The Harpham Villa Landscape Project, 2023 (awarded 2023)

The excavations have confirmed that the features previously identified by geophysical survey represent the remains of a small Romano-Celtic temple. The pottery recovered during the excavations spans the 1st-4th centuries, but narrower dates may be provided by the assemblage from the cella – here the forms and fabrics indicate a range from the mid-2nd to mid-3rd century.

Prior to this work there were no indications that a temple existed at this site. The tithe map field name is the rather uninformative “The Field”, in contrast to those indicative of Romano-British activity close by. Aerial photography and LiDAR reveal nothing, though the 2006 NMP standard aerial survey recorded an area of ridge and furrow and strip field boundaries in this and the adjacent fields (see Somerset HER Record Number 19092). Once work commenced at the site it became apparent, however, that the site of the cella is visible as a low, diffuse mound and that this mound signifies the northern boundary to the (also faintly visible) ridge and furrow, suggesting its visibility at this later (medieval or post-medieval) date.