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Trackway at Beckton

Golfers' Driving Range, Beckton, London Borough of Newham

During the course of archaeological excavations undertaken by Pre-Construct Archaeology at the Golfers's Driving Range site in 2002, the remains of a Bronze Age wooden trackway and platform were recovered within a thick sequence of peat and alluvial deposits.

Quest (then ArchaeoScape) was commissioned to collect samples and undertake analysis aimed at providing a detailed reconstruction of the environmental history of the site and evidence of prehistoric human activity. The collected samples were also investigated as part of ongoing PhD research. A high resolution multi-proxy record resulted from the combined program of commercial and academic research including lithostratigraphic techniques, pollen, insects, tephra, plant and wood macrofossils.

The combined results indicate complex interactions between floodplain and dryland vegetation succession, human activities, relative sea level and climate change. In particular they have increased our understanding of the history of yew and elm woodland, and impact of environmental factors on trackway construction/abandonment. The investigations at Golfers' Driving Range have therefore made a significant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the interactions between environmental change and human activity in the Lower Thames Valley. It also highlights the benefits of combining commercial work with academic research, and demonstrating the results this can achieve.

The archaeological aspects of the work have been published in: Carew et al. (2009) Human-environment inter­actions at the wetland edge in East London: Trackways, platforms and Bronze Age responses to environmental change. London and Middlesex Archaeological Society 60: 1-34. A second paper focussing on the palaeoenvironmental investigations is due to be completed in 2016.

'The collaborative effort of PCA with Quest combining the more standard elements of environmental analysis of the alluvial and peat sequence at the Beckton site with more speculative elements of academic research facilitated by members of the Quest team resulted in a significantly enhanced and resolution of findings than might have been otherwise expected.

'Insect and tephra data, radio carbon modelling all facilitated a quality of interpretation well beyond what can be considered usual and produced a particularly fertile work dynamic.'

Dr Frank Meddens

Pre-Construct Archaeology

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Contact us

Archaeological Science:

Rob Batchelor c.r.batchelor@reading.ac.uk; +44 (0) 118 378 8941;
+44 (0) 7734 530 438

Dan Young
d.s.young@reading.ac.uk;
+44 (0) 118 378 7978;
+44 (0) 7713 088 568

Environmental Science:

Nathalie Marini
n.a.marini@reading.ac.uk; +44 (0)118 378 8945

Postal Address:

Quaternary Scientific, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science (SAGES), The University
of Reading, Whiteknights,
PO Box 227, Reading,
RG6 6AB, UK

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