Cotswold Archaeology at Stroud’s Museum in the Park

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Cotswold Archaeology has just completed a scoping  and rationalisation study of the archaeology collection at The Museum in Park, Stroud. Hazel O’Neill (our Post-Excavation Supervisor at Kemble) and her team of volunteers audited and volunteers-exploring-stroud-museumphotographed almost 1000 boxes of finds and documentary archives, to allow the museum to better understand what they’re holding and how to store it safely.  Some of the sites dated back to the 1970s and featured some inventive on-site packaging!

While this project was running, other loyal CA volunteers have been continuing with their sterling efforts back at Kemble, in particular working on large amounts of finds recovered from excavations in the centre of Gloucester, and preparing these artefacts for deposition with the Museum of Gloucester.

sue-exploring-stroud-museumTo thank our amazing volunteers for their enduring hard work and support over the past year, on 7 February we had a behind-the-scenes tour of the stores of the Museum in the Park. Kindly led by Documentation & Collections Officer, Alexia Clark, the volunteers were treated to many sights, including the beautiful 18th-century book  ‘An Account of the Remains of a Roman Villa Discovered at Woodchester’ by Samuel Lysons, and the extremely rare bones of the dinosaur Megalosaurus Bucklandii. They also saw the patent for the world’s first lawnmower, and a desiccated cat that had been placed behind a chimney breast in a local mill to ward off evil spirits. It seemed to have worked, as the visit was followed up with tea and cake in the museum.

Hazel O’Neill


Today sees the launch of the second CA Christmas Calendar Competition!

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Followers of our Facebook page will be treated to a daily photo and associated question, with those accumulating the most correct answers at the end of the 24 days going forward to a prize draw. The first out of the hat will then win a stunning one-off Hnefatafl set (similar to the below), hand crafted by Jack Windsor of Ignited Arts & Design, Maryland, USA. The board will be decorated using pyrographic techniques which, for authenticity, will be based on the Viking Jellinge phase. Jack is also designing us a one of a kind ‘King pawn’, the central playing piece in the game. Two runners up will also receive a Hnefatafl set, the purchase of which has supported the work of National Museums Scotland.

To be in with a chance, head over and like our Facebook page, then get your thinking caps on!

Ca advent calendar competitionhnefatafl-board

Skills for Stroud award

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Cotswold Archaeology have just been awarded Full Recognition in the Skills for Stroud Work Experience and Employability Charter. This is a scheme designed to recognize and promote the career preparation and development of young people within the Stroud District area. Full Recognition was awarded to CA following a very detailed review of our current practices regarding work experience, volunteer placements, staff training and continuing professional development. The reviewers described CAs work experience programme as ‘broad, dynamic and of outstanding quality’, which is a great reflection on the many CA staff providing support to our work experience students.  Full details of the Charter scheme can be found on the Skills for Stroud website .


Second season of the Boxford Community dig has started

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The second season of investigations by the Boxford History Project have commenced. This project is being undertaken by a partnership of the Boxford History Project, the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group and Cotswold Archaeology with generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Following last year’s successful dig on the site of a major Roman villa this year teams of volunteers will be investigating a second Romano-British Site just outside the village of Boxford in the Kennet Valley, with Cotswold Archaeology Staff providing supervision and, importantly, training, to allow the volunteers to gain valuable skills.

The early results are looking very promising with evidence of structures being revealed ion the main trenches.

An open day is planned for Sunday 4 September 2016. Updates can be seen on the Boxford History Project Blog  and see the Cotswold Archaeology twitter feed (@CotswoldArch) for more updates as works progress.


Ipplepen training dig

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Ipplepen, in Devon, is situated approximately 20 miles south-west of Exeter. Since 2011, the site has been run by the University of Exeter as their annual training dig; as well as students, the digging team is also made up of community volunteers. This year, CA has two team members from the Exeter Office on site as supervisors, and it is anticipated that this will become a regular arrangement. This year’s fieldwork season will run throughout June, with an open-day scheduled at the end of the month.

The site was discovered by metal detectorists, who reported their finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. It is a multi-period site with, for the region, an unusually large amount of artefactual material – particularly coins. Previous fieldwork seasons have recorded a possible Middle Iron Age roundhouse, a Roman settlement (with associated road and field system) and an early medieval cemetery (which may have late Roman origins).

More details can be found on the University of Exeter website.



Photographs: © University of Exeter Archaeology Department

Oceans Past and Present

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Sally-webSally Evans – Marine Heritage Consultant, Cotswold Archaeology and PhD student in marine resource use focused on cetacean exploitation (whales dolphins and porpoises)

I work as a Marine Heritage Consultant for Cotswold Archaeology. In this role I carry out research into marine and coastal heritage and provide advice on guidance, policy and legislation to enable understanding and effective management of heritage in the marine and coastal zones. I am also undertaking a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cardiff, specialising in past interactions with the sea focusing on marine resource use, and in particular cetacean exploitation. This research has direct implications for the conservation and management of cetacea in today’s oceans. An overarching strand of my work and research is the role of archaeology in the present and the interaction between marine and coastal archaeology and current conservation and management, of both cetacea and heritage.

I have just returned from the European Cetacean Conference, held this year in Funchal, Madeira, where I presented papers at the Changing values, uses and practices regarding marine mammals: from the Iron Age to early modern and contemporary times workshop, as part of the Oceans Past Platform, with funding from the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (E-COST). The Oceans Past Platform aims to integrate archaeological and historic evidence for marine exploitation into current strategies for marine and coastal management . Together with cetacean expert Dr Jacqui Mulville, I presented papers focusing on the use of zooarchaeological data in the modern whaling debate, and also presented the results of our pilot study using proteomics (the study of proteins)  to analyse cetacean exploitation in the Iron Age and Norse period, on the Scottish Hebridean site of Bornais. The latter built on work we have carried out into cetacean identification in archaeological contexts (Evans et al. 2015).  We will continue this research in 2016 with a grant we have just received from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Cetacean VertebraeSome of the challenges to understanding cetacean exploitation in the past stem from the difficulties identifying the remains of cetacea encountered on archaeological sites to species level. This hampers our ability as archaeologists to contribute to discussions on past cetacean exploitation, including when active whaling began, and thus when populations began to be altered by human intervention, with implications for marine management today. To continue our work the European Co-operation in Science and Technology  granted Jacqui and I further funding to visit the University Museum of Bergen, to collaborate with marine zoologists in the formation of reference material for archaeological cetacean bone. This reference material is necessary to allow us to accurately interpret archaeological remains in order to build up a picture of the complexities of marine exploitation in the past and make important contributions to marine management and conservation in the present.

Now back in the UK I am continuing work researching and advising on marine and coastal heritage. At present our marine department at Cotswold Archaeology are working on a wide variety of projects, including desk-based research, diver surveys, geophysical surveys and formulation of mitigation strategies for a host of different organisations. We are currently conducting research into the archaeological remains of the Severn Estuary for Tidal Lagoon Cardiff, while also conducting work on behalf of Historic England, focusing on a series of significant wreck sites in English waters. We are also carrying out work for offshore wind energy clients, and for international interconnector schemes.

To find out more about our work, and the services we offer, please contact Sally Evans at