Archaeological investigations at Huntsman's Quarry, Kemerton, south Worcestershire during 1995-6 recorded significant Late Bronze Age occupation areas and field systems spreading across more than 8 hectares. Limited evidence for Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Beaker activity was also recovered together with an Early Bronze Age ring-ditch.
Waterholes and associated round-houses, structures and pits were set within landscape of fields and droveways radiocarbon dated to the 12th-11th centuries cal BC. Elements of this field system probably pre-dated the settlement. Substantial artefactual and ecofactual assemblages were recovered from the upper fills of the waterholes and larger pits . The settlement had a predominantly pastoral economy supported by some textile and bronze production. Ceramics included a notable proportion of non-local fabrics demonstrating that the local population enjoyed a wide range of regional contacts. Wider ranging, national exchange networks were also indicated by the presence of shale objects as well as the supply of bronze for metalworking, perhaps indicative of a site of some social status. Together the evidence indicates a small settlement within which occupation of individual areas was short-lived with the focus of the settlement shifting on a regular basis. It is proposed that this occurred on a generational basis, with each generation setting up a new `homestead' with an associated waterhole. The settlement can be compared favourably to those known along the Thames Valley but until now not recognised in this part of the country.
Cropmark evidence and limited other investigations indicate that the fields and droveways recorded represent a small fragment of a widespread system of boundaries established across the gravel terraces lying between Bredon Hill and the Carrant Brook. This managed and organised landscape appears to have been established for the maintenance of an economy primarily based on relatively intensive livestock farming; the trackways facilitating seasonal movement of stock between meadows alongside the Carrant Brook, the adjacent terraces and the higher land on Bredon Hill.
Robin Jackson is Senior Archaeological Project Manager at Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service with many years' experience of designing and implementing archaeological fieldwork and research In recent years he has specialised in working with the mineral extraction industry and on large-scale infrastructure projects with particular research interests in prehistoric archaeology and river valley landscapes.
List of Figures and Tables vii Contributors ix Summary xi Resume x Zusammenfassung xi Acknowledgements xii PART 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Background 1 Location, geology and topography 1 Archaeological and historical background 1 Project history 2 Aims 5 Methodology - Robin Jackson and Mike Napthan 5 PART 2: DATING AND STRUCTURAL EVIDENCE 10 Radiocarbon dating - Alex Bayliss, Robin Jackson and Christopher Bronk Ramsey Earlier prehistoric activity - Robin Jackson and Mike Napthan The Late Bronze Age activity - Robin Jackson and Mike Napthan PART 3: ARTEFACTUAL EVIDENCE 66 Prehistoric pottery - Ann Woodward and Robin Jackson 66 Petrology - David F. Williams 99 Ceramic weights - Derek Hurst 101 Stone weight - Derek Hurst 103 Fired clay - Derek Hurst 103 The mould fragments and slag - Roger C. P. Doonan 105 Worked Flint - Peter Bellamy 107 Other finds 114 Worked timbers - Ian Tyers 115 PART 4: ENVIRONMENTAL EVIDENCE 119 Animal bone - Stephanie Pinter-Bellows 119 Human bone - Stephanie Pinter-Bellows 126 Cremated bone - Stephanie Pinter-Bellows 126 The plant macrofossils - Elizabeth Pearson 126 The pollen - James Greig 132 vi Molluscs - Andrew Moss 134 Environmental synthesis - Elizabeth Pearson 136 PART 5: DISCUSSION AND SYNTHESIS 139 Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic 139 Neolithic 139 Beaker 141 Early Bronze Age 142 Late Bronze Age 142 Bibliography 159 APPENDICES 165 1 Additional pottery tables and figures 165 2 Pottery fabrics - Derek Hurst and Robin Jackson