A Saxon Fish Weir and undated fish trap frames near Ashlett Creek, Hampshire, UK: static structures on a dynamic foreshore
Journal of Maritime Archaeology
Springer Verlag for University of Southampton, Centre for Maritime Archaeology
© The Author(s) 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
The remains of a wooden V-shaped fish weir and associated structures have been discovered near Ashlett Creek on the tidal mudflats of Southampton Water in Hampshire, southern Britain. Radiocarbon dating of oak roundwood stakes taken from the main weir structure date it to the middle Saxon period. Clusters of as-yet undated roundwood posts within the catchment area of the weir are interpreted as the frames for fish traps that are assumed to pre- or post-date the operational period of the weir itself. The weir is contemporary with wooden V-shaped fish weirs found elsewhere in southern and central Britain, and also Ireland, but its circular catchment ‘pound’ remains restricted, in these islands, to the Solent and Severn estuaries: it has a close parallel with another Saxon-era weir on the nearby Isle of Wight. It also shows striking structural similarities with examples in use today in Basse Normandy, on the southern shore of the English Channel. The paper discusses the function and operation of the weir, and places it in its social and historical context. Regressive cartography demonstrates that the structures have become exposed as a result of saltmarsh retreat in this area of Southampton Water since the 19th century. The radiocarbon dates returned for the posts demonstrate that this transgression of the marsh must have been preceded by a prolonged period of progradation, which covered and preserved the site; its subsequent re-exposure has negative implications for its survival.
The fieldwork underpinning this research was carried out using equipment and facilities provided by the Centre for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton. The authors themselves met incidental costs. Radiocarbon dating was financed from an internal University of Exeter research allowance.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer Verlag via the DOI in this record.
Published online 07 April 2017