The Summer of 2018?

A few people have got in touch with James asking whether we’ll be back digging this Summer. It’s great everyone’s so interested and keen on the project!

As we’ve been digging a Scheduled Ancient Monument for two years it seemed appropriate to take a break and analyse all of the finds we’ve made. At the moment we’re busy writing the post-excavation assessment, which is nearly complete.

We hope that we will be able to return to Lufton in the future. As ever, funding is the biggest issue. Watch this space…


A guest post from Naomi

Third year student Naomi has been busy sorting our soil samples as part of a Careers Service work experience bursary. She’s kindly written a few words on the work she’s been doing and we hope to post a few pictures in the coming days too!

‘Over the last few weeks the soil samples have almost all been sorted and, although a slow process, are turning up large quantities of interesting finds. In particular two small glass beads from the 4th-5th century which were found in the soil sample from the context over the tessellated pavement. Another small glass bead also turned up in the last sample sieved. There has also been large quantities of CBM, ceramics, including Black-burnished ware, shell and bone. The bones range from chicken neck bones and fish bones to rodent bones. The sieving has also brought up a number of iron objects, mostly nails, as well as a number of the samples including eggshell. The samples should all be done in the next week or so and will hopefully include even more interesting finds that will add to the understanding of the site.’  Naomi, BA Archaeology Stage 3




Roman Seminar

We haven’t posted for a while, but things are busy in Newcastle.

Top of our to do list is what we’re going to dig next year. Substantial funds are needed to continue our excavation of Trench A and at the moment it looks like these won’t be forthcoming… anyone willing to contribute to the project is, of course, more than welcome to get in touch with Dr James Gerrard). We might run a small excavation next year and build up to returning to Trench A in 2018…

We’re also busy thinking about the building and getting the post-ex underway. Progress is slow but steady. More on this to follow!

If any of our readers  are in Newcastle on Teusday (6th Dec) James and Andy will be talking about the project in the Armstrong Building at 6pm.




Back in Newcastle

James is writing this from the comfort of his home on a rather damp bank holiday Sunday.

The hard work of the excavation ended on Friday when James and Elliot watched the machine backfill the trench and reseeded the area. With the students ferried back to the train station the supervisors and directors retired to the Masons Arms for a fine evening meal. On Saturday they left Somerset early and heading up the motorway at light speed (also known as 62mph) we made it back to Newcastle (dropping Hayley at Wetherby Services  on the way) in record time.

A hideous couple of hours followed and James, Andy and Elliot struggled to get all the finds and equipment properly stored at the University. By 7pm we were all home, back amidst our respective families and coming to grips with such innovations as walls and meals that involve rice.


It’s been our most successful season. We’ve achieved more than we imagined we could and revolutionized our understanding of the Lufton Roman villa. The long process of post-excavation analysis follows, so make sure you stay tuned to the blog for updates.

We’d like to thank the excavation team for all their hardwork in sometimes difficult and trying conditions. We’d also like to thank the local community for their interest, patience and generosity.

Particular thanks go to: Maggie and Colin Baker (our hosts), James and Carol Pullen (landowners), Liz Glaisher and Peter Seib (Brympton), Ski, SSARG, Historic England, YALHS, Roman Research Trust and the Somerset Archaeological Society. Ian Hodder, our digger driver from G. Crook, made the work possible, as did YHC and Wessex Water. We have undoubtedly missed someone off this list. If it’s you, then please accept our thanks and know that the omission is through forgetfulness rather than carelessness.

We do hope to return next year. Such a return largely depends on whether significant funding can be raised. Excavation is an expensive business and to run another season will cost somewhere in the region of £35K. If you, or your business / organisation are interested in supporting the project next year then please contact James G.

To end with a score card of the excavations:

Extra building phases found: 3

Roman coins  discovered by metal detector: 45

Roman coins discovered by eye: 5

Tessellated pavements found: 1

Roman hairpins: 1

Complete pots: 1

Visitors to site: 500+

TV appearances: 2

National Newspaper articles: 3

Rubbers / pencil erasers lost: 60

Custard creams consumed by Andy: 134,567

Trips to Asda: 34500

Meals ruined by Jeff: 1

Dig trousers worn by James G: 1

Trowels lost: 3

Pairs of steel toecapped boots ruined: 3

Times the hire company emptied the Portaloo: 2

Archaeology on tap

Today the whole team were on site working hard while James and Andy were providing guided tours of the site for our open day.

The whole team would like to thank everyone who visited for their generosity and interest. We all really enjoyed talking to you all and estimate that around 400 people came down to see us!

We’ve had fish and chips and now we’re off to see James G give his talk at Abbey Manor Community Centre.

The team are looking forward to a lie in tomorrow before going on to the last week of excavation!

The Open Day’s this Saturday!

The Open Day is this SATURDAY (20th August). We’ll be happy to show you the excavations – please note that tours will be on the hour from 10am to 4pm.

In the evening there will be a talk given by James G at Abbey Manor Community Centre in Yeovil, starting at 7.30pm (although you might want to get there a little early).

For more details have a look at this Brympton Parish Council’s website, which carries full details of the event.

Beyond the Villa: 5000 years of human activity at Lufton, Somerset



 The Archaeology Committee of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society 




 Dr James Gerrard

Saturday 28th March 2015

10am – 4pm

Westland Conference & Leisure Complex, Yeovil


 The morning will feature a panel of speakers on recent archaeological discoveries in and around Yeovil, including: 

The Bunford Hollow excavation

The archaeology & history of the Westlands site

Archaeological recording at St John’s Church

After lunch our keynote speaker, Dr James Gerrard will talk about new archaeological discoveries in the Lufton Villa Landscape over the past five years.

 Admission: £12.00

 Tickets available on the door.

To book in advance visit the SANHS Online Shop at

email:  or  Tel: 01823 272429.

 Ploughmans lunch available for £5.50 with advance booking only.



Farewell Yeovil, Farewell Elvis!

We’ve all safely dispersed back to our homes, families and loved ones. It was an exhausting drive in the wet conditions but we made it back to Newcastle, negotiated University security and dropped the kit and finds off.

Last night we were treated to Barry Paull’s impersonation of Elvis at the Quicksilver Mail in Yeovil. It was an excellent night, complete with dancing, raffle winning and the odd conversation about helicopters. The event was in aid of the south-east Somerset branch of the RSPCA and especially the welfare of neglected horses.

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and can spare a few pounds please consider making a donation to the RSPCA – they do incredible work.


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