Second season of the Boxford Community dig has started

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

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

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

Cotswold Archaeology and ‘The Secrets of the High Woods’

Cotswold Archaeology is supporting a community excavation in West Sussex. It is part of the South Downs National Park hosted and HLF funded ‘The Secrets of the High Woods’ project. A project design to investigate the numerous earthwork monuments hidden in the woods of the National Park.

Over the next few weeks community archaeologists are investigating the bank of an enigmatic enclosure, know from previous woodland survey work and a LiDAR survey of West Sussex woodland.

It is hoped that a single trench will enable archaeologists not only date the enclosure, but build upon the work of Dave McOmish and Worthing Archaeological Society. They suggest that a large number of important and previously unknown Iron Age and Roman monuments are hidden by the trees of the High Woods, including our enclosure.

Enclosure Bank
Enclosure bank


Research Seminar London and South East October 2013

On 30 October 2013 Cotswold Archaeology attended a research seminar at Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, as part of a major three-year long project examining regional and chronological variation in Roman rural settlement through analysis of farm layouts, domestic architecture and agricultural practice.

The first seminar was held for the East of England in March 2013. This seminar, the third in our series, was for London and the South East. Presentations made by the project team are available to download:

Roman Rural Settlement Project: A brief summary to date (Mike Fulford) Preliminary Results from the South East: Settlement and Landuse (Dr Martyn Allen)
Romano-British rural burial practices in the South-East (Dr Alex Smith) Coins and ‘small finds’ from the south-east of England: preliminary results (Dr Tom Brindle)
What, how and why?: some implications of drowning in data for recording, analysis and reporting of rural excavations (Paul Booth)

Developer-funded Roman Archaeology in England

The second project newsletter for Realising the Research Potential of Developer-funded Roman Archaeology in England is now available. The project has been running for over one year now,
and this newsletter provides you with an update on progress and information on upcoming

Cotswold Archaeology is collaborating on this major three-year long project with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading examining regional and chronological variation in Roman rural settlement through analysis of farm layouts, domestic architecture and agricultural practice. The project will provide a means of measuring the integration of settlements in different parts of England with the Roman provincial economy.

Read the newsletter >>

Find out more about this project >>