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The Lawns, Swindon (+ sarsens/A D Passmore)
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From Wiltshire SMR:

MWI16147 - SU18SE058
The Lawns - Mesolithic flint tools were found during fieldwork. SU 1610 8360 (map quarter sheet SU18SE)

MWI16365 - SU18SE625
Area around Immanual and Christ Church - A possible stone circle and a line of sarsen stones were recorded by A D Passmore . Grid reference . SU 1603 8407 (map quarter sheet SU18SE) . Monument type: Stone Setting: (An arrangement of one or more standing stones. Use particularly for isolated recumbent stones, or where original form of monument unclear.) Period: Unknown . Description and sources : “A possible stone circle and a line of sarsen stones were recorded by A D Passmore in a large field behind Christ Church. He thought that some of them formed a stone circle, but this may be dubious.” . . .

MWI16157 - SU18SE107
Lloyds Bank High St Old Town – Neolithic flint and ceramic (don’t know how much – mortlake-type present and polished axe) 1977

MWI16172 - SU18SE153
Market Square - A fragment of Bronze-Age pottery (cremation urn) and an arrowhead. SU 1595 8368 (map quarter sheet SU18SE)

MWI16173 - SU18SE154
Cricklade Street - A Late Bronze-Age spearhead (probably funerary). -National Monuments Record, 013 SU 1568 8389 (map quarter sheet SU18SE)

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Market Square Old Town - Iron-age pottery fragments.SU 1595 8368 (map quarter sheet SU18SE)

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Ridge and Furrow, Old Town - Ridge and furrow visible on aerial photographs. National Monuments Record, 001 – also see LIDAR

Topography – small shallow valleys with Mesolithic scatters and later prehistoric funerary monuments – likely areas of activity on highest ground west, under Old Town. Potential stone circle on north side of the Lawns is of note – similar connection to small spring and setting to Coate.
Areas of high priority for lithic scatters are clearly in the areas to the south of the Lawns (former Church Farm) and the beyond that into the varied topography south of there.

The ridge and furrow area could be an unknown quantity – ie it has not been disturbed since late medieval times, therefore surface finds can be expected to be virtually absent unless the ground has been eroded or disturbed in recent times (foot paths etc). Also cropmarks and LIDAR could be masked by ridge and furrow, and depending on the geology, geophysics also.

A scaled assessment of the potential would be recommended – hand-dug test pits to asses ground conditions and depths and artefact distributions > ideally combined with geophysics >well before any machine-dug trial trenching, if it ever came to that.

Overall there what the ‘potential’ for the Lawns area as a whole, the rapidly diminishing archaeological resources on the high ground and low hills, especially between Old Town and Commonhead, demands that full efforts should be made to get as much information as possible from whatever is left.

There are known prehistoric sites along 3 sides of the Lawns – each has been built upon, but the peripheries of this sites might still remain undisturbed. These should be treated as valuable heritage assets for Swindon, if they can be located, and not ‘low grade’ “residual “ archaeology.

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Posted by GnK
28th September 2017ce

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