Newbury 12th-century well

Archaeologists digging in Newbury’s Park Way have found a 12th century well and shards of pottery
ARCHAEOLOGISTS excavating the site of Newbury’s Park Way development have uncovered 12th century finds.
The dig site at the rear of Marks and Spencer has unearthed a well preserved wooden barrel that had been buried to act as a shallow well and could date back as far as the 12th century.
Oxford Archaeology project manager for the dig, Steve Lawrence, said the barrel had survived intact because it had been submerged in water which stopped the normal decay process.
Shards of pottery and animal bone waste, including the thigh bone of a horse, have also been found in Park Way at the back of what is believed to have been Jack of Newbury’s house, a wealthy cloth merchant who once dined with Henry VIII.
Ditch and fence boundaries dating from the late 12th century have also been discovered at the site.
“Essentially all of the modern boundaries that can be seen as short walls, fences and kerbs between the car parks and alike reflect the survival of these ownership boundaries for over 800 years,” said Mr Lawrence.
The original ditch boundaries are now buried by 1.5metres of soil, which was dumped within the ‘back garden’ plots to raise the ground above what was a wet low lying area. An old water course would have run behind the Park Way properties in the 15th century before giving way to marsh land where Victoria Park currently stands.
Mr Lawrence said the pottery found helps date when each ditch was last used whilst the animal bone can provide evidence for specific crafts or trades in that area.
A series of trenches dug in 2005 at the back of Marks and Spencer unearthed a 15th century medieval leather tanning pit and a few medieval yard services.
The team of archaeologists have now finished digging in the first area of excavation to the rear of Marks and Spencer.

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