Where water wells up from the earth: excavations at the findspot of the Late Bronze Age Broadward hoard, Shropshire

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Disturbed deposits

A palaeochannel just over 6m wide ran across the middle of Trench 1 and cut into a series of alluvial clays as well as the natural bedrock. It was filled by loose greyish-black silt mixed with stones, burnt clay, charcoal and a few pieces of post-medieval tile and brick which resulted from land reclamation. It also contained a fragment of a shale bracelet. A land drain had been dug through this deposit and contained a flint scraper. Other deposits of dumped material were found in the west of the excavated area where one of them contained part of an Early Bronze Age macehead. Perhaps these artefacts had originally been deposited in one of the springs or streams associated with the site, but if so they had been disturbed.

The main feature in Trench 1 was a brick well with a ceramic drain leading into it from the west (fig 7). To its south was a peaty deposit lapping against the natural rise in the ground level. Stones and pieces of bone were visible in the top of this deposit. Again this material must have been disturbed as individual bones have dates of 2040–1880 BC, AD 760–900, and AD 1480–1650. Beside the well, the peat was 0.4m thick, but it thinned towards the west where a single sherd of Late Bronze Age pottery was found. Closer to the well, it was partially overlain by stony clay covered by peat. An animal bone recovered from this deposit was dated to AD 680–880. Again radiocarbon dates indicate that even the best- preserved animal bones must have been moved from their original contexts. The only features visible in the subsoil were a series of drains of different dates. As geophysical survey had predicted, none lay ‘at a depth of 5 or 6 feet’.34

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