Tollgate Farm Roman Site 2006
Author: Winston Hollins, Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society
Tollgate Farm 2006
The aim this year was to completely uncover the layout of the building which was partially discovered last year.
A new resistivity survey of the area immediately East of the 2005 excavation was performed. Unfortunately, even though we reduced the step interval to half a metre the survey gave us no new clues about the structure.
A 5 by 10 metre area was opened up and soon started to give indications of the walls and post holes of the building. Certain features in the building hint at a possible use. Recapping to last year, the large beam slots suggest a substantial, probably two storey, timber framed building. Down the centre are two square cut holes, approximately 1 metre square and half a metre deep (there may be two others in the same alignment). The suggestions for these are many but one is that they represent the location of partially sunken water containers (perhaps lead lined). An alternative suggestion is that they are the footings for massive roof supports.
The possible path we located last year was followed to the end, it terminated at a very interesting feature which has yet to be interpreted (possibly next year's task).
Although we have late third to fourth century A.D. material in the plough disturbed deposits above the building, there is nothing to suggest a date later than the mid third century in the floor, post holes or trenches associated with the building. In fact the origin of the building may well be first century A.D. from the early Roman Republic coin found in the fill of one of the square cut holes. So are the later finds from the plough soil an indication of roman ploughing over the site? Do we have a later farmhouse yet to be discovered? An example of these later artefacts are the two “barbarous radiates” found this year (a third was found last year).
BARBAROUS RADIATES: These are British copies of bronze antoniniani (the antoniniani was introduced in AD 214, originally a silver coin of value one and a half denarii, it was soon debased to bronze). The “radiates” refers to the wearing of a crown with large points radiating from it in imitation of the sun. Most of these are copies of coins of the reigns of Claudius II and Tetrius I and II (268-273). It is believed that they continued to be minted in gradually poorer representations into the fourth century. Our three seem to belong to the reasonable copies likely to date to the late third century. One of our coins has a very clear celtic look about it with the very large eye (see illustration). These coins were obviously accepted and used by the population (perhaps more than the official coinage which had been so debased). This year we had the benefit of the magnetometry survey. This complemented and confirmed the evidence from the resistivity survey. There was an area of very high activity not picked up by the resistivity. A second area, which showed as a general area of high resistivity without structure, seemed to have some form on the magnetometry survey, with parallel lines and a single line normal to these.
Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society, January 2007.