Archaeological evaluation of the Roman ‘villa’ at Hinton St Mary, Dorset (awarded 2020)

Funding from the Roman Research Trust/Roman Society supported a 4-week season of evaluation excavations at Hinton St Mary in Dorset in 2021, to investigate the site of the iconic late-Roman mosaic pavement discovered there in the 1960s. This was a collaborative project involving The British Museum, Barbican Research Associates and Albion Archaeology, and 15 undergraduates archaeologists from Cardiff University joined the team. Six trenches were opened to evaluate the condition and date of the underlying archaeological remains and to provide information in advance of a possible larger-scale research project.

All of the project’s aims and objectives were successfully achieved. The archaeological remains encountered in the trenches show that the previous reconstruction of the plan of the buildings is incorrect and needs to be reconsidered (indeed, it is no longer certain that the mosaic was part of a building we can safely call a ‘villa’).

A formal Assessment Report for the 2021 evaluation season has been completed. Further geophysical surveys are planned at the site as well as follow-up excavations that will hopefully answer some of the many questions that remain about the history of the mosaic, the buildings to which it belonged, and the people who lived with it.