Tollgate Farm Roman Site 2003
Author: Winston Hollins, Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society
Tollgate Farm 2003
In April, July and August 2003 we took the resistivity equipment and produced an interesting survey which showed an obvious long, narrow linear positive anomaly running East – West about twenty-three metres south of the hedge which borders the road. In addition, there were at least three localised areas of high resistance, all close to the current road.
Also, we obtained three aerial photographs of the site.
A small dig was performed between 14th November and 30th November, a total of eleven digging days tidying and back-filling. There were three specific aims:
1) To determine what the long linear resistivity anomaly was;
2) To try to establish if the suspected entrance really was an entrance way from the road into a paddock;
3) To locate some indication of Roman activity.
Firstly, we now know that the long linear anomaly represents the furrow of ridge and furrow, which has been truncated by modern ploughing.
We can now read a lot more into the rest of the reistivity survey and can identify further evidence of ridge and furrow.
The "entrance" has yet to be established definitely but looks hopeful. We have definitely got lots of evidence of Roman activity with undisturbed Roman layers under plough soil.
The finds are most encouraging. They include a great mass of Roman pottery of very varied types, some metal work (including a big-headed pin and a Vespasian denarius (82 A.D.), two tiny fragments of glass and lots of slag. This is all suspected to belong to the first and second centuries A.D.
It is intended to extend the area of resistivity and experiment with more sensitive settings.
A full scale dig in July through to October is planned, concentrating on an area near to the roadside which has already proved to be most interesting. Also a survey of the tree species in the neighbouring hedges is to be undertaken. The aim here is to at least be able to show if the "entrance" area was planted at a different time to the rest of the roadside hedge.
Some historical research into the area is being undertaken.
Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society, April 2006.