At long last, here it is! 40,000 words of post-excavation assessment (PXA) on the villa excavations in 2016 and 2017. A PXA is an important technical document that outlines and assesses the discoveries we made during the excavation. It’s not a thrilling read, but it does lay out all of the evidence that we found. From this document we will write our final publication text that will draw all of our discoveries in the Lufton area together.
All over the country archaeologists are digging and engaged in fieldwork. The sun is shining but the pandemic is still with us. James is looking out of his window wistfully, wishing he could be back in the field in Somerset excavating. It’s not going to happen this year, but who knows what the future may hold?
The post-excavation assessment is almost finished. Just one final drawing.
The blog has been quiet of late but work is carrying on behind the scenes. The last year or so and the pandemic has been difficult for everyone. It’s slowed archaeological research down. James did manage to give a paper on Lufton to Exeter University last year. It was, of course, a virtual paper given on MS Teams but it was well attended and a few locals from the Yeovil area even managed to join in, which was lovely to see.
James and Andy have also been working (dare they say it) on finalising the long over-due post-excavation assessment report. Both feel disappointed that the report hasn’t been completed yet but would beg our reader’s patience. It has been delayed by very challenging circumstances that have been beyond the control of both of us. We have been cracking on since the start of the year and we’re starting to see the fruits of our endeavours!
The section drawing above shows the limit of excavation in the southern extension of LUF17 Trench B. What is shows is the mosaic (1009) surrounding the plunge bath, Hayward’s trench investigating the robbed out wall of the bath house (1018) and layers of demolition collapse rubble (1003), (1005), (1010). It’s producing and interpreting this kind of evidence that makes archaeology such a complicated process.
Progress has been slow but the drawings of the excavation for the post-ex assessment are coming together. Here you can see the walls we uncovered in Trenches A and B. The large Trench A encompasses the middle of the building. The new room formed by (110) and robbed walls (212) and (134/119) is clearly visible. Part of the bath house is exposed in Trench B.
These walls were drawn stone by stone by Newcastle University students. The exact positions of the walls were also plotted using GPS. They’re much wonkier than Hayward’s drawing would have us believe.
It’s been a long while since we’ve posted anything. This year James took some students digging in Yorkshire as he’s still busy working on writing up the Lufton excavations. The post-excavation assessment for the villa is more or less complete. The main outstanding task is the drawings, which due to unforeseen circumstances are taking longer than anticipated.
We hope that GeoFlo may undertake some geophysics for us in the near future. With luck this will shed more light on the ancient landscape around the Lufton villa.
We haven’t been posting much recently. This is mainly because we are in the final stages or preparing the post-excavation assessment. Most of it is written but some unavoidable delays have slowed the production of the plans. We hope the report will be finished this year!
In other news Patricia Witts who visited the excavations in 2017 has just had her paper ‘A new angle on the Lufton mosaics’ published in Mosaic: the journal of ASPROM. It’s a fascinating study of the pavements from Lufton and includes her up-to-date discussion of the fish mosaic around the bath.
We hope that this year will see some more geophysics undertaken in the fields around Lufton by our friends over in SSARG. We’ve a few interesting locations to work on and if this work goes ahead we’ll try and keep you posted.
The blog has been quiet for while. Fear not, work has been progressing on the post-excavation analysis of the finds. The soil samples from 2017 have all been sieved and the various tiny residues have been sent off to specialists for analysis.
Perhaps the most interesting discovery made in the sieving of the soil samples are a few tiny glass beads. These are lovely little objects that would have been worn as part of a necklace by a late Roman Lady.
James is currently on research leave, so is planning to crack on with writing the post-excavation assessments. He and Andy have a meeting on Monday to discuss the phasing and plans of the site.
Well, we spent the day doing the last bits of recording. This included a few final sections drawings, taking a couple of kubiena samples for soil micormorphology and undertaking a 3D scan of the remains with our Faro 3D scanner.
After lunch we backfilled the trench with the help of Colin and his big machine and spread enough grass seed to reseed our trench several times over.
The rest of the day has involved packing up camp, loading the van for journey north and also washing the van….
It’s been great. A real rollercoaster of an excavation compressed into a fortnight’s hard work. We cam, we dug, we filled it in and along the way found some fish, rubble and pottery. What’s not to love?
We hope you’ve enjoyed following the blog. Please keep checking in with us as the post-excavation work will begin in earnest and new discoveries will be made in the coming months.