An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson
An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson
An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson
An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson
An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson

An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson

An Iron Age Settlement at Salford, Bedfordshire, by Michael Dawson

Published by Bedfordshire Archaeology in 2005, 180 pages. Large A4 size paperback (N7625PE)

From the introduction: Salford was excavated in three seasons during the period 1988 to 1991. Initially it was identified as the location of a Neolithic or Bronze Age barrow cemetery, but during investigation it quickly became clear that the interest of the site extended from ritual activity in the Neolithic to an agrarian building in the Roman period.

The earliest evidence from Salford is a single Neolithic pit containing an assemblage of pottery, a form of deposit characterised as bringing meaning to an area at the end of a ritual process. Ritual continued to be a theme in the Bronze Age with the construction of three ring ditches. Occupation began in the early Iron Age, with a partially enclosed settlement of roundhouses and four-post structures. In all, some 23 roundhouses were concentrated in two major phases dating from the early and middle Iron Age. Later occupation, perhaps to the north of the area investigated, was suggested by the discovery of four late Iron Age cremations and a Roman period barn.

The Iron Age settlements were agrarian in character with no clear evidence of craft specialisation, but analysis extended beyond processual interpretation of functionality into areas of underlying ritual. In the earliest period of occupation the settlement may have included areas deliberately distanced from the community, perhaps the dwelling of a shaman or chieftain, and a four-post structure was identified as the probable remains of a shrine. A large skull fragment suggested the latter may have been associated with animal, possibly bovine, ritual. In the earlier Iron Age phase the settlement was characterised by houses with entrances focused on the south-east, while in the middle Iron Age occupation entranceways looked eastwards and the ritual four-post shrine was not replaced.

One of the most significant aspects of the Salford analysis has been the ceramics. No scientific dating had been possible from the burnt clay, charcoal or bone samples taken during excavation and dating was reliant on the limited evidence of stratigraphy and the ceramic assemblage. Analysis of the latter suggested a conservative tradition in which it was only the changing proportions of specific types which indicated any temporal shift in settlement activity. Salford has yielded one of the largest ceramic assemblages from comparable area excavations in the county and provides a significant corpus of ceramic fabric and forms from the county.

In the later Iron Age, further evidence from material culture, brooches and ceramics suggested that pressure on the community at Salford led to a specific expression of cultural identity with the deposition of the earliest and most northern and western example of Welwyn burial yet recognised. Salford may be at the start of a process of change which was to spread from periphery to core as the trend in this form of status expression caught hold.

In the Roman period a change in landscape patterning led to the establishment of a rectangular barn and by the post-Roman or Saxon period the focus of settlement activity had moved away, probably to the location of the present village of Salford. Some indication of the environmental transformations occurring at this time has been deduced from deposits found within a pond and it is clear from the abandonment of the investigated
site that the area was increasingly marginalised as activity shifted southwards towards the river.

The excavations at Salford provided a rare opportunity to examine an area of Iron Age settlement, but have also provided an extensive catalogue of material culture and ecofactual remains which will be a source of comparison and reinterpretation for many years to come. Contents include:

1 Introduction
1.1 Background to the Excavation
1 1.2 Landscape and Topography
1 1.3 Excavation Strategy and Methodology
1.4 Structure of the Report
1.5 Plans
2 The Excavation Evidence
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Phase 1: Activity during the Neolithic
2.3 Phase 2: the Bronze Age
2.4 Phase 3: the Early Iron Age
2.5 Phase 4: Middle Iron Age
2.6 Phase 5: Late Iron Age
2.7 Phase 6: the Romano-British Period
2.8 Deposit (2001)
2.9 Phase 7: Saxon
3 The Artefactual Evidence
3.1 The Pottery
3.2 The Daub and Fired Clay
3.3 Petrological Report on the Pottery
3.4 Registered and Non-ceramic Bulk Artefacts
3.5 Worked Flint
4 The Ecofactual Evidence
4.1 Human Bone
4.2 Animal Bone
4.3 Palynological Analysis of Pond Deposits
4.4 Waterlogged Wood
4.5 Macroscopic Plant and Insect Remains
5 Discussion
5.1 Salford and its Setting
5.2 Early Prehistory
5.3 Settlement in the Iron Age
5.4 The later Iron Age: the burials
5.5 Salford under Rome
5.5 The Saxon Period

Condition of the book is generally very good. The covers are clean and tidy, the spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.