid fourth.Clay was plentiful and managed woodland may have provided fuel for furnaced based industries. Settlement types showed little change from the late Iron Age, but followed developments paralleled elsewhere, with some degree of Romanisation. Marine flooding did not cause the decline of industry and settlement in the area as has been previously suggested. It is possible that these settlements formed the basis of the hamlets within the parish of Holme on Spalding Moor, although continuity has yet to be proved.

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