Evaluation at Lubbesthorpe, Leicestershire
An archaeological evaluation was recently carried out by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). For this initial stage of work 73 trial trenches were excavated targeting areas where HER records or geophysical survey suggested archaeological potential.
A spread of archaeological features was identified across the site, with a concentration in the south of the area. These included a series of significant Iron Age structural and other features near to Leicester Lane, Enderby. These features indicated occupation and industrial activity and produced a date for previously recorded geophysical anomalies. This confirmed the presence of one or more Iron Age enclosures with evidence for occupation of this date, and significantly that intensive Iron Age activity is also located a hundred metres to the south-west of the enclosure areas suggested from the geophysical survey. This activity to the south-west may indicate a further enclosed settlement, with the enclosure ditch not showing in the original geophysical survey. Unenclosed settlements are also known however, and can often be associated with much larger boundary features, and one ditch seen on site was perhaps such a boundary.
The pottery from the deposits sampled suggests a Middle Iron Age date, somewhat earlier than the other Iron Age enclosures excavated previously to the east of this site, and perhaps suggesting a shift in settlement from the west to the east and north-east.
The excellent survival of deposits included a layer of cobbles for a metalled surface, and this survival is due to recent land use. This area was until very recently protected by a copse of woodland which was present at least as early as the 1851 Tithe map, and therefore not subject to plough damage and motorway construction activity.
Slightly to the north, quarrying probably of early Roman date was identified, and north of the scheduled DMV site of Lubbesthorpe medieval activity was identified including structural evidence. Occasional undated features were also recorded across the area.