in the Royal County of Berkshire

Boxford Big Dig 2015 (page 2 of 7)

Andrew Lyle Remembered

The following was written by Matt Nichol yesterday.

This morning I heard the very sad news that one of volunteers who had helped on the 2013, 2015 and this year’s 2017 Boxford project has sadly passed away this morning.
Andrew Lyle was an incredibly hard working, funny and passionate local Boxford guy whose contribution to the Boxford dig over the years was immense. He was a great team member always upbeat, always keen to muck in with the heavy excavation and on quite a few occasions I was invited around to his house after a days digging for drinks and a meal with his wife Tina.
I remember the very first season in 2013 after the excavation was complete I was invited around to his house in evening so I could complete all site paperwork with another volunteer who went on to study a degree in archaeology because of that season (because of this then went on to become a military officer in the TA). Andrew on the hand was a great cook and entertainer. I will never forget that evening especially.
Andrew and I ever since 2013 had a running joke together that I would find him a mosaic but none of us could ever have foreseen this year’s findings. Andrew’s health was not good at all during this season of work. Although in great pain, unable to walk properly, on at least four occasions Andrew managed to make it on to site and contribute for a few hours each time. He was one of the first to reveal the beautiful colours of the mosaic. I am very proud to have given him such a fantastic opportunity working on an incredible mosaic. We certainly smiled and joked together about the mosaic discovery…
First photo is courtesy of Lindsey Bedford.
Best wishes
Matt Nichol
Project Officer

We made the Nationals!!

Just in case you hadn’t heard, the mosaic story has hit the national papers and ITV and BBC even Russia Today!! Matt was on the Meridian News this evening with a few seconds of video of  Alice explaining the mosaic at the Open Day – video courtesy of Richard. What a world!! The photos from the blog have been used by  the papers too. Hard copies of the Times, Telegraph and Mail are available but the rest as far as we know is online – John even found a Greek post!

More Photos of the Boxford Dig 2017

Photos on the blog are courtesy of Steve, Lindsey, Joy, Richard, Helen, Jill and Mike

The site

The smaller building


Important discovery of Roman Villa mosaic

During the excavations on a Roman villa site near Boxford over the last few weeks, an important mosaic floor was found. Experts have described this as the most important mosaic find in the last 50 years in Britain. Photos of the excavations and the mosaic can be found on the blog. Thanks go to all volunteers of whatever description and the HLF in helping locals to better understand their heritage.

Mike’s Photos of the Open Day & End of the Project

The long and the short of it

Happy BARGs

Why so glum?

That’s better!

The Law 1

A busy Open Day

The Law 2

R The Law 2

Viewing the Mosaic


Viewing the Mosaic

The end of a great day

How many archaeologists does it take…………


Lindsey contemplating a great week

The Mosaic revealed

Roman Boxford Open Day

Buffet lunch for volunteers – a small token of thanks for all their hard work ………..from the Boxford History Project

We estimate that 250 visitors came to the Open Day – the marquee was the visitor centre!

Even the police force turned up to show their interest and offer help

Matt explaining the site to locals

Richard getting the light just right for the last overhead photos of trench three open.

Matt and  Alice still recoding as the sun goes down after the Open Day

The trenches are  backfilled  now …… keep everything secure and preserved. Hopefully we will be back on this site to uncover more treasures. On a personal note, I have to say that it has been an absolute pleasure to work with this group – from novices to professionals. It must be something to do with being covered in mud a large proportion of the time! If you have any good photos of the Open Day, please email them to: Some have been forwarded to the Newbury Weekly but I don’t know if they will be included in this week’s paper. Many thanks. Joy

Photos courtesy of Joy, Lindsey and Richard

Roman Boxford Dig Day 11

Record…….record…….. record …………and tidy up your trench! Have to get everything ready on site for the Open Day between 2-4pm on Saturday.

Another surprise today – Agatha and Alice find another plunge pool in the bath suite. It’s likely to be the tepidarium as Lindsey had already dug out another plunge pool thought to be the frigidarium. But we have not got time to dig it out…………………maybe another year?

We hope to have lots of visitors tomorrow between 2-4pm so that they can see all the work that has been put in and the stunning results! Well done to everyone!

Photos courtesy of Joy

Roman Boxford Dig Day 10

More mud !  Most of the finds come out covered in thick mud so Barbara and Chris are trying their best to clean it off so we can determine what we are actually looking at!!

Cleaned off finds sieved by Janet – but this time it’s “dem bones, dem bones!!! The lumps of mud on the left are what these fragments were in. The bones are not human but a broken skull and  vertebrae of animals yet to be determined.

Diggers still cleaning up walls! And another young volunteer. Fantastic spread of ages across the diggers and they all get on brilliantly!

Photos courtesy of Joy

Roman Boxford Dig 2017 Day 9

Another very busy day -Agata and Alice “plotting” in trench 1

Lindsey digging/swimming out her paddling pool – whoops sorry plunge pool in the en suite. That pool must have had higher sides.

Tom slogging his way through fallen debris near the stoke hole – the central heating boiler for the villa……………

Gary with another spectacularly precise hole in the ground…………

The external wall in trench 4 gradually appears!

Even more geophys with Mike, Nancy and Richard

Today’s team with thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the opportunity to find these wonderful buildings

Photos courtesy of Joy

Roman Boxford 2017 -Days 7 and 8

A busy weekend was had by all and a rest day on Monday was very welcome.

Janet and Gill part of the weekend team processing finds – the other two not in the photo were Helen and Liz. This is the back office otherwise known as the Heritage Centre in Boxford.

Quite a lot to work through without what is on site!

One special tegula or Roman tile – nearly complete with a paw print and if you look carefully at the bottom you will see the maker’s mark or signature- a kind of semi-circle.

Believed to be a plunge pool in a bath suite from trench 1. At the moment it looks more like a paddling pool! Needs a bit more digging! You can see the special pink coloured water proofing plaster that the Romans used.

Cleaning walls in trenches 1,3 and 4 so that external and internal walls are clearly defined. Here Agata and Freya.


Roger in trench 4 – the smaller of the two buildings.

Tina also in trench 4

And so are Jim, Richard, Tony and Nancy

Photos courtesy of Helen and Joy.

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