Tyne and Wear HER(13277): Easington Lane, rectilinear enclosure - Details
Easington Lane, rectilinear enclosure
A rectilinear enclosure was identified through geophysical survey in 2007 and evaluation trial trenching in 2008. The enclosure is formed by gullies or shallow ditches. A number of flint flakes including a scraper blade were found within the ditches. Environmental results also suggest a prehistoric date for the feature (false oat-grass-tubers and hazlenuts were present). A limited amount of fuel waste and fragments of burnt and unburnt mammal bone suggest a background level of domestic waste associated with habitation. A trench excavated in the centre of the enclosure did not record any features, which suggests truncation. The enclosure is situated on a small plateau near the crest of a hill on sandy soil. A fragment of charred hazel nutshell was radiocarbon dated to 4755 BP +/- 30. Another fragment was dated to 3005 BP +/- 30. The enclosure was fully excavated in 2010-11. The enclosure was 0.39 hectares in size. It was orientated approximately east-west and was formed by a single ditch along each side. Entranceways were found in the west and southern sides. The ditches varied in width and depth. The southern ditch was 1.70m wide and 0.60m deep at its eastern end and 2.10m wide and 0.28m deep at its western end. The ditch contained a single fill which contained flint tools. The sides of the ditches were sloping and it had a concave base. No internal features were found inside the enclosure. TWM Archaeology suggests that the enclosure may have been used as a stock corral. This would explain the lack of internal features (although plough damage and natural erosion may have removed these). The entrances are unusually wide. Traditionally late prehistoric enclosures have a single entrance facing east or south-east. Here the entrances face west and south. TWM Archaeology suggest that cattle could have been corralled from the dry western part of the site into the enclosure, with the southern entrance leading towards water at the burn. Cattle require daily water. Sheep prefer more upland drier areas and they don't require large amounts of daily water. Flints from the site date from the Mesolithic period (a residual flint which pre-dates the enclosure) to the Bronze Age. Of special note is an Early Bronze Age fabricator or knife. Radiocarbon dates from charcoal from the ditch fills confirm a Bronze Age date for the enclosure. 2350-2130 BC, 2140-1930 BC, 1640-1490 BC, 1380-1120 BC.
Archaeological Services Durham University, 2006, Easington Lane - Archaeological Assessment; Timescape Surveys and Tyne and Wear Museums, 2007, Geophysical Survey at Murton Lane, Easington Lane, Tyne and Wear; T. Frain, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2008, Easington Lane, Tyne and Wear - Archaeological Evaluation; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2008, Easington Lane, Tyne and Wear - plant macrofossil assessment; Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, 25 November 2008, Radiocarbon Dating Certificate; Terry Frain, TWM Archaeology, 2011, Easington Lane, Archive Report; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2011, Easington Lane, Tyne and Wear - palaeoenvironmental assessment; Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, 8 June 2011, Radiocarbon Dating Certificates; Dr Hannah Lynch, 2011, Easington Lane Lithic Report