Work continues at Barcombe where they have now
found a section of tesselated floor in-situ.
During late August the whole of the BHAS Field
Unit joined Chris Butler and his MSFAT team at Barcombe. The
excavation had fallen behind schedule as a result of the bad weather
during the summer. Barcombe is of course a very prestigious and
exciting site, with as expected of such a large villa, many exciting
and interesting finds.Some members of the unit had in fact worked all
through the summer at Barcombe.
All members of BHAS were encouraged to join the
courses and volunteer opportunities at Barcombe to gain experiences
in all aspects of Roman archaeology, including buildings, features
and finds. BHAS will continue to assist MSFAT until the excavation
season ends. Notable among the finds in the past two weeks have been
Samian pottery with the makers stamp and a piece of erotic Samian
ware, probably the subject of next seasons tee-shirts?
Autumn and Winter Programme
In archaeology very little in the way of field
work is sacrosanct. Dates and times and locations vary depending upon
weather, crop removal, ploughing and the disposition of the farmer.
This year the autumn and winter season will concentrate on
geophysics, excavations at Rocky Clump and finds processing. However,
if the opportunity arises for field walking then this will take precedent.
Fields awaiting field walking include two
fields at the top of Ditchling Road, part of the North Brighton
Research Project, and the long field at Ovingdean. Another field at
Ovingdean was until recently under grass, but is now being ploughed.
This field has been the subject of geophysical survey and field
walking in this area should provide vital information on the
archaeology of this area, where a Roman site is known to be located.
Field Notebook 2001
The BHAS Field Unit notebook, a complete list
of all of the teams activities during 2001 has now been printed and
bound. Volumes will be deposited at Barbican House, the County
Records Office, Brighton Museum and other appropriate locations.
Our web site manager will be producing CD-Roms
of the notebook which will be available for a small fee.
BRIGHTON ROMAN VILLA
The Roman villa at Brighton, located at the
bottom of Springfield Road (Dudley), was recently being excavated by
Archaeology South-East. During the month of October 2002 the site of
the old Endeavour Garage was demolished to allow commencement of a
building project consisting of several blocks of apartments. The
buildings are being constructed in two phases and the first section
cleared allowed investigation of an area to the east of the known
The villa is considered to date from the 1st
century A.D. and is known to have possessed black and white geometric
mosaics. During the latter part of the professional excavation, and
after clearance from the building contractor, the members of the
Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society Field Unit were allowed to
join the professional unit in their endeavours. The land and old
garage buildings had been removed down to a level just above the
natural deposits of combe rock. The area produced a number of
features including some walls, a well, pits, post- holes and a single burial.
The walls revealed protruded only a few metres
east of the old garage concrete floors, which still cover the main
villa site. The professional excavations produced a sequence of
events in this area of an early pit being built upon by later walls
and some disturbance occurring as a result of the unstable ground.
The wall features appear to have been investigated before and earlier
excavations by H.S.Toms and a watching brief during the construction
of the Endeavour Garage are deemed responsible for these intrusions.
There was evidence of some wall chasing.
The pits were of considerable size, with
one pear shaped pit almost 1.5 metres in depth. The pits had been
sectioned by the professional team, with the BHAS field unit removing
only some of the remaining quadrants. Cleaning back a large section
of clay with flint, overlying the combe rock, produced a number of
post-holes and a small pit. One large pit on the site was constructed
and then filled with a deposit of grey clay, into this clay deposit
was cut another smaller pit containing a fill consisting of
significant numbers of oyster shells.
The burial was of an adult, among the bones of
the feet were collected a number of hob nails. The burial appears to
be aligned with other burials found during the middle of the last
century when garage work pits were sunk into the floor below.
The most significant feature found by the
professionals, and noted in earlier building works, was a beautifully
constructed chalk block lined well (see
pictures). The well was
excavated to a depth of 1.5M and finds of Roman pottery show that it
was filled in during a later Roman phase. The BHAS Field Unit
examined the well fills and found a coin of Constantius II dated to
347-350AD (pers comm. David Rudling)
The pits produced large quantities of pottery,
bone and shell. The BHAS unit found a bone pin, an additional one to
those found earlier by the professional unit. Other finds by
Archaeology South East included a pair of bronze tweezers, and
decorated samian wares. The pits lie east of the known villa site,
but the peculiar feature of this excavation has been the walls.
The walls are substantial and Roman pottery has
been found beneath the lower layers. However, the orientation of the
protruding walls is on a different alignment to those indicated in
the published report (Dudley). The walls may be of an earlier phase
or as has been suggested by the Director Richard James a possible
mortuary building associated with the burials close by. The final
chronology and development of the villa will not be determined until
the second phase of the excavation is completed. The members of the
BHAS Field unit look forward with eager anticipation to the
commencement of this second phase at Springfield Road.
The BHAS Field Unit would like to thank both
Ian Grieg and Richard James for allowing the members of the Society
to participate in their excavations. A complete report on the
excavations, with the confirmed dating details, will be compiled by
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