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:

An Archaeologist on Holiday

Street sign in Bath

This Day of Archaeology 2012 I was on holiday! My wife (not an archaeologist) and I had long promised to take a few days off at the end of what we knew was going to be an exceptionally busy June, so on this Friday June 29th we were taking the day off as part of a long weekend. What do archaeologists do on holiday, you ask? Well this archaeologist goes to the spa. Normally, I’m an archaeologist working jointly between local government and the university sector, and consequently I spend a lot of time cooped up in offices bent over a computer or in meetings about heritage policy and site management. As a result, a good way to rapidly unwind is for me to go to a spa, to move from pool to sauna and back again – and if the nearest/nicest spa to me happens to be in the historically rich and aesthetically pleasing city of Bath, then all the better for it. So, my wife and I got the train over from London and did *not* work on the train but actually read fun, non-work books (unusual in itself). We then pottered around the town pleasantly blending a bit of window shopping, real shopping and lunch, before spending the rest of the day in the wonderful ‘new’ spa complex in the middle of the city with its awesome rooftop pool from which we could laze around in the hot waters, gazing at the historic buildings and idly chatting about everything and anything under the sun. Drinks at a little bar we’d spied earlier followed (a martini being this diggers hit of choice), then dinner at a restaurant well recommended by the bar manager, before home to an early night in our hotel, full of food, snoozy and a hell of a lot more relaxed than the day before. It may not be every archaeologists dream day off, but it works for this one…


A Day of Day of Archaeology (and Snails)

I become quite self-conscious when the time comes to write my own Day of Archaeology contribution. Most of what I did yesterday was to carefully read through the posts that were being submitted to this site, adding new tags or assigning them to categories where necessary, and pressing the button marked ‘publish’. If you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve been reading other posts too, and have a fair sense of what the site is about. I love doing this, I learn quite a lot about the world of archaeology in a day (and subsequent days when I catch up on posts I didn’t catch at the time), and it makes me feel very connected to a group of people worldwide who are doing really interesting jobs. As with last year, I’m full of gratitude for everyone who posted, or commented on posts.

I did squeeze in a little bit of other work. I spent part of the morning processing a very small sample I took from a site on the Somerset Levels here in England. Archaeologists will often take samples of the dirt they’re digging to be sieved through fine mesh (mine went through 0.1mm today – but 0.5 or 0.25 are more usual). This is to look for tiny artefacts, or biological evidence such as fish bones or seeds. My tiny sample accompanies a much larger sample (c. 40 litres) that will be processed later. I just wanted to get a head start to help the other archaeologists on site know what they were dealing with. (more…)

Festival of British Archaeology – Bath Event

We here at the Roman Baths Museum are gearing up for a fab, fun filled day of archaeology in celebration of the Festival of British Archaeology.

We have been preparing information boards, a handling collection, self-guided walks and we have even involved the local school children (who will be there too with their displays on the day).

There will be guided walks, coil pot making, live geophysics and much, much more…

So if you would like to come and join in the fun and learn a little bit more about the prehistory of Bathampton Down then why not come along to ‘ The Secrets of the Downs’

Saturday 30th July 2011 11am – 4pm – Arts Barn, University of Bath, BA2 7AY


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