PREHISTORIC BURRADON AND CAMPERDOWN
by Alan Fryer
A broken axe head made of flint was discovered in the ditch of a Romano-British settlement excavated in 1968-69 (see below HER 306). At the time of excavation this was the only example of an axe head find in South-East Northumberland. It was thought to be a stray.
Iron Age and Romano-British
In the mid-1960s aerial photographs were taken of Burradon and Camperdown. Crop marks indicated three sites, or former settlements, of archaeological interest. The first was in a field immediately to the west of Front Street, Burradon. (The housing estate of Means Drive, Shillaw Place and Attlee Close now stands here.) The settlement was rectangular in shape, with slightly rounded corners. The sides were approximately two hundred feet long, with an entrance facing east. HER 308
The second site was about two hundred yards south of the first. This was a single ditch enclosure, the date of which is uncertain. Only part of the north and west sides were showing, the remainder having been built over. HER 309
The third site is located about one hundred and seventy yards west of the abattoir - which was the former site of Burradon Terrace on the farm track. The previous two sites had been covered by a housing development, so when it was discovered, in September 1968, that this third site was threatened by the removal of clay for a major new road archaeologists were eager to excavate. Permission was obtained from the Ministry of Public Building and Works and also from Mr. William Younger the farmer of the land, whom it was acknowledged was most helpful. The work was carried out under the directorship of George Jobey from Newcastle University.
Pottery found suggested that an unenclosed site could have been in existence here as early as the fifth or sixth century BC Excavation of the next more recent layer discovered a traditional early Iron-Age settlement. This site was enclosed by a ditch 10m wide and was roughly square in shape with slightly bowed sides. It measured about three hundred feet in length and had an entrance to the east. Small quantities of Iron-Age pottery were found and evidence of eight to eleven round timber-built huts, although probably only three were in use at any one time. HER 305
Superimposed on this settlement was another enclosure one hundred and twenty-five feet square with one round timber built house about forty feet in diameter. The enclosure ditch was about 15ft wide and about 8ft deep with an internal bank This was thought to be occupied during the second century AD Both entrances to these two settlements were aligned on the east side. Romano-British pottery was found, although only nine sherds of Roman pottery; this would seem to indicate trade with the Romans. The pottery was of local manufacture. Fragmentary remains of dogs, cattle, sheep and pigs; as well as Oak, Ash and Alder trees were discovered. Coal was found in the hearths of the second century settlement. It was thought this coal probably came from an outcrop near the sea and was not sea-coal.
A beehive quern was found in a garden at Burradon Farm in 1977 by D. Heslop. HER 306
AA4 1970 p51-95