Phase II - Iron Age and Romano-British

Fig 7: Iron Age and Romano-British features.

An early attempt at land management at Wood Hall in the first century BC/AD is suggested by the presence of a small drainage/boundary ditch running north/south across the western part of the site, which contained seven sherds of two small coarse crucible-shaped vessels (though with no sign of use as such) which have been dated to the first century BC/AD (T G Manby pers comm.).

 

A similarly aligned ditch, approximately 25m length surviving, lay c 100m. further east and south, forming the western boundary of a small area of ard-point 'plough' marks, covering an area approximately 17m x 16m. The longest of these ard 'grooves' was more than 15m long. The group of more than 50 ard marks can be dated to the Romano-British period on stratigraphic and artefactual grounds, and seem to represent part of the western edge of a Romano-British arable field. The field had been `ploughed' in a north-south direction with no evidence for cross-ploughing.

 

A small quantity of neolithic flint was present in the undisturbed pre-settlement subsoil surface of the 'field', and had also been scattered during the ploughing. A scatter of weathered Romano-British pottery sherds of 2nd and 3rd century date, found in and presumably contemporary with both the cultivated tilth and the marks themselves, is probably evidence for the manuring of the field with domestic waste sourced from a local settlement. The whole was sealed by the pre-Medieval topsoil, kitchen demolition debris and moat upcast (see below Phase IV). Though possibly Anglo-Saxon in date, a total absence of other finds from that period suggests that the Romano-British period is the most likely date for the ard-marks and their associated soils.

 

The nearest known Romano-British farming settlements to Wood Hall lay 2.5km away on the Magnesian limestone escarpment to the south-west (Buckland, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 1967). In addition, aerial photographic survey has revealed square to rectangular fields surrounded by ditches on the lowlands to the north and east of Wood Hall, close to Cridling Stubbs and Fulham, which are believed to be Romano-British in date.

 

Fig 8: Aerial photograph showing field systems, believed to be Roman-British in date, at Fulham,

less than 1 mile east of Wood Hall.

(Photograph courtesy of NYCC - ref NY SE544 DNR 9861/6 11.7.76)

 

It would appear therefore that there was intensive arable exploitation on parts of the upper Humberhead levels in the Roman period. Markets for the agricultural products would have been available in Doncaster (Danum), Castleford (Lagentium) and York (Eboracum), all of which were accessible by the connected deep water rivers Don, Aire and Ouse.

 

Fig 9: Artistís impression of the landscape at Wood Hall in Romano-British times,

looking south towards the settlements on the Magnesian limestone escarpment.

(Copyright Wakefield MDC Museums and Arts)

 

Other finds at Wood Hall from this period include sherds of Samian, colour-coated and local (Doncaster region) coarse wares, a fragment of rim and neck from a square blue glass bottle, and a coin of Constantine dated AD 330 - 335.

 

Phases III to V - c 1150 to1403

 

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