On Sunday the 1st of July, four intrepid AIM members travelled to S.O.A.G.’s (South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group) Roman site near Goring-on-Thames.
Hazel Williams, the site Director, welcomed us and gave us a guided tour of this large site, which has now entered its twentieth year of excavation. The description of ‘Roman Villa’ has changed to ‘a large Roman Farmstead’. This is mainly due to the lack of mosaics found there.
Hazel showed photographic overlays, which outline the areas had been excavated previously and the areas under current excavation. A geophysics graphic showing the Farmstead and it setting in the local area was most illuminating. Hazel also showed us a selection of artefacts found at the site, including some pieces of high class Samian ware pottery.
After our tour, we entered the very large trench (see photo’) to start excavating. We dug in an area just outside of the main building’s western wall. We expected this area to be devoid of ‘finds’, but the finds tray was soon full of pieces of roof tile and burnt pottery.
The spoil from such a dig gathers quickly and wheelbarrows are used to convey the spoil to areas outside excavation areas. One of our members used his metal detector to find various metal items, including a selection of Roman nails.
At lunchtime all the volunteers gathered in a circle and sat eating their lunches and chatting about archaeology locally and in general.
Having been refuelled, the gathering dispersed to various parts of the site. The AIM members continued digging in the same area, but, not long after we were transferred to the southern side of the trench to dig amongst the probable fall of a Roman wall. This tumble of flints and chalk contained few finds, but some roof tile and on small piece of painted plaster were unearthed.
Although the weather was cool and windy, the rain held off all day! Just before 4 o’clock we packed our gear away, said our goodbyes and departed for Marlow.
We all had a wonderful day on the important site. Many thanks to Hazel and her team. SOAG’s hospitality was at its usual high quality.
For more information see SOAG’s website at www.soagarch.org.uk
Photos gS and qS