Category Archives: Blog

Warren Wood Investigations – November 2016

We have now finished for the season, having made 13 visits since the end of May. During one week in July we made four lengthier visits to the site which enabled us to make more progress. During this period we have concentrated on two trenches – T12 and T13.

The aim of the work in Trench 12 is to try and establish the construction date of the inner enclosure bank and ditch. Few datable finds have been recovered so far, and most of these are from the upper layers, se we have not yet found anything conclusive. It is also proving very difficult to distinguish between the ditch fill and the natural surface, due to the lack of finds and the fact that much of the fill is of the same material as the natural surface beneath. We hope to use auguring next spring to help solve this problem.


Trench 13 is within the inner enclosure. We have uncovered a significant amount of flint rubble that may be evidence of stone walling in this area: this was noted by Arthur Boarder in the 1970s and supported by a resistivity survey last year. Unfortunately, we cannot determine the exact position of the walling as the flint does not appear to be in situ. The trench also contains a large amount of medieval pottery and roof tile.


Both trenches have now been covered for the winter and we plan to finish them next year. In early spring, we will visit the site with Phil Andrews, our professional adviser from Wessex Archaeology, to discuss our strategy for 2017. One option is to carry out a mix of excavation, field-walking and surveying, as this may help us understand Warren Wood within its surrounding landscape.

We plan to do some field-walking in the surrounding woodland in the new year and we will let you know when we plan to do this, so that you have the opportunity to join us.

Many thanks to all our volunteers this year. We look forward to working with you again next year and welcome any others who may wish to join us.

Please contact the fieldwork coordinator if you would like to attend. Contact details can be found on the Contact page.




We resumed excavations this year in April and made four visits up to the end of May. The bluebells make it a nice time of the year to be on a woodland site.


We also made a visit in late March with Phil Andrews of Wessex Archaeology, who advised us on our plans for this year. Our priorities were to finish test pit 11 (T11) in the inner enclosure and focus on test pit 12 (T12) across the enclosure bank and ditch. We also discussed potential positions for further trenches.

We have now completed excavating T11, although recording is not yet complete. We found a lot of pottery, including some more coarse pottery similar to that found last season. Some of it may be prehistoric and is also similar to pottery previously found in T6 nearby. These examples shows fingerprint decoration.

T11 C4 coarse pot finger decoration_1

T12 is very different as it has yielded hardly any finds at all so far. This is not unexpected as we have mostly been excavating the top of the bank and did not expect to find much there. We have also started a couple of 1m squares in the ditch where we are more optimistic of finding datable material.

T12 Sq A&B C1

We have taken measurements of the remaining profiles across the inner enclosure bank and ditch, which will enable us to produce ten profiles showing how the shape of the bank and ditch varies.

Using our Total Station we have surveyed the position of a new trench (T13) in the northern part of the inner enclosure. This trench is positioned to investigate some interesting findings from the resistivity survey which was done last year by Andrew Hutt of Berkshire Archaeology Research Group. It is possible that this trench will uncover the remains of a flint wall, which was recorded by Arthur Boarder in the 1970s.

Further visits are planned on the following dates:

June 5th and 19th
July 3rd and 24th
August 7th and 21st
September 4th and 18th

Further visits will take place in October, weather permitting.

We have already had some new enthusiastic volunteers join us at the site this year and we would welcome any more AiM members who are interested. Please contact the fieldwork coordinator if you would like to attend. Contact details can be found on the Contact page







We made a further five visits between during August and September concentrating on test pits 10 and 11.

In T10 we excavated an almost continuous layer of flint rubble which is probably the remains of a Medieval wall footing but we have not been able to determine the position or orientation of the wall. The total weight of the flint rubble came to 335kg. We have now reached natural geology in all parts of the trench and it has been backfilled.

T11 was different as there was a lot less flint rubble, although it has produced a considerable quantity of broken roof tile. More intriguingly, we have found quite a lot of poor-quality pottery (see below) in one end of this trench. This pottery is very rough and contains many coarse inclusions and looks prehistoric, similar to the pottery previously found in nearby T6. However, we will have to wait for it to be properly analysed before we can be certain of its date. We have not reached natural geology yet so will have to resume this trench next year.


We have started excavating T12 which is a trench across the bank and ditch of the inner enclosure, to see if we can find material to help us date the structure.  We have unearthed no significant finds so far and will continue with this trench next year.

