Stapleton Mead Roman Landscape Project (awarded 2019)

Following the discovery of a clear rectangular parchmark at Stapleton Mead, Martock, the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group undertook extensive geophysical survey and excavation. This revealed a well built lias building, land boundaries, a corn dryer, a possible shed with an associated yard, and a midden. The site is next to a canalised section of the River Parrett. Understanding the date of inception, use and demise will assist understanding of how people responded to the changing opportunities and difficulties of farming on the edge of a changing wetland area.

The Roman Research Trust has assisted by funding assessment of the pottery assemblage. Little later Iron Age or earlier Romano-British activity was previously known close to the river, suggesting an increase in land availability as water management was introduced to the Levels. The pottery has now been examined and an interim report received. This has challenged some of our assumptions about the duration of the site. The ceramics range from abraded sherds of late Iron Age/early Romano-British date, up to some of the 3rd-4th century AD. However, the majority of the material appears to focus around the 2nd century. This fits with the suspicion that the main period of use was of limited duration. However, its early decline raises further questions about the agricultural marginality of this area, which will be further clarified once we complete analysis.