Review – From Bridgehead to Brewery: the medieval and post-medieval archaeological remains from Finzel’s Reach, Bristol

1 min read
B M Ford, K Brady, and S Teague
Oxford Archaeology, £27.00
ISBN 978-0904220865
Review Stephen Rippon

This report outlines the results of a major programme of archaeological, palaeoenvironmental, documentary, and building recording in Bristol’s southern suburbs. The former wetland was enclosed by a major curvilinear ditch sometime before the 11th or early 12th century, perhaps to create a defensive bridgehead for the rapidly growing town of Bristol on the opposite side of the River Avon. The area was soon densely occupied with areas of domestic settlement and mixed industrial activity, including ironsmithing, tanning, textile-processing, and clay-pipe manufacturing. Waterlogged conditions led to remarkably good preservation of organic remains – including timber structures – and a picture clearly emerges of a busy working suburb.

The printed report includes a summary of the evidence from each phase and overviews of assemblages. The accompanying CD includes the full specialist reports as well as the documentary and building recording, and a fascinating photo and film archive. Overall, this is an extremely important site due to the scale of the excavations, the excellent preservation, and the very full publication.

This review appeared in CA 334.

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