Iron Age and Roman

The site at Hauxley had revealed evidence of Bronze Age and earlier activity prior to the 2013 excavations. However an unexpected bonus appeared out of the sand in the early stages of the dig. An Iron Age hearth, constructed from scorched stone slabs, was found as the mechanical excavators were removing the sandy overburden. Radiocarbon dates obtained from ash and charred wood found in the hearth give dates suggesting the hearth was used fron the late Iron Age (350-200 BC) until Roman times (170-325 AD).

As the dig progressed other similar hearths were uncovered suggesting a number of Iron Age dwellings. In the western part of the excavation, a stone slabbed area was found.

Initially, this was thought to be the floor of a building. However, it turned out to be a paved courtyard or patio (the name stuck during the excavations) constructed at the side of a building and facing the sea. It is possible the stones used to construct the patio were robbed from the Bronze Age cairn. Evidence for timber construction was found in the area where the building stood. In addition, a well-made bone pin was found along with a copper disc and sherds of Roman Samian Ware pottery (possibly from a drinking vessel). The picture above shows the patio in the foreground with excavation underway on the dwelling area behind.

Although some Roman pottery had been discovered eroding from the dunes in earlier years, occupation on this scale at Hauxley was completely unexpected. The occupants of the house would not have been Romans. They were, in all probability, locals who obtained the fine goods, pottery and wine through trade with the Romans. This dwelling would have been in use during the time of Hadrian’s Wall and it is tempting to imagine how it would have looked, sitting on that patio, looking out to sea and drinking imported wine all those years ago.