Tyne and Wear HER(16214): Benwell, Sunnybank Avenue, pits and ditches - Details
Benwell, Sunnybank Avenue, pits and ditches
Following an evaluation in 2013 further excavation was carried out at Sunnybank Avenue during groundworks associated with a new development. Further pits and ditches of Roman date were identified in the central and northern parts of the site. These indicate a series of Roman enclosures/property plots with different phases of activity related to the Vici of Benwell Fort. The pottery found indicates a date of 2nd-3rd century AD. Modern truncation in the central and southern parts of the site meant it was not possible to establish the full southern extent of the Roman activity. The position of the enclosures some 260m south of the fort (HER208) suggest that this was the periphery of the Vicus. If the road from Benwell Fort continued on its southerly course after crossing the Vallum without deviation, this would place it approximately 30m west of the excavations, so these features may reflect activity to the rear of the plots. Several ditches cut into the natural clay (between 1.4m and 2m below present ground level) were recorded. In trench 1 there were two parallel ditches aligned roughly north-east to south-west positioned approximately 1m apart. The east ditch was 0.5m wide and 0.3m deep with steep sides and a flat base. It was recorded for a length of 7m. The brown silty loam fill contained stones. The west ditch was 0.4m wide and 0.4m deep again with steep sides and a flat base. It was recorded for a length of 8m. At the south-west end of trench 1 the west ditch was cut by another ditch running perpendicular to it. It was 1.2m wide and 0.65m deep. Its sticky grey clay fill contained charcoal flakes and sherds of Roman pottery. To the south-west was a possible parallel ditch 0.5m wide filled with grey silty clay. This was not excavated due to the depth of the trench. Several other ditches were uncovered both U and V shaped profiles. Various pits were identified varying from 0.15m - 0.92m in depth. In all 116 fragments of Roman pottery were recovered. These included amphora, small abraded sherds of 2nd to 4th century black burnished ware, 2nd to 4th century greyware and 3rd to 4th century colour coated ware. A large portion of the assemblage came from the only two vessels. The fabrics are typical of those present at the other Lower Tyne forts. Three corroded Roman hobnail fragments were also found.
Archaeological Services Durham University, 2013, Sunnybank Avenue, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeological Evaluation; Archaeological Services Durham University, 2014, Sunnybank Avenue, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, Archaeological Works