David Lakin, with Fiona Seeley, Joanna Bird, Kevin Rielly and Charlotte Ainsley

Paperback, 72p, 27 b/w illus (MoLAS Archaeology Study Series 8, 2002)

A new analysis and reinterpretation of the fascinating site at Shadwell, located on the north bank of the Thames. Excavations between 1974 and 1976 uncovered extensive archaeological remains, including the base of a masonry structure which was originally interpreted by the excavator as a 3rd-century military signalling tower. Lakin et al argue that early Roman quarrying gave way to a cremation cemetery during the 2nd century. The construction of the 9m square 'tower', dated to the 2nd century or later, is consistent with that of a mausoleum. In the 3rd century the area was divided into plots, first by fences and later by ditches, and a timber building and other structures associated with domestic occupation were established. Animal bone evidence suggests that large-scale butchery took place nearby. In the mid 4th century the field boundaries were infilled and industrial tanks and drains built. A leather bikini was found in one of the timber-lined tanks. Demolition of the masonry structure, deposition of rubble, and the subsequent accumulation of an agricultural soil marked the abandonment of the area in the second half of the 4th century. Two inhumation burials may also date to this period. The finds assemblages from Shadwell are large for a non-urban site, but there were relatively few military finds. It is possible that a large farm or hinterland settlement lay nearby. 

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