in the Royal County of Berkshire

Boxford Big Dig 2015 (page 2 of 7)

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.

Roman Boxford Dig – Day 6

What a difference a day makes! Thunder, lightning and an absolute deluge made everyone dive for cover in the marquee…………..well almost!

Richard in his wet weather gear trying to start a new fashion! After all what was plastic invented for?

Harry won an archaeology competition set by BARG and earned a day on site; so in between showers, he had a go at everything – digging, pot washing, metal detecting and finding stuff. He was particularly interested in the tile with a paw print. (Must have been a lot of dogs on the loose in Roman times as we have found quite a few with paw prints.)  He…… and his dad lasted all day despite the weather. At the end Matt presented him with his certificate.


Jim also found a lot of cbm in trench 4 – one piece especially stood out – an imbrex with an unusual signature of the maker – it looks a little like a fish or an eye!

Photos courtesy of Lindsey and Joy


Roman Boxford Dig – Day 5

Some stunning photos of the site from Richard’s drone…………….the three trenches (top right) are across the main villa. The biggest of the cluster of excavations (bottom left) is the secondary building/villa.


Jim – in a hole again – this time in trench 4 the smaller building. He always finds something special!

Continuing work in trench 3 – the main villa

What is this? Tom and Agata are puzzled.

Looks like a large bone with a curved surface….will cover it up for tonight and get Matt to look at it in the morning!

Gary and Jack (not in the picture) have dug this trench 9 and made it immaculate. It is now finished and Matt is showing Gary how to accurately plot the cut using Cotswold’s GPS system.

Roman Boxford Dig – Day 4

Daily briefing from Matt – Trench 3 beautifully excavated by Agata and Roger. It shows the pad which would have supported one of two of the gate posts immediately opposite the main villa and the wall connecting it to the smaller building.

Unusual under leg technique by Tom!

Freya and Geordie cleaning back trench in 2

Mum Katharine exploring the archaeology with youngest son Jasper – our youngest volunteer yet!

With Joel and Emmeline not far behind

Jill one of the team of six pot washers today  – needed to keep up with the number of finds coming off the site!

And one of Jill’s items after a wash…………a dog paw print in a tile……….pads and claw marks clearly visible…….must have been a large dog though!

Much needed lunch break

Excitement in trench 3 in the main villa as Alice uncovers more tesserae.

Maybe we can now call it a mosaic floor as opposed to a tessellated floor as there is more than one colour!

Photos courtesy of Lindsey and Jill.

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