Teffont Archaeology Project (awarded 2013)

Interim Report

The Roman Research Trust kindly granted £1250 towards the Teffont Archaeology Project’s 2013 fieldwork. The project has investigated the Roman landscapes of Teffont Evias and Teffont Magna, Wiltshire since 2008, revealing a number of closely linked sites. In 2013 fieldwork focused on characterising two areas of interest. The first, Upper Holt Wood, occupies a sharp greensand ridge in the west of the parish and has long been believed to be the site of a Roman shrine. The second site of interest lies immediately north-east of the wood, and comprises a range of features identified through geophysical survey, including several Roman buildings and a possible cemetery.

Excavations in Upper Holt Wood continued our work from 2012, comprising two evaluation trenches through the shrine enclosure wall, and a small trench across one of the interior buildings. The shrine wall on the enclosure’s northern side partially acts as a retaining wall for the levelled interior enclosure surface, but is also faced in high quality local limestone, providing an impressive white frontage. Human remains were found associated with the enclosure wall during this year’s excavations, RRT funding partly contributed to analysing those individuals. The trench in the interior of the enclosure revealed a complex sequence of rebuilding, with wooden structures replaced by stone buildings, and evidence for high status consumption and ritual behaviour.

2013 also saw the first excavation of the most substantial building to the north-east of the shrine enclosure. This very large building has walls constructed in two courses of large masonry blocks, as well as internal drains and partitions, and may be an elaborate aisled barn. The building is, however, in very close proximity to the cemetery, and there is a complex sequence of activity in this area of the field. It is possible that the building succeeds the cemetery, perhaps denoting a change in activity at the shrine, with which it is surely associated.

The project’s staff, students and volunteers would like to express their warmest gratitude for the RRT’s grant assistance in 2013. Further fieldwork on the shrine itself is planned for 2014. Please contact david.roberts@english-heritage.org.uk for details.

Project students and staff begin to uncover the building outside the shrine enclosure. (Photographer: Malin Holst)
Project students and staff begin to uncover the building outside the shrine enclosure. (Photographer: Malin Holst)