On 27th September AIM member Chris Francis carried out some dowsing on the site. Chris has highlighted areas where he believes walls may have existed and we will take this into account when planning further excavation.

No further visits are planned to Warren Wood this year, but we expect to restart next March or April. We have had several enthusiastic new members join us at the site this year and we thank them and our regular volunteers for their hard work. We look forward to seeing more AiM members at Warren Wood next year, and to making more exciting discoveries.

Group photo


We have continued our excavations with five visits between 24th May and 19th July. The main focus has been on test pits 10 and 11 (T10 and T11) which are proving to be quite different. T11 has yielded quite a lot of broken roof tile but only a moderate amount of large flint pieces. T10 contains an almost continuous layer of flint rubble which we are excavating as a separate context, and it has been drawn and photographed. This rubble is probably the remains of a wall footing but we have not been able to determine the position or orientation of the wall. A concentrated patch of broken tile in one corner of T10 turned out to be nothing significant. The flint nodules from the rubble layer are being kept separately from those previously excavated from contexts 1 and 2 of Trench 10, which have been weighed and the results recorded. We have also continued to weigh the tile extracted from both test pits, and have found a few small sherds of pottery, including a nice rim piece. IMG_2318 Here’s all the flint excavated from T10 so far – 75kg and counting! IMG_2332 Using our Total Station, we have now taken measurements for seven of the ten profiles planned across the inner enclosure bank and ditch. We have also marked out the location of a new trench (T12) across the bank of the inner enclosure and hope to start excavation in the coming months.

On 28th June John Laker and I visited Coleman’s Wood near Homer Green, just outside High Wycombe. This is similar to Warren Wood in that the woodland contains an earthwork enclosure of Medieval date. It is being excavated by Stuart King and it shows that very similar looking sites may have different interpretations. It has a similar bank and ditch enclosure of medieval date, with a lot of flint, some medieval pottery, and many finds very near the surface. However there is no evidence of any structures, and there is a lot of iron objects and slag, suggesting this may have been an iron working area. An even bigger difference is the large Iron Age/Romano-British enclosure at Coleman’s Wood which is Stuart’s main interest.

Coleman's Wood visit JL pic


We resumed excavations this year with visits on 12th and 19th April. On 12th April we removed our protective membrane covers from trenches 10 and 11 and cleaned both trenches before restarting excavation. A number of large flints were removed from Trench 10 and added to those previously extracted. A few small pieces of pottery were found including one with a decorative groove. Trench 11 yielded quite a large amount of broken tile and a few pottery sherds, but very little flint. All the broken roof tile that had been previously excavated was reweighed. The total weight of al tile excavated so far is: Trench 10: 28.7kg Trench 11: 38.5kg On 19th April we excavated Trench 10 further and found a concentrated patch of broken tile in one corner. This was photographed (see below) and will be investigated further as a potential feature.

WW14 T10 Conx 2 150419 (1)_1

WW14 T10 Conx 2 150419 (3)_1

We started taking measurements for the profiles across the inner enclosure bank and ditch. The positions of the 10 profiles were marked in March with the advice of Phil Andrews of Wessex Archaeology. Profile P1 was measured using the laser level and further profiles will be taken during forthcoming visits. WW14 150419 Profile 1

Warren Wood Investigations – March 2015

On the 1st of March Phil Andrews of Wessex Archaeology visited us at Warren Wood and took us around the surrounding area to try to understand the local landscape. After our tour, Phil advised us as to where to insert metal and plastic pegs in the inner enclosure to mark a series of profiles we intend to measure during future visits. We also marked out the location of the test pit to be dug across the bank and ditch of the inner enclosure.

On Sunday morning on the 22nd of March, we gathered to conduct both Resistivity and Topographical Surveys. We contacted Andrew Hutt of the Berkshire Archaeological Research Group (BARG), who kindly conducted the Resistivity Survey for us to try to locate the ‘flint wall’ depicted on graphics from 1978 (see graphics and photo’   below).


WW 150322 (2)lge

WW14 150322 Topo survey 2a + AHrev

See below for explanation of the red crosses

We used our Total Station to record the geophysics 10m x 20m rectangle, the profile positions and the location of the bank and ditch trench. These recordings were all overlaid on our site maps and graphics (see photo’ and graphic below).

