Ipswich UAD child record record IPS 1066 - Building 2140 (Phase 2)

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Early Medieval Sunken Feature Building


Grid reference Centred TM 1636 4446 (6m by 6m)
Map sheet TM14SE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

The sunken featured building 2140 phase 1 had been rebuilt in this period and had been burnt down leaving extensive evidence of it structural timbers and contents.
The depth of the sunken feature remained unchanged, although a new clay floor (2258) was laid and a new entrance constructed.
A new south wall was built some 50cm north of the phase 1 wall. This was the same construction as in phase 1 with five posts set in large packed postholes.
The posts in the east wall had been replaced. The cutting of large postholes for the replacement posts implies that only the lower sections of the phase 1 posts were replaced. The large holes would have allowed for some manoeuvrability of the new posts when attaching them to the remnants of the old ones. The post holes were then packed once the posts were in position.
Post hole 3644 was the only recut post along the west side of the cellar, and must reflect the need to rebuild the south wall of the building.
Posts were evenly spaced along both the long sides of the building but had been reduced from eight to seven. The gables had five posts at each end.
A new entrance into the building (3338) was cut in the centre of the east wall, just north of the phase 1 entrance. The east edge of the entrance had been removed by pit 1853, and the north side cut away by pit 1937. A small remnant of the north-east corner (2350) did however appear to survive between the two pits.

When the building was destroyed by fire, the carbonized timbers collapsed into the sunken feature. Carbonized vertical posts survived to a height of up to 94cm above the floor, especially on the west side where the tops of posts 2663 and 3015 were discovered within the upper layers of backfill. With the possible exception of 3097, all the surviving posts were square or rectangular in profile and measured 20cm by 14-16cm in cross section. As they had probably suffered some shrinkage as a result of the fire, this might be less than their original size. Planking in the revetment of the sunken feature was horizontal, 25 - 30cm in wide and generally c.1cm thick, but this must have suffered heavily from burning and, carbonized planking from above the floor of the cellar generally exceeded 2cm.
Above the clay floor surface (2258), at the base of the cellar, the fill comprised a thick layer of burnt material (2071, 2054), containing carbonized structural elements of the building and its contents. The remains of an unidentified wattle or wicker work structure (2453) were located near to the entrance of the building, and the base of a wicker basket (2604) in the south-west corner of the cellar. A key (2324; 5648/3104F) was recorded west of entrance 2310.Two Thetford ware vessels (2262, 2267) were located at the interface between the layer of burning and the post-destruction fill (2114) above. In both instances these vessels could have been incorporated in the later filling of the cellar, rather than having been within the building at the time of its destruction.
Some of the timber framing of the east wall had collapsed into the entrance during the fire which destroyed it. Timber 2322 lay due east of post 3097 and was probably the upper part of this post. This wall post had formed the south jamb of the doorway and a timber (3337) lying at right angles to the top of the fallen post was probably the lintel of the doorway. The length of the two post fragments suggests a doorway height of 1.65m for the doorway, although this would have been reduced in height by some 25cm by the continuation of the lowest level of wall planking across the bottom of the door, acting either as the riser of the lowest step or as a threshold, keeping silt from accumulating in the building.
A second timber (3336), parallel to the possible door lintel (3337) and running at right angles to the top of post 2322 might be a middle rail into which the wall posts were set. If so, the overall height from the floor to ceiling would have been some 2.1m.
Planking survived to a height of 80cm above the level of the building floor and extended northwards from behind the south-east corner post (2569) to beyond the next vertical post (2570). Behind this planking, the sloping base of the phase 1 entrance had been backfilled.

The structure was most likely held together with wooden pegs, although the evidence is a scant. Certainly planking 2745, V-shaped at one end, showed clear evidence of dowel holes. Nails were certainly uncommon, although two (2441, 2442) were found still protruding from plank 2440, (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: Wade, K. 2014. Ipswich Archive Site Summaries: 32-38 Buttermarket.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

May 2 2017 3:09PM

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