Roman Studies Group

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.

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. An interim report will be published in the Bulletin and Emma Corke will be talking about the project at the February 2016 Research Symposium.

Excavation at Abinger Roman villa June-July 2016

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The Roman Studies Group is organising another season of excavation at Abinger Roman villa. Work will concentrate in the field adjacent to the villa which has revealed evidence for extensive Iron Age activity.  

Dates will be as follows:13-15th June, 18-22nd June, 25-29th June, 4-6th July, 9-12th July. Priority will be given to SyAS members but non-members are welcome.

Talk by Dr. Sam Moorhead: ‘’Roman Coin Finds in Surrey and the South-East: the contribution of the Portable Antiquities Scheme’

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Dr. Sam Moorhead taught Classics and Archaeology for many years before joining the British Museum in 1997 as Staff Lecturer for Archaeology. He is finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins and oversees the recording and researching of Iron Age and Roman coins on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. Amongst his publications is A History of Roman coinage in Britain: Illustrated by finds recorded with the Portable antiquities Scheme published 2013 which is available in the SyAS library.

Overview of the Church Meadow Project (Ewell) 2012-14

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The Church Meadow Project is an independent project which is supported by Surrey Archaeological Society. Three seasons of excavation took place between 2012 and 2014 in an area towards the north-east extent of the Roman settlement in Ewell. Many RSG members took part in the excavations and this is an opportunity to discuss what was found and hear how the excavation relates to others in the vicinity.

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