WW 150322 (91)MF

WW14 150322 Topo Survey 0rev

The red crosses situated within the blue rectangle indicate where trees are growing, the red cross in the circle is where the Total station was set up, the two groups of four red crosses depict Test Pits 10 and 11 and the groups of two red crosses indicate where we intend to record profiles. The two red crosses  at 0m and 65m on our base line were recorded at the locations of our two Temporary Bench Marks (TBMs).

We now have a programme of visit dates for Warren Wood on the following Sundays:- April 12th and 19th, May 10th and 24th, June 7th and 21st, July 5th and 19th (and beyond).

On these days we intend to recommence our excavation work in Test Pits 10 and 11, to start work on the bank and ditch trench (Test Pit 12), to record the profiles and to consider other excavation options, once the results of the resistivity survey have been evaluated.

Warren Wood Investigations – October 2014

The site was visited twice on Sundays in October with 11 volunteers attending over these two days.

Excavations continued in Test Pits 10 and 11 (see photo’ example below) and 5.6kgs and 6.6kgs of Roof Tile were excavated from each respectively. A few pieces of worked flint and pottery sherds were unearthed, plus one small metal object (probably ferric).

WW14 T10 Conx 2 141012RT res

Photo’ courtesy of Roland Tillyer

Drawing were made of both the extended test pits (see example below).

WW14 141026 Drawing T10 Cont 2 res

Another attempt was made to locate ‘the wall’ on Arthur Boarder’s 1978 drawing of the inner enclosure. Although some largish flints were observed in the middle north section of the inner enclosure, it is difficult to believe that they are the remains of a wall. Photographs were taken of this area and a peg was left in the area observed, to mark the location of a couple of medieval pottery sherds.

To conclude the 2014 season, a semi-permeable membrane was deposited in each test pit and these were lightly covered with soil from the relevant spoil heaps for protection over the winter.




Warren Wood Investigations – August & September 2014

In August and September, 21 AIM members visited the Warren Wood site on Sundays the 24th of August and the 14th and 28th of September (the visit scheduled for the 10th of August was cancelled due to heavy rain).

The two original 1 metre x 1 metre squares were extended; test pit 10 was extended by 0.5 metres both east and west and test pit 11 was extended 0.5 metres both north and south. See photograph of test pit 10 below.  WW14 T10 Conx 2 140914 (2RevResized)

In context two of Test Pit 10 a mixture of large pieces of flint and much broken roof tile pieces (around 8 kilograms), along with 6 sherds of pottery (21g), were revealed. Tile and flint pieces were weighed, counted and stored on site. All other finds were subsequently cleaned, recorded and stored for further examination.

In context two of Test Pit 11, nearly 11 kilograms of roof tile were located, but very little flint (2 pieces weighing 15g). 8 pottery sherds were also unearthed weighing 79g in total. Again, the tile was weighed, counted and stored on site. All other finds were subsequently cleaned, recorded and stored for further examination.

Warren Wood Investigations – July 2014

In July, 15 AIM members visited the Warren Wood site on Sundays the 6th and 27th.

To conclude AIM’s WW12 Project, Trench 9 is being gradually backfilled.

On the 15th of June preparatory work on AIM’s new Project, WW14, had begun. Both the original 2006 base line bolts were located (65 metres apart) and a line of ranging poles was lined up and measuring tapes placed along this line. At 25m and 35m from the eastern base line bolt, ranging poles were inserted and precise measurements were taken using the optical square (see photograph) and then measuring tapes to locate original test pits 5, 6, 7 and 8 excavated during Project WW10 .

WW14 140515 (5)rev L

Once located, the 1 metre x 1 metre squares of test pit 10 (midpoint between test pits 7 and 8 in the inner enclosure) and test pit 11 (midpoint between test pits 6 and 8 in the inner enclosure) were marked out.

Test Pit 10

Leaf mould was removed from the surface of test pit 10 to expose context 1 which consisted of dark brown, loamy soil.  Photos and a drawing were taken before the commencement of any digging.  Some initial excavation work was then undertaken, recovering a large amount of tile and other possible finds.  All finds were subsequently cleaned, recorded and stored for further examination.

On the 27th further work was undertaken on test pit 10 (see photograph) to define a possible structure consisting of heavily compacted flints interspersed with fragments of tile.

