The excavation took place over 3 days from the 23rd -25th April 2013 alongside volunteers from the Friends of Thynghowe who sieved 100% of the spoil generated. There were a further 3 days of recording by Mercian.
The work involved the hand excavation of one 10m x 1.5m trench at right angles to the central section of a curvilinear earthwork consisting of a bank and ditch and an adjacent trackway.
The excavation was undertaken to investigate the nature of the earthwork; to understand its original shape and dimensions and to determine, if possible, the date of its construction and use. Also to determine, if possible, the age of the adjacent trackway.
The excavations revealed that the bank and ditch were considerably larger than the visible surface remains suggested. Evidence from the excavation and the preceding topographic survey, LiDAR and historic mapping suggests the feature may have originally formed part of a circular enclosure with the bank on the inside of the ditch.
Environmental evidence does not directly suggest the enclosure was formed to enclose and area of woodland (Mike Allen, pers comm.). If the earthwork was originally circular the internal bank suggests the site was designed to limit access to an internal space.
This function, the location of the feature at the extreme periphery of the Parish of Budby where the parish adjoins two others (often ancient meeting sites are at the periphery of landscapes) (Mallett et al 2012), and the spatial proximity to Hangar Hill (a posited Viking assembly site) suggests that it is not impossible that the enclosure may be associated with the possible Viking meeting site of Thynghowe.
The only artefacts recovered from the excavation (except for CBM, iron and pottery all from the adjacent modern trackway) were Heat Shattered Pebbles. These seem to have been deposited after the ditch and bank were constructed.
Their presence, combined with the environmental evidence, indicates that a Bronze Age or Early Medieval construction period for the bank and ditch is not impossible and may even be most likely.
The ‘CourtCircle’ Excavation at Thynghowe, Hanger Hill, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Archaeological Report. Gaunt and Crossley 2014.
An excavation of earthworks in the vicinity of Hanger Hill, known historically as Thynghowe, was undertaken in April 2013 funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The excavation was carried out for the Friends of Thynghowe by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC (Mercian).