villa

Stephen Macaulay: A Roman Villa in Somerset

As professional archaeologists we can find ourselves working on any and all types of sites, indeed some will not even have any archaeology at all, as we discover much to the delight of developer! More often than not we’ll be working on a site that has some archaeology, it’s often interesting and exciting but it’s not say ‘a Roman Villa’… there are however those occasional times when that is exactly what we are excavating… So right now we are digging a Roman Villa in Somerset.

Two archaeologists on kneelers use their trowels to reveal a mosaic at a Roman villa

Uncovering a mosaic at a Roman villa in Somerset

The summer of 2016 has seen Oxford Archaeology given the opportunity to investigate a rather nice Roman Villa in Somerset and you can see the team reveal a mosaic, probably for the dining room of the house. We have many more weeks to discover more about this site and will be returning for further work in the future… All very exciting and rather fantastic!

An archaeologist gives the thumbs up in a trench

Thumbs up from Toby

Stephen Macaulay is a Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology’s East office in Cambridge. For more information about Oxford Archaeology and our fieldwork services, visit our website: http://oxfordarchaeology.com/professional-services/fieldwork

Taking the Iron Age to the Romans: Researching Iron Age finds for an open day at Rockbourne Roman Villa

Today I’m working at Hampshire Cultural Trust with Dave Allen. I’m lucky because my visit times with the regular weekly volunteer day at the Archaeology Stores, managed by the Curator of Archaeology, David Allen.

To find out more about the work of David and the team, visit their excellent blog, which has a new post every Monday.

Hampshire Archaeology blog: https://hampshirearchaeology.wordpress.com/

Nicole Beale

Two of the Trust’s volunteers, Peter and Jane, have spent the morning working through a collection of artefacts from a late Iron Age site near to Rockbourne.

Peter and Jane checking objects against the archive inventory

The site was excavated in the mid-1970s as part of a British Gas pipeline being installed, and our intrepid volunteers have been doing some detective work to try to make connections between the objects from the stores here at Chilcomb and the paper archive which was published some time ago.

Objects need to be located and then checked. This is also a great opportunity to re-pack some of the more fragile objects.

Rockbourne Roman Villa is run by the Trust and this weekend will be hosting a family fun day. The event organisers want to celebrate the area’s Iron Age connections, and so the team at Chilcomb have been set to task to find objects to showcase on the day.

In the first few boxes, they had already found some great objects to be taken up to Rockbourne for visitors to see.

Lots to work through!

In one of the boxes, Jane unpacks a huge tankard. It’s much larger than we had all expected and lots of jokes about the serious business of beer-drinking in the Iron Age ensue.

Jane finds an Iron Age tankard

The huge tankard

Unpacking the tankard

Next, they unpack fragments of a kiln lip. On the underside there are clear finger-marks, left from where the clay had been quickly shaped.

The kiln rim

The pair spend some time focussing on the profile of a Late Iron Age large pot that is in several parts, and manage to piece it back together. It will provide a great prop for showing younger visitors how archaeologists can infer pot shapes from diagnostic sherds.

Hang on a minute, I think there’s a good profile here…

Does this go here?

Now we’ve got it!

Tucked into one of the boxes is a nice example of a spindle whorl and also a small box which contains a bronze pin, probably from a brooch.

The brooch pin (you can just see the spindle whorl under Jane’s right hand)

A big pot!

Still plenty left to unpack and check

Peter and Jane

We’ll create labels for all of these objects and then transport them up to Rockbourne in time for the event on Sunday. Do come along if you’re in the area.

More about the event: http://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/event/festival-british-archaeology-experience-iron-age

Nicole Beale