MOLAS carried out an evaluation and excavation on the site of the former RAF Andover, to the southwest of this Hampshire town in the heart of rural Wessex.

Aaron Birchenough and Gemma Stevenson supervised a team of 15 archaeologists with the aim of excavating and recording a cluster of ring ditches, identified by MoLAS in an earlier desk based assessment. In total 7 ring ditches, measuring between 10 and 35m internal diameter, were excavated.

These were the remains of burial mounds, or ‘barrows’, probably constructed between 2,500 and 1,000 BC, or the Early–Middle Bronze Age. Five of the ring ditches formed a cluster and could be classed as a ‘barrow cemetery’.

Although the mounds had been removed by ploughing, five inhumations and numerous cremations were found. There were few finds, with the exception of several cremation urns, and no indication of settlement. The surrounding evaluation found an isolated beaker burial, a cremation pit, with barbed and tanged arrowhead, a well with large quantities of animal bone, several alignments of possible Roman field ditches and numerous gullies of probable post-medieval date.

A trackway would have crossed the site along the line of the parish boundary. However the lack of surrounding settlement evidence suggests the site lies within a ‘landscape’ that might have been‘respected’ to relatively recent times.

MoLAS will return to site in the autumn to undertake a watching brief of the topsoil stripping in advance of the development.

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