Archeological Survey at Riverside House

Last week we had a days archeological reconnaissance survey carried out by Kate Churchill and Vanessa Castagnino. The purpose of the survey is to pre-empt the needs for community based excavations. This is an extract from their initial findings:

1.      Subsurface archaeological remains associated with the New Works Iron Works in the south-east corner of the site and in the area designated as Public Open Space. Although the area has been levelled recently, the potential for archaeological remains is high and these would be considered to be of local and possibly regional significance. There are currently no proposed plans for this area.

2.      Above ground and subsurface archaeological remains associated with the gardens attached to Riverside House, in the south-west corner.  Although the horticultural structures also extend to the north-east of Riverside House, the remains to the south-west are considered to be different in character and as such they are not included within the curtilage of the Listed Building. The remains include several multi-phased 19th century structures, most likely outbuildings, that are partially still standing (in the form of a pigsty and pathways) and are evident as earthworks (earthen banks and level platforms, and garden wall foundations). These remains would be considered to be of local significance. It is within this area that a car park is proposed in the planning condition.

3.      Above ground and subsurface archaeological remains associated with the gardens attached to Riverside House, in the centre of the site along the eastern boundary wall.  This area contains several standing structures, from the 19th and 20th centuries, considered to be horticultural outbuildings (including cold frames, raised beds, a greenhouse, and a walled garden). These are included with the curtilage of the Listed Building.  In addition to this there are several earthworks present in the area which mark the location of buildings identified in the historic mapping. These remains would be considered to be of local significance. There are currently no proposed plans for this area apart from in the vicinity of the cold frames to the west of Riverside House, which is intended to be a Market Garden.

4.      Subsurface archaeological remains associated with the canal, in the north-east corner of the site and along the river bank in the south-west corner and the north-west corner of the site. This includes the former dry dock, the canal boat yard and two potential wharf or loading bays along the western boundary.  The archaeological remains are predominantly earthworks consisting of a large rectangular depression on the site of the dry dock, a large rectangular platform outlining a large building and two-level platforms over 20m in length and at least 1.5m below the current ground surface located on the riverbank. The latter do not appear on any of the OS maps, the 1828 Oldwinsford Parish Map or the 1837 Tithe Map, which may suggest they predate these. The remains in this area would be considered to be of local and possibly regional significance. There are currently no proposed plans for this area.

5.      Subsurface archaeological remains associated with the fields and orchard to the west of Riverside House, occupying the western half of the site.  This area is currently covered in dense vegetation and Japanese Knotweed, but it appears devoid of structures and consists of undulating soft ground with some relatively recent rubble heaps.  Due to the lack of past development in this area it may contain archaeological remains that predate Riverside House and the Iron Works.  The archaeological potential is currently unknown but it could be of local and possibly regional significance. It is within this area that two cabins are proposed.

 

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