The Dark-Age House
Archaeological excavations at Tarmac’s Cheviot Quarry, sometimes known as ‘Woodbridge Quarry’, revealed the remains of settlements dating from the Neolithic (4,000 – 2,500 BC), the late Bronze Age (circa 1,000 BC) and the Dark Ages (AD 410 – 570).
Three rectangular Dark Age houses were found and the largest measured 7 metres in length and 3.25 metres in width. As these houses were clustered together they probably constitute a small community of farming families.
No artefacts survived, probably because of ploughing of the site in later times, and the tendency of pottery from this period to disintegrate rapidly when exposed. The houses were dated by the radiocarbon method, with samples of charred timber taken from the postholes. A series of dates were taken, which permitted the use of a mathematical technique known as Bayesian modelling to provide a more accurate determination than is normally possible. This showed that the houses date to between AD 410 and 570.
This is of particular interest to archaeologists as it raises the possibility that this settlement could belong to either native Britons or to Anglo-Saxon invaders; however, this is a mystery that as yet cannot be resolved.