This report describes the results of rescue excavation along the route of the A13 and M25 motorways, near Grays, Essex.
The excavations include small Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age sites at Rectory Road and Baker Street, Orsett; Iron Age, Roman and Early Saxon occupation at Stifford Clays and Ardale School; Iron Age and Roman settlement at Belhus Park; and three medieval settlements near North Ockendon. The multi-period site at Ardale included a small Early Saxon settlement and cemetery.
The geology, topography and landscape changes are described. Sections through Holocene valley floor deposits provided valuable information for environmental change and the impact of human activity in the area. The increase in population in the Iron Age was linked with a decline in woodland and valley bottom sedimentation.
This sample of sites of all periods across South Essex has provided material for an examination of landscape change from the Neolithic to the Medieval period, and raises questions about the supposed Roman origin of the rectilinear landscape system — although further work is needed on this problem.
T.J. Wilkinson, 1988. 'Archaeology and Environment in South Essex', East Anglian Archaeology 42