After a well earned rest day on Bank Holiday Monday, everyone was back to try to uncover the mystery of the little Roman building. Neil Holbrook, ex Time Team and now Director of Cotswold Archaeology paid a visit. He was as mystified as the rest and described it as a weird little building! Guess we will have to wait until it’s fully excavated to discover its use!
And then he lent a hand!
Work begins on excavating the small building in Trench 2 with Gill being granted the honour of lifting the first flint having drawn the plan of the whole structure single handed.
Never mind the weather …………………works begins in earnest to reveal the secrets of our enigmatic building!
Gill’s task …………………….to meticulously draw the foundations and debris of our little Roman mystery building using a grid before we can excavate. She hopes to finish tomorrow!
Today’s thunderstorms mean no digging for a while as everyone is cleared off the field until the storms have passed but it’s quite a dramatic sight.
Photos courtesy of Lindsey.
Aerial shot of the site courtesy of Richard Miller – after a little bit of rain, the areas of interest show up clearly against the chalk. We have a lot more digging to do!! Just in case you are wondering where have all the diggers gone….they have downed tools for lunch.
Today the two large trenches start revealing their secrets ………………trench 1 appears to be largely Iron Age and trench 2 seems to be more organised and Roman – so two eras for the price of one.
We also welcomed members of West Berkshire Council’s Heritage and Tourism Department to the site. They supported our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for our three year project. Steve Clark and Lindsey Bedford did the honours, walking them round the site.
Trench 2 below …………….where Freya is logging the position of circular burnt areas which would appear to be ovens. In this trench also the foundations of a small building have been discovered.
Trench 1 – Gary tidies up the side of an Iron Age pit ready for recording…………………….
while Steph from Cotswold Archaeology shows Agata how to record each context layer…….the pit was later carefully photographed so that no detail was lost.
On a sizzling day at Wyfield, 28 volunteers turned out to listen to an initial briefing by Cotswold Archaeology.
Matt explains what he wants this team of volunteers to do in one of two big trenches
Nancy and Barbara uncover a flint wall in trench 2 after the trench has been cleared back.
Meanwhile strange shapes possibly pits are being uncovered in trench 1 – these are marked out for excavation.
…………………And they are off! Mike on JCB and Matt as banksman – opening up the trenches.
James ready to commence a magnetometer survey.
They’ll never know I opened a little bit more!
A busy day – surface mapping before the digger arrives…………………………
Nancy looking for treasures and marking them up on a grid!
Lunch break for some in the party tent!
Anyway due to everyone’s efforts we are all ready for the digger tomorrow – trenches marked up, field walking pretty well finished and geophys well underway.
And we are off……………………………………….with Steve Clark and Janet Firth on Total Station and Richard Miller on gradiometer! Great strides all round with half of the gridding out done and some geophys to boot – despite some heavy and blustery showers. Thanks to all who made such a good start today. We hope to finish the gridding out tomorrow with more geophys if it’s not too wet. If you want to join in this HLF community dig, please contact email@example.com – you don’t need previous experience, training is given on site by a professional company, Cotswold Archaeology.
Most people in Boxford will know there is to be a further Roman dig this summer – this time at Wyfield two weeks from 20th August. But you don’t have to live in Boxford to take part! If you haven’t already signed up to dig but would like to have ago – no previous experience is necessary – please let me know. Students over 16 are very welcome. We know from some of our previous student volunteers, how good this kind of activity looks on a CV. For those who have already expressed an interest in digging this summer, would you be kind enough to let me know your availability during the period 22nd August to 3rd September as soon as possible please. Although the farmer has not yet confirmed our dates, we hope this time guide will be near enough and hope to have an Open Day for the public at the end – most likely on September 4th. But more on that later.
Access is not as easy as Hoar Hill and we cannot get a site hut near enough to the site. If you have a tent we can borrow for the two weeks, we would be most grateful – full height frame tents or similar for shelter as the site is quite exposed. We shall be using them to keep papers and personal belongings safe and accessible. We would also need help to put them up!
If you can help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The fact that we have a number of Roman buildings in such a small geographical area would suggest that Boxford was a very busy place during the Roman era. For those of you in the parish of Boxford – if you have found any Roman artifacts in your garden – and this is quite possible – please add them to the National database yourself or contact the local liaison finds officer Anni Byard email Anni.Byard@Oxfordshire.gov.uk. If you want help with this, please let us know. Any information added to the National database just increases our overall understanding of what was going on here nearly 2000 years ago.
Many thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.