Archive for September, 2009


I am fortunate to know a member of the Worthing Archaeological Society, and on Sunday I visited him and the WAS team at work in a field close to Walburton, West Sussex.

In the past two or three years the team have their annual two week ‘Dig’ to investigate a Roman Villa which was discovered back in 1972 when the country was suffering from a drought and reservoirs were at their lowest for decades. An aerial photograph of the parched area showed up the interesting outline of what seemed to be a structure of some kind.

The local farmer was very interested in the project and with his permission, and at the appropriate time between growing crops the site was opened up. About 8 inches below the ploughed surface flint walls were discovered and Roman roof tiles found. Many artifacts were discovered including pottery of various descriptions, ranging from everyday Coarse ware to fine terracotta coloured Samian ware. A copper alloy bracelet, bone pin and ring fragment have been found in previous years.

The villa did not have highly decorative floors; but never the less, with it’s verandah running the length of what was possibly a two story building it would have been a grand residence compared to the round houses of the native population. Much of the Roman structure has been robbed away and is believed to have been incorporated in the original structure of the local church.


Possible bath house



Careful excavation of a pot

Each year the excavation site is recovered and sown with a crop until the following year, when once again another section of the site is excavated. On our tour we were shown the area which is believed to have been a bathhouse, the walls of several rooms and a ditch which seems to have been where the rubbish was deposited. This is where many of the pottery shards, a chicken skeleton and Oyster shells were found.

The highlight of the dig this season was the rather sad discovery of a tiny baby or fetal skeleton, this is not uncommon on such sites, another was found on the Bignor Villa site a few miles East.

‘The Dig’ was open to the public for the weekend and many visitors toured the small site. It was an enjoyable and interesting trip.

You can watch video’s of Field Unit Director Keith Bolton touring the site, taken in 2008.




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