OA East was commissioned by Historic England to analyse and publish the Rectory Farm, Godmanchester archaeological project, which is now nearing completion. The fieldwork was carried out by the Central Archaeology Service of English Heritage between 1988 and 1995. It focused on threats from gravel extraction to a Neolithic trapezoidal enclosure/cursus complex of national importance and a scheduled Romano-British villa.
The site lies within the valley of the Great Ouse, along which extensive prehistoric remains (including ceremonial monuments) which have been investigated. The trapezoidal enclosure found at Rectory Farm consists of a delimiting ditch and inner bank and an array of free-standing posts, enclosing an extensive open area. Its unusual form is of particular interest in terms of its wider setting in a developing monumental landscape. Interpretation of its function has entailed a major component of archaeoastromony, which has been conducted by Prof. Clive Ruggles.
There was little evidence for Iron Age activity at the site and the area may have been flooded at this time. During the Roman period, the villa which developed next to the Neolithic enclosure would have lain close to the small Roman town of Durovigutum (Godmanchester), the centre of which was demolished c AD 240 to build a mansio and associated structures. The presence at Rectory Farm of a large accompanied and primarily cremation cemetery of apparently late date (2nd century AD) is of particular significance.
The site will be published in the East Anglian Archaeology monograph series.