WW14 140727 (4) LThis possible structure lies within context 1, which consists of a dark brown loamy soil (see photograph). WW14 T10 Conx 1 140706 (1) L

It was decided to extend test pit 10 by 0.5 metres, both an easterly and westerly direction.  Excavation work was undertaken in the two extended areas, revealing heavily compacted flints interspersed with fragments of tile. This excavation work was undertaken within context 1, which consisted of a dark brown loamy soil.  A quantity of tiles was extracted (see photograph), counted and weighed onsite and then stored in a separate pile near the test pit.  A number of other finds were extracted and subsequently cleaned, recorded and stored for further examination.

WW14 140727 T10 Finds (1) L

Finds from test pit 10

33 pieces of (probably) worked flint weighing 132 g

24 sherds of pottery weighing 112g

1164 pieces of tile weighing 7.806 kg

1 burnt flint weighing 19g

Test Pit 11

Leaf mould was also removed from the surface of test pit 11 to expose context 1 which again consisted of dark brown, loamy soil.  Photos and a drawing were taken before the commencement of any digging. Context 2 was also a light brown soil, but less loamy and more sandy in context.   A considerable quantity of tile and other possible finds were excavated.  All finds were subsequently cleaned, recorded and stored for further examination. Very few large flint nodules were identified in test pit 11.  It was clear from the excavation of context 2 that the area had been disturbed in the past through the cutting of tree roots, presumably to assist with the removal of a tree which appears to have been located in the centre of the test pit.

Finds from test pit 11

22 pieces of (probably) worked flint weighing 71g

19 sherds of pottery weighing 122g

847 pieces of tile weighing14.679 kg

2 items of metal weighing 10g

1 burnt flint weighing 5g

3 pieces of bone weighing 2g

1 possible fragment of brick weighing 131g

As with AIM’s Project WW10, much roof tile and pottery sherds continue to appear. This would again seem to date from the 12th the 15th century and are probably mid to late Norman period.

Warren Wood Investigations – June 2014

In June AIM members visited the Warren Wood site on the 1st, 15th and 29th.

Trench 9 was cleaned up and stakes were inserted where archaeology ended and natural geology commenced, along the trench at 1 metre intervals. Measurements were taken at each stake to confirm the exact measurement between the surface of the trench and natural geology.

These reading were combined with previous context measurements to produce two profiles of each side of the trench (see graphics below).

WW12 Profile North 10L

WW12 Profile South 10L

In late June the pottery pieces from Trench 9 were sent off to pottery expert Paul Blinkhorn for identification and analysis. His ‘discussion’ and spreadsheet follow.


 Perhaps the most striking feature of this pottery assemblage is that all the sherds are small and most are abraded, included the medieval wares, suggesting that all the pottery other than the post-Roman material is residual, and even this is at least the product of secondary deposition, and may also be residual.  The overall mean sherd weight for the whole group, c 4g, is very low.

 These factors, coupled with the small assemblage size, makes any interpretation of the assemblage somewhat tentative, but the fact that the assemblage from the top of the bank, squares B and C, appear to be Romano-British, does suggest that the feature is of such a date, especially as pottery of that period was entirely absent from the excavated features of the inner enclosure. Given the extremely small and abraded nature of the prehistoric material, it seems most, if not all, is residual, although as the inner enclosure is of such a date, the possibility that some of the material is reliably stratified in an ancient ground-surface cannot be discounted, especially in the case of the material from squares A2 and G. The medieval material therefore probably represents later use of the visible earth-works, although it must be repeated that this interpretation should be regarded as very tentative, and further excavation is needed to clarify the chronology of the monument.

Table 1: Pottery occurrence by number and weight (in g) of sherds per context by fabric type


Tr Sq Cntxt No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt Date
9 A2 2 4 17 LBA?
9 A 2 3 9 1 4 L11thC
9 B 2 7 27 1 2 3 8 RB?
9 C 2 3 30 1 3 4 12 1 6 2 9 1 1 RB?
9 D 2 4 20 12thC
9 F 1 1 2 RB??
9 G 1 1 5 LBA?
Total 10 57 10 36 4 12 1 6 2 9 3 11 5 24


The Trench was photographed (see below) and on the 15th and 29th of June and into July, Trench 9 was gradually backfilled to resemble its original condition.

WW12 T9 W-E 140601 (7)L

Once all the data and other artefacts have been identified and analysed, a report will be written, which will uploaded to this site.