Roman Studies Group

Talk by Emma Corke: excavation at Cocks Farm Abinger 2016

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Emma Corke, site director of the field excavations at Cocks Farm, Abinger will be talking to us about the latest season of excavation . Magnetometry carried out by the Roman Studies Group showed a mass of features on the hill above the Roman villa site, and excavation has revealed both prehistoric and Roman activity.

Talk by Alexis Haslam: The inside story on running a commercial Roman archaeological site

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Alexis Haslam is a Senior Archaeologist with Pre-Construct Archaeology and has extensive experience of running commercial archaeological sites in London and the South-East. In 2015 he led the investigations on the animal husbandry site at NESCOT in Ewell, which revealed a landscape of Roman chalk quarrying with extensive ritual deposition. Alexis will be taking us behind the scenes of Roman-period commercial excavations in the Historic County of Surrey, including those in Borough High Street in Southwark.

Talk by David Staveley: Finding Roman roads

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David Staveley is well known to many of us in RSG. He is a computer programmer by day and in his spare time is an archaeological geophysicist studying Roman roads and roadside settlements in Sussex. David has carried out ground penetrating radar at Flexford and has used GPR to identify Stane Street beneath Church Street in Ewell (in conjunction with the Church Meadow Project). He is also the author of Snuffler, freeware geophysics software for earth resistance and magnetometry.

Roman Studies AGM and talk by Ian Betts: Roman wall plaster from London

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This meeting starts our winter series of lectures which run from October 2016 to March 2017. The dates for these lectures are as follows: 11th October, 8th November, 6th December, 3rd January, 7th February and 7th March.

Please note that the October and November meetings are taking place on the 2nd Tuesday of the month rather than the usual 1st Tuesday.

Excavations at Ashtead Roman Villa and Tileworks 2013

The final main season of excavation on Ashtead Common was undertaken by the Society’s Roman Studies Group in August and September this year. The ground was very dry at first at the end of the long dry spell, making excavation difficult, but it did allow work in places that would usually have been under water (and indeed were at the end of the dig). The excavation was aimed principally at completing work on the area of the newly discovered building, the Lowther villa and the tile kiln(s). A number of other trenches were placed to follow up the results of earlier test pitting and to gather tile samples across a wider area for future scientific testing. It proved to be a very successful season, producing a great deal of new information and tidying up many loose ends.

Excavations at Cocks Farm Abinger 2014

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who helped to make the latest season at Abinger such a success. It may seem odd to say that in view of our failure to finish the trench, but this was a result of finding that there was more surviving archaeology than anticipated. Much of this must be down to your hard work in tackling the difficulties of finding archaeological features in sand. As a result we have a much better understanding of the site and how to approach it in future. We can now say with certainty that there is a pre-Roman site on the hilltop but also that activity continued in some form into the Roman period. Given the proximity of the villa site there can be little doubt that we are looking at continuity of occupation from the Late Iron Age, and at some point yet to be determined a shift of the central focus from the hilltop to the lower site. Expert analysis of the pottery will be required to give us the likely dates, and may indicate activity on the hilltop earlier than Late Iron Age. We certainly have Mesolithic and probably Neolithic worked flints, so the ground stone axe may indicate occupation at that date rather than an item reused in the later periods. If so, it is worth noting that it would have been a prestige item.

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