Archaeological excavation of the Roman villa at Hinton St Mary, Dorset (awarded 2022)

Funding from the Roman Research Trust supported a 4-week season of research and training excavation at Hinton St Mary in Dorset in 2022. Three trenches were opened to establish the extent and nature of the underlying archaeological remains at the site, and to begin to answer some of the questions regarding the context of the famous mosaic and the building complex to which it belonged. The project’s aims and objectives were successfully achieved.

For almost 60 years, it has been believed that the mosaic decorated the floor of a room in the centre of a large ‘villa’ building, consisting of an imposing main range (the domestic quarters), and 2 ‘wings’ enclosing a large courtyard. It is now clear, however, that the room with the famous mosaic was not in the centre of a long building, nor is there any evidence for 2 wings. Instead, a long rectangular building was erected c. 8m from the mosaic room, consisting of a simple range of rooms, the northernmost of which was provided with a mosaic floor, and a corridor or portico facing onto a large open yard-like area. These buildings are of very great importance for the study of the earliest Christian communities in Roman Britain.

This was a collaborative project involving The British Museum, Vianova Archaeology & Heritage Services and Albion Archaeology, and we were pleased to welcome 9 undergraduates archaeologists from Cardiff University and 11 volunteers to the team, as well as 33 children from a local school in Sturminster Newton.

An Interim Report for the 2022 excavation season has been completed. More information about the current work at Hinton St Mary, including the mosaic, can be found on the project’s website at