Excavations by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit near Ely city centre produced abundant evidence for Mid and Late Saxon and medieval settlement. From the early 8th century the site saw continuous occupation, often within the same ditched property boundaries, for almost 800 years until its eventual desertion in the 15th century. A detailed reconstruction of the settlement history of the site indicates a very stable, but gradually evolving settlement which probably provided food and other services, originally to the monastic settlement, then to the abbey, and subsequently to the bishops. The finds assemblage suggests that the occupants of the settlement did not enjoy a high-status lifestyle; a lack of imported pottery and of high-value metalwork, and an almost total absence of coinage, all indicate that this site was somewhat removed from the ecclesiastical power centre to the east.
Richard Mortimer, Roderick Regan , Sam Lucy, 2005. 'The Saxon and Medieval Settlement at West Fen Road, Ely: the Ashwell Site', East Anglian Archaeology 110