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Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Wedmore, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2378 / 51°14'16"N

Longitude: -2.7753 / 2°46'31"W

OS Eastings: 345971.73399

OS Northings: 149024.623054

OS Grid: ST459490

Mapcode National: GBR MH.26PB

Mapcode Global: VH7D7.V45X

Entry Name: Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1977

Last Amended: 24 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011125

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22809

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Wedmore

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor, situated on
low-lying ground in the Axe Valley in the area of the Somerset Levels.
A series of low earthworks as well as features visible only on aerial
photographs represent the known extent of the settlement which covers an area
of 18.5 ha. The settlement was unenclosed and developed alongside a former
channel of the River Axe; this old river channel remains visible as an
earthwork to the west of the settlement.

An archaeological survey conducted in 1985 identified that the settlement
included a series of buildings surrounded by rectilinear enclosures, while
partial excavation during 1925 revealed the presence of paved roadways and
pitched courtyards in the central area of the settlement. There is, in
addition, a series of linear features which are likely to relate to the
drainage of the site; some of the larger examples in the south-eastern area of
the settlement may represent flood defences.

A Roman date for the site is confirmed by the abundance of Roman finds
within the monument. These include two Romano-British urns discovered
during 1925 in the central area of the settlement. One of the urns contained a
hoard of forty-three Roman coins ranging in date from AD 138 to AD 296.
Further pottery dating from the second century AD has also been recovered,
including a stamped samian base dated to AD 150-180, black burnished ware and
grey ware. Additional finds include a quern fragment, a bronze angular brooch
and a fragment of a bronze fibula.

Environmental evidence from the area suggests that salt-marsh conditions
prevailed in this area during the Roman period contradicting earlier theories
that the area would have been submerged. One reason for the site`s existence
was in order to exploit the natural resources of the area.

Excluded from the scheduling are the surfaces of the metalled roads which
traverse the monument from east to west and north to south, the Stoke Moor
pumping station, the main Culvert Drove irrigation ditch and all fence posts,
but the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman settlements are known to have existed in the Somerset Levels from the
first century AD and some continued in use until the fourth century AD. Few
sites have been excavated and many have only been identified through
the recovery of Roman material such as pottery or coins found during
irrigation work. The recorded settlements are mainly confined to the valleys
of the Rivers Brue and Axe although some are sited along the coastline.
In the upper Axe valley many of the Romano-British settlements appear to be
associated with flood defences. These settlements are also linked by an
irrigation system suggesting that the sites formed part of a wider
network, possibly planned as such to reduce the risk of flooding over a wide
area. In some cases the presence of large-scale drainage works together
with finds of quern-stones suggest that the land may have been drained to
allow agricultural activity. Elsewhere, where there is no evidence for
similar drainage schemes, settlements are likely to have been concerned
largely with the exploitation of marine resources.
Those settlements investigated by partial excavation or recorded through
survey or aerial photography, generally cover an area of c.15 ha, although
some are much larger.
The Romano-British settlement at Stoke Moor is a good example of this type of
settlement, surviving in the form of low earthworks and buried remains
covering an area of 18.5 ha. Partial excavation of the site in 1925 has
demonstrated the survival of archaeological remains relating to the monument
and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
McDonnell, R, 'Proc of Som Nat Hist Arch Soc' in The Upper Axe Valley, (1979), 81
McDonnell, R, 'Proc of Som Nat Hist Arch Soc' in The Upper Axe Valley, (1979), 79
Other
Description of finds made in 1925,
Description of other associated finds,
Description of samian and pottery,
Description of urns found in 1925,
Mention of survey by Dennison,

Source: Historic England

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