Ancient artefacts found at the site of Eynsham Park and Ride

(Article 1) Loomweight

Archaeological excavations at the site of Oxfordshire County Council's project to build the A40 Science Transit Park and Ride at Eynsham have uncovered significant finds that give insight into the area's rich history.

The excavation, led by Cotswold Archaeology’s Milton Keynes team on behalf of the council, which took place last year, uncovered an Early Bronze Age cremation burial of a child that contained a unique eagle-bone pin.

The pin had been made from the phalanx (toe bone) of what is highly likely a golden eagle.

 Councillor Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “It is wonderful that through these excavations we have improved our understanding of past residents of Oxfordshire. These discoveries highlight the importance of archaeological investigations as part of development work.”

 Archaeologists also found evidence for a Middle Iron Age settlement at the site. Features included possible roundhouse buildings, post-built structures and probable livestock enclosures.

Announcing the result of the excavation, project manager for Cotswold Archaeology, Jo Barker, said: “Along with a moderate quantity of Iron Age pottery, the site produced a small assemblage of fired clay. Particularly interesting are one near-complete triangular object and fragments of a second, likely of similar form, which were recovered from the postholes associated with two of the roundhouses.”

The objects described are loomweights, used on a vertical warp-weighted loom, and suggest that textile manufacture took place here. The discovery provides insight into the organisation and use of a small, local Iron Age farmstead, which could have had a focus on textile production.

"In an area famous for the Witney Blanket, it is fascinating to find the evidence of textile manufacture going back millennia. Truly West Oxfordshire is the birthplace of the blanket,” Councillor Enright said.

The archaeological finds will be carefully preserved for posterity, with the Oxfordshire Museums Service.

The park and ride is now starting to take shape at Eynsham. The 850-space site is designed to help improve congestion on the A40 and provide regular and reliable public transport services into Oxford. A new roundabout will make it easy to access from either direction on the A40. When completed, it will provide 24-hour security, dedicated cycle storage, public toilets and electric vehicle parking bays.

A more detailed analysis of the archaeological excavation and finds is available here on Cotswold Archaeology website.

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