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Last week, a team of archaeologists led by Dr David Roberts of Historic England, and which included Members, Volunteers, Staff and friends of Salisbury Museum, were in the Wiltshire countryside on an exciting excavation. It is part of a project initiated by Dr Roberts as long ago as 2008 when he was still a student at the University of York, and digging has continued during most summers since then. The research is primarily into Roman remains in the area but much of the prehistory and early history has been exposed also.

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Dr Roberts and colleagues in what may be a Roman sacred grove

The site is particularly intriguing. Extensive masonry walls have been found and buildings which are not domestic. Nevertheless, some detritus of everyday living has been found, including coins, brooches, and, this year, significant amounts of pottery.

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One of the trenches, and above, the ridge, which is surrounded by earth and masonry walls

Within the walls which have been discovered, surrounding a high ridge, the remains of ritually killed animals (found in previous seasons’ excavations) suggest a sacred site of some kind, with many of the building remains perhaps being to serve visitors, and only in use for part of the year. Interpretation continues.

Apart from an impressive thunderstorm which caused a rapid evacuation of the site on one afternoon, the weather was kind. The professionals were endlessly patient with the amateurs, and the fresh air, exercise, and the history were wonderful.