in the Royal County of Berkshire

Mosaic (page 2 of 2)

Day 5 – Saturday -The Reveal begins!

Considering it’s only day 5 (week 1) of the dig, it’s really amazing just how much has been accomplished. Thanks to all diggers, sievers, washers and recorders for all they have done over the past week – it has exceeded expectations. By the end of the day, nearly half the mosaic had been exposed – thankfully in pretty good order and the finds processing team has kept up with what has been coming out of the ground. People found themselves stopping work and gazing at what was being revealed but we will have to resist that temptation if we are going to be able display the mosaic in all its glory and to Matt’s satisfaction for the Open Day on Saturday 31st August.

The Boxford contingent

I am sure there was a wall there!

Without the sponsors we would not be here

A Telemon appears with eyes, belly button and all!

Photos today from Mike, Joy and David

Day 4 for diggers

Despite a very warm day Matt was well pleased with progress. Everyone headed for shade at lunchtime.

Mortarium pieces?

Rather grisly selection but there have been a lot of bones!

and sadly some of these tesserae – that should be in the mosaic.

Photos from Joy, Helen and Liz

Morning briefing from Matt

Thanks to David for Friday’s photos

Day 3 for Diggers

Good progress made today, good weather, good company and even some finds.

The very keen return quickly after the tea break.

Jim with some serious help from Joel in trench 1.

That wretched land drain again!

Very nice little Roman brooch – still in working order.

Photos today from Richard

Day 2 for diggers

Great progress so early in the dig although trench 1 turned into a serious mattocking day!

Matt and Sam deliberating
Gently does it!
Walls showing up clearly in trench 2
Aerial view of both trenches
An unexpected find – an antler in trench 2
Finds cleaning – somebody’s got to do it!

Photos kindly supplied by David and Richard

Day 1 for diggers!

Diggers on the march!
Matt’s morning briefing
The mosaic trench (2) is on the left. The righthand trench is through the middle of the villa
Men and women at work!
A big boot find in trench 1 – actually on a wall!

A really successful day with all hands working hard to clean the trenches and some good pottery and glass finds.
It was really great to be able to catch up on lots of news with friends from the previous digs and we welcomed several newcomers too.

We made a start to MHV19!

A terrific start to the dig! Marquees, Gary’s tent and our Sponsors Board all up on Saturday; loos, tools and equipment delivered today – so we look very posh! To cap it all, Matt spotted that red tesserae border as Scud was excavating the mosaic trench.

But this time it’s in a different place – we can see it clearly up against the party wall to the adjoining room and it looks fine. So here’s hoping the central panels will be as good.

The red tesserae border
Matt – A happy man!

Photos thanks to Dave


Boxford’s community project to fully excavate the Bellerophon Mosaic in the local Roman villa will be starting soon. Also in the planning is an Open Day for members of the public to see this extraordinary mosaic for themselves. The date has been set as Saturday August 31st and the site will be open from 10am to 4pm.

The mosaic only partially uncovered in 2017 due to time constraints, was considered by experts to be the most important Roman mosaic found in the UK for the last fifty years. It depicts many scenes from Greek myths – almost like a story book or a cartoon strip on the floor. The chief character is the celebrated flying knight of Greek myth – Bellerophon, son of the god Poseidon who is frequently portrayed on the back of the winged horse Pegasus.

Volunteers return this year in the hope that the remainder of the mosaic is undamaged and when fully uncovered will perhaps reveal the owner of this modest villa. From the little we have seen so far, he must have been well educated and probably well travelled. Why did he come to Boxford and what happened to the villa are questions that still hang in the air.

Below: Richard Miller’s photo from 2017

Dig update

First of all, sorry about the break in transmission but WordPress websites were upgraded and the subscription configuration to the blog was lost in the ether! Anyhow now all fixed by our webmaster.
We have had a huge response to the call for volunteers – now over 80! It’s really great but we have to restrict numbers on site each day, so have started a waiting list for any latecomers.
We are all looking forward to August and the great reveal!

Funding Update

Following generous donations from individuals and organisations for this year’s dig at Mud Hole our funding total now stands at over £46,500 – ever closer to full funding. We have just received notification that the Greenham Trust has awarded the project a Reactive Grant of £1,000 and ASPROM the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics have awarded their maximum grant of £500. Updated funding information is available on the Boxford Mosaic page of the Good Exchange.

We are advised by the land agent that our most likely start date is during the week of 19th August but as always it’s weather and harvest dependent. We are still hoping to be excavating for 3 weeks followed by a week of recording but it all depends on full funding.

Volunteers have been coming forward and in some numbers. It looks like we will be oversubscribed which is great but we will have to regulate numbers on the site each day. So if you would like to join us for the dig, please complete and return a volunteer contact form asap even if you have been on Boxford digs in the past, or if you prefer email:

Many thanks to many of you who have been helping in so many ways.


The Wondrous Boxford Mosaic

Photo courtesy Richard Miller

This remarkable image is part of the amazing Roman mosaic found last summer in the parish of Boxford, West Berkshire. The mosaic has been examined by experts and described as the most important Roman mosaic find in Great Britain for the last 50 years. It received widespread national and international coverage when it was discovered in 2017.

The  project to fully uncover the mosaic will be led by  the Boxford History Project (BHP) using a volunteer workforce from the local community, with valiant assistance from archaeology groups most notably from the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG) and all overseen by professionals from Cotswold Archaeology. As usual on an agricultural site, we have to wait until harvest is finished and we have been informed that we may be able to start the 3rd week of August depending on the weather.

If fully funded we plan to work for 3 weeks uncovering the Boxford mosaic, the bath suite and the floor plan of the villa. A fourth week will be spent recording the mosaic in minute detail as it will be covered again at the end of the dig for its own protection. We are looking for volunteers to help with this unique project – you don’t need previous experience,  just enthusiasm and genuine interest…..and an ability to smile through all weathers! There are a variety of tasks for volunteers – don’t worry, topsoil is removed from the site by a JCB but thereafter it’s hand digging and looking out for finds; finds then have to be washed, sorted, weighed, photographed and catalogued.   So please get in touch  if you would like to volunteer by emailing:

Over £38,000.00 of the £60,000 needed has been raised so far! Greenham Common Trust has offered to match fund pound for pound, donations up to £5000 through The Good Exchange funding platform . More detailed information about the project and fundraising can be found on the Good Exchange website……………………and you can also make a donation if you wish – it’s really easy………….and don’t forget Greenham Common Trust will double it! Grateful thanks to those who have already made a donation.





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