The Origins of the Landscape Project 2009: Resistivity Survey of the Villa

The current project began when James was a post-doctoral resesearcher at Cambridge University. He was (and remains) interested in the end of the Roman Empire and the late Roman villa on the outskirts of his home town seemed an exciting site to study.

Since Leonard Hayward’s excavations no archaeological work had been carried out on the villa. For a long time the villa was being regularly ploughed and we were unsure what impact this was having on the buried remains. It was also unclear whether Leonard Hayward had uncovered the whole of the building, or just one wing of a grander structure (like the villa excavated not far away at Dinnington by Winchester University).

In 2009 James received permission from English Heritage and the landowners to geophysically survey the villa site. This survey was carried out in March with the assistance of Liz Caldwell and Nigel Harvey of GeoFlo and volunteers from the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group and the Yeovil Archaeological and Local History Society.


Resistivity survey of the Roman villa at Lufton (Caldwell 2009, Figs 6 & 7) © GeoFlo and the Lufton Project
The resistivity survey (which is good at detecting differences between dry features such as stone walls and damp features like ditches) showed that the villa building did survive. It also demonstrated that the range of rooms excavated by Hayward was not part of a grander structure.
Further Reading:
Caldwell, E. 2009 Lufton Villa, Yeovil, Somerset: Geophysical Survey, March 2009. Taunton, Unpublished SSARG Report GS1003

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