Excavations at Marcham/Frilford, Oxon. (awarded 2000-2003)

(Dr Gary Lock)
Excavation of the circular structure in 2002.

Excavation of the circular structure in 2002.

Current excavations are being directed by Gary Lock and Chris Gosden of Oxford University and form a training excavation for undergraduate and Continuing Education students. The site has been well known since the 1930s when excavations discovered a large Romano-British temple and Iron Age settlement. Subsequent work in the 1980÷s added a possible amphitheatre and suggested that the site was an unusual rural religious complex. Previous publications have referred to the site as Frilford.

Partly funded by the Roman Research Trust, the two seasons of current excavation have added much chronological and other detail to both the Iron Age and Romano-British phases of the site. The prehistoric span now goes back to the middle Bronze Age represented by ditches, burials and pottery while the Iron Age settlement continues to produce many pits and structures. The Romano-British activity is still to be resolved but it seems unlikely that the circular structure is in fact an amphitheatre and alternative interpretations are being considered, one possibility being a sacred pool. Between this structure and the temple are a series of large public buildings.

Excavation continues in July 2003. See Current Archaeology Issue 184, February 2003 for recent views and http://athens.arch.ox.ac.uk/~glock/fieldwork/ridgeway/index.htm for interim reports.