Tag Archives: Roman

Visit to SOAG Roman Excavation

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

John Laker




Photos gS and qS

Field Trip to St Albans Abbey

Field Trip: St Alban’s Abbey led by Geoff Crockford and Nigel Hughes

We’ll dowse the Abbey and also the grounds of  Verulamium park. The park stands on the site of the Roman city of Verulamium, excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the 1930s. Roman city walls, a mosaic floor and a hypocaust can still be seen.  We shall also investigate the mysterious Iron Age earthworks and a long barrow. This will be a fascinating site to visit with a pair of expert guides.

Please check the Thames Valley Dowsers Events page for more details

Visit to Silchester

The ancient Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum in close to modern day Silchester. It is just in Hampshire, south west of Reading. This large town probably flourished during the Iron Age, but the Romans took over soon after 43AD and developed the town into a major settlement, eventually surrounding it with massive walls, the remains of which are still clearly visible.

Professor Mike Fulford and his assistant Amanda Clarke of the University of Reading have been conducting excavations on one part of this large site, called ‘Insula 9’, for 9 years now. The investigations are run during July and August as a large training exercise for over 100 university students and keen amateurs.

Silchester Excavation
Silchester Excavation

Originally Mike had agreed to give Maidenhead Historical & Archaeological Society a guided tour on the 30th of July, so I went along to update myself on developments. Mike took us around the ‘insula’, which is about 100 metres square and explained the changes in the Roman road alignment and repositioning of houses that had taken place over the centuries.

The ‘artefacts lady’ showed us what had been unearthed in 2008. She showed us a selection of clasp pins and brooches, as well as some coins and a specialised medical tool used for ‘male conditions’. The Dolphin artefact was probably the decorative top of a decanter, or similar (wine) container.

Again there was a profusion of Roman pottery, including pieces of Samian ware (from north Gaul/modern day France). A few sherds of Iron Age pottery have also emerged confirming the site’s history prior to the Roman invasion.