Roman Studies Group

Ashtead Roman Villa Project 2006-2013

Ashtead Roman villa was first discovered in the 1920s and excavated by A. W. G. Lowther and A. R. Cotton, when extensive evidence for a tilery was also noted. Further work was carried out in the 1960s by John Hampton who carried out a site survey; the site had much less vegetation cover than is now the case. Both Lowther’s published reports and Hampton's survey left many unanswered questions aand so a new research programme was initiated in 2006, directed by Dr. David Bird.

Excavations at Cocks Farm Abinger 2015

A month of excavation took place in June 2015 in the field outside the scheduled villa area. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on the sandy subsoil to uncover evidence for probably two consecutive later Iron Age enclosures on the hilltop, each with large, deep flat-bottomed storage pits surely intended for grain. A number of late Iron Age and Roman ditches were also uncovered and  these and the pits validated the findings of the magnetometry surveys undertaken in the field over the last few years.

Excavation at Cocks Farm, Abinger 2016

An 8th season of excavation in the current project took place in the field adjacent to the known Roman villa. Two trenches were sited to both pick up and clarify features found in 2015 and to explore magnetic anomalies to the NE of the 2015 trench. The smaller of the trenches to the west of the main trench uncovered just the base of the IA enclosure ditch and the lower 60cm of a storage pit, confirming the loss of archaeological features to erosion on the western slope of the field.

Excavations at Cocks Farm Roman villa, Abinger (2009- present) - interim reports

Between 1995 and 1997 Surrey Archaeological Society carried out excavations under the direction of Steve Dyer to investigate archaeological evidence revealed when a tree blew over at Cocks Farm, Abinger. The presence of a  villa had been known since the 1870s when Roman walls were found during the expansion of a kitchen garden . When well-preserved remains of an east-west range of a Roman building were discovered, the fieldwork was targeted to provide information for the future management of the site and to indicate a suitable area for scheduling as an ancient monument.

Excavating Postholes at Cocks Farm Abinger - how to identify, excavate and record.

After the large number of postholes found at Cocks Farm Abinger Emma Corke, the site director, has produced two posters to highlight the various features of a posthole, how to recognise one, how to excavate it and how to record it. These posters were displayed at the Society symposium in March 2023. Open the page and click on the poster PDF to view.

Visit to Roman villa near Basingstoke, North-East Hampshire


Following our visit last year we will be making a return at the end of this season's excavation, when the site director will give us a tour around the site. There will be an option to have tea at the cafe after the visit. 

Although there is no cost for the trip, a donation towards the project would be welcome. One will be expected to make one's own way to the site, and booking is essential. Please contact if you would like to attend.


Walking tour of Roman Chichester - NOTE CHANGE OF DATE


David Rudling has kindly offered to take us on a walking tour around Roman Chichester. This will include the city wall, Novium Museum and bath house, the mosaic in the cathedral and the ampitheatre. A lunchtime venue will be arranged.

The cost of the tour is £5.

If you are interested in joining us please e-mail

Excavations at Cocks Farm Abinger 2023


The latest season of excavations in the field adjacent to Cocks Farm Roman villa will take place 17th June - 23rd July 2023. The plan is to further explore magnetometry features in the field adjacent to the Roman villa, adding to our knowledge of human activity on the hill from prehistory onwards.

Dates are as follows: 17-20th, 22-26th June, 29th June - 3rd July, 6-8th, 13 - 17, 20-23rd July.  

If you are interested in taking part please contact us via

Zoom talk on 2022 excavations at Cocks Farm Abinger by Emma Corke


Emma Corke, director of excavations at Cocks Farm Abinger, will update us on progress made during the 2022 summer excavation in the field adjacent to the villa. Whilst the villa was first identified in 1877 and further excavations by SyAS took place 1995-7 the most recent series of excavation commenced in 2009. Use of magnetometry has enabled the targeting of features which reflect the agricultural land usage relating to both the villa and earlier settlement.


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