Is Dings Crusaders Roman villa the best Rescue Project of the Year ?

Who would have thought the Dings Crusaders Rugby Football Club ground was the location of an impressive Roman villa?  This previously unknown Roman villa was revealed by CA during works funded by Redrow Homes before the site was redeveloped for housing.  

In December 2022, Current Archaeology featured the results of our work at these disused rugby pitches in Stoke Gifford, just north of Bristol, and now that work has been nominated as Rescue Project of the Year in the 2024 Current Archaeology Awards!

Archaeologists excavating the Roman Villa at Dings Crusaders
Archaeologists excavating the Roman Villa at Dings Crusaders

The rescue excavation revealed a fascinating insight into the development of the site spanning the entire Roman period.  Starting with a simple enclosed farmstead in the 1st century AD, this building was replaced by a ‘row’ or ‘cottage’ type stone building in the 3rd century AD. It was transformed in the 4th century AD into a substantial and affluent villa with the addition of new building wings, underfloor heating and a bath suite.  

Artist’s impression of the settlement at Dings during the late 4th century AD
Artist’s impression of the settlement at Dings during the late 4th century AD (Mark Gridley)

Not only were we able to trace the development of this site throughout the Roman period but the finds and environmental evidence recovered provided an fascinating insight into the range of industrial activities such as textile working and smithing that took place here.  Objects such as dress accessories, a lion-headed furniture mount and a rare copper alloy figurative lamp evidence the villa’s widespread connections with the Roman Empire, reaching at least as far as the Mediterranean.  

The project revealed much about Roman life in the Bristol region and if, like us, you think this rescue project is a winner, register your vote with Current Archaeology now…     

 

If you’re really interested in the project, our monograph of the site and its post-excavation analysis is now available to purchase from Pen & Sword Publishing.

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