South Cadbury Environs Project

Middle Bronze Age

Leslie Alcock held the view that for much of the second millennium BC Cadbury was dormant, an assumption repeated by subsequent writers. Certainly it is true that the excavations produced no more than a smattering of Middle Bronze Age pottery and fragments from a spearhead and blade but the proliferation of material recovered from the immediate hinterland seems at odds with this hypothesis.

SCEP results show that since at least the Early Bronze Age there had been a trend towards the focusing of habitative settlement around Cadbury. This became more pronounced during the mid second millennium BC. The earliest pottery of the phase was from regular test pits within 300m north west and north of the hill and from waterlogged alluvium in a targeted test pit on the south side of the River Cam in locality 1a.

The dense activity north and west of Cadbury is particularly striking. Seven of 14 regular test pits within a 300m arc around this side of the hill produced pottery, two bisecting features and two cutting into occupation soils of the Middle Bronze Age. Bearing in mind that this is a sampling rate of 1:10,000 over a 14ha area it can be stated with some confidence that significant occupation lasted for several centuries.

Test pit distribution map showing Middle Bronze Age activity

Test pit evidence for Middle Bronze Age activity

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A test pit on a plateau in locality 5 targeted an enclosed floor area, dated by exclusively Middle Bronze Age pottery. It is the only probable domestic dwelling space of this period excavated by the project. It contrasts with several areas of specialised activity suggesting methodology-induced bias.

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