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Volunteers were again involved with excavations in the Deverills valley recently. The Deverills Archaeology Group continue to work with Dr David Roberts of Historic England in an area where a large Roman villa was discovered just a few years ago by workmen laying a trench. Investigations last year, and this, have been into features showing up on geophys suggesting banks and small buildings – potentially a farmstead associated with the villa.

Dr David Roberts keeps a watchful eye…
Salisbury Museum Volunteer Claire Goodey (left)

The dig was planned to be brief, over a long weekend, but even then was shortened by heavy rain on the first day. Two trenches were opened the next day and features immediately began to appear – a bank in one and a hard surface in the other, with possible post holes.

Finds begin to appear

There were numerous finds from a number of periods – prehistory, the Roman period, and Medieval – mostly pottery sherds, animal bone and a small number of iron finds, such as horseshoe nails, as one would expect. Amongst it all, a Roman coin, provisionally identified as from the rule of Tetricus (latter part of 3rd c).

All the finds, with the exception of metal work, must be cleaned, dried, and bagged with a careful record of where they were found.

Salisbury Museum Member, Ann Livingstone labeling finds with Denise Wilding, post excavation leader and small finds expert in attendance
Salisbury Museum Volunteer and Archaeology student Alyson Tanner (foreground) begins to make sense of it all
Careful drawings must be made of all features, labeled in the same way as the finds, so that dating is as precise as possible, and so that interpretation of the site is accurate. Sophie Hawke, Finds Liaison Office, completes diagrams of her trench
A pristine trench – all done, ready for closing up

We are very fortunate to work alongside the residents of the Deverills, always enjoy their company, and were treated to an almost endless supply of delicious cakes, brownies and biscuits while there. The setting was beautiful. What more could we ask, except perhaps, better weather…..?