Tag Archives: Excavation


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






Warren Wood Update March 2012

Excited Archaeology In Marlow (AIM) members gathered on the evening of Tuesday the 20th of March, in the Garden Room of Liston Hall to launch our 54 page Warren Wood Members’ Report covering all aspects of our 2 year project. Now available on AIM’s website at www.archaeologyinmarlow.org.uk, or in hard copy at £10. Contact John Laker (see back page) if you wish to purchase a copy. The report for the HER in Aylesbury, and another for inclusion in the Records of Bucks Journal, are now close to completion.

The evening centred around an illustrated talk given by John Laker, detailing AIM’s investigations at Warren Wood. The highlight of the proceedings was the display of the significant artefacts/finds found by members at Warren Wood during the project.

During 2010 and 2011, AIM had investigated the earthwork at Warren Wood, off Winchbottom Lane, Little Marlow, which consists of an Inner and an Outer Enclosure, thought to date from Medieval times (500AD to 1500AD).

Members will remember that eight test pits (four in each enclosure) were excavated to try to discover artefacts, that could be dated, and to try to find any evidence of buildings that may have been constructed on the site.

AIM also intended to give opportunities to as many members and visitors as possible to explore the areas of archaeology they were interested in. Training was given in all aspects to expand people’s knowledge. AIM started its investigations in February 2010 and continued them until November 2011.

A large quantity of important artefacts was unearthed to help date AIM’s archaeological site, but the additional discoveries of artefacts dating from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age were unexpected delights (see below).

The test pits in the Inner Enclosure revealed much Medieval Roof Tile (nearly 41kgs) and 289 pieces of Medieval pottery. Many large flints were unearthed and some smaller flakes that were manmade in the Stone Age. 10 Metal items (badly corroded), 5 pieces of Bone and a little Charcoal (23gms) were also excavated.

In the test pits in the Outer Enclosure, very few artefacts were found (56 as opposed to 1999 in the Inner Enclosure). However, 15 Flint flakes and 10 Pot Boilers (pieces of Flint that had been heated in a fire and then dropped into a pot of water to boil the water – in under 10 seconds!) were found.

To our great surprise in one Inner Enclosure test pit we found small pieces of chalk and 18 pieces of pottery with inclusions, or grit. This test pit was extended and it revealed another 61 pottery sherds, or pieces, with inclusions, 222 pieces of chalk weighing 1.392kgs, along with 18 large burnt stones weighing in at 2.845kgs.

The pottery has now been professionally dated, along with all the other ‘finds’. The Medieval Pottery dates from approximately 1050 to 1400AD and the Roof Tile dates from 1400 to 1700AD. This suggests occupation over a period of at least 350 years, probably starting with a wooden building, which was then replaced with a grander building complete with a tiled roof.

But the biggest surprise was the Pottery with inclusions (82 pieces, of which a few had finger impressions on them), mostly from one large pot, Some of these pieces have now been fitted together, indicating a rim diameter of 30cms. In addition, Flint flakes, Burnt stones and Pot Boilers were also unearthed.

The Pottery was dated from the late Bronze Age (1200 to 800BC) and the early Iron Age (800 to 500BC), whilst the Flint pieces were dated from the late Neolithic (3000 to 2500BC) to the early Bronze Age (2500 to 1800BC). The Burnt Stones were not dateable, but they may have formed part of a hearth.

It can be argued that a large quantity of large flints, plus substantial quantities of roof tile, indicate a building (or buildings) of a relatively high standard. The mixture of large flint pieces, roof tile and pottery sherds, indicate that the building (or buildings), had been demolished at some time, rather than just falling into disrepair.

Using extremely rough guesswork, if the 12 x 12 metre square containing the test pits revealed the same concentration of roof tile that was unearthed from the test pits, the roof area would have been 6 square metres, indicating a building (allowing for a 30 degree angled roof), that would have measured approximately 2 metres wide by 2.5 metres long. If the 12 metre square had been a 17 metre square, and the tile spread were similar, a building 2.5 metres by 4 metres could be feasible, and so on.

Although accurate dating has still not been achieved, it appears that the site was occupied from around 1050AD until 1400AD, but probably not much later.

In addition, despite having a good idea regarding the occupation of the site in Medieval times, we now know that men and women visited the area many years before this period  – truly a historic (or, in part, pre-historic) site!

After the talk members gathered to examine the artefacts, have a chat and enjoy the tea, coffee and biscuits provided on the night.


Happy Valley Dig Summer 2009

As part of an ongoing investigation into activity in Happy Valley, Marlow, we conducted an exploratory excavation. Volunteers and AiM members worked hard for two Sundays and it was envisaged that the dig would take at least two more Sundays.

Part of AiM’s purpose is to educate and train, so we welcomed even novice diggers to come along and assist.

Happy Valley is near Beechwood Drive (off the Henley Road and at the junction between the Henley Road and Pound Lane).

For more information on future investigations, contact John Laker, our Fieldwork Co-Ordinator, on 01628 481792

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Boarstall (National Archaeology Week)

Between the 12th and 20th of July 2008, many archaeological events take place up and down the country.

One of these events was at Boarstall, just north of Thame and close to Brill. Apart from the National Trust’s Duck Decoy at Boarstall, there is also their Boarstall Tower close by. The tower was built in 1312 and was originally the grand gateway to the earlier Boarstall House. The house was demolished in 1778 following the death of the son of the owners, Sir John and Lady Aubrey He died from ‘ergot disease’, but they considered the house ‘evil’ and had it demolished!

Gary Marshall, Archaeologist for the National Trust in our area, headed up the investigations and plans had been made to let volunteers start excavating in five separate trenches dug into the lawn to the rear of the tower. The objectives were to locate the various stages of development of the house and its formal garden, as well as to survey surrounding areas not previously surveyed.

Excavations at Boarstall
Excavations at Boarstall

Early finds, recovered on the 12th and 13th, included mediaeval tile pieces and sherds of pot, as well as chunks of brick and tile. Another week of investigations hopefully revealed much, much, more.