Our thanks to everyone reading about the Big Dig. The number of visitors to our website has gone up tenfold over the last 3 days. This evening we finished the first half of our village Big Dig project in Stroud. What have we achieved so far? 1. We have completed geophysics surveys in the School's playing field and in three gardens. The survey at the School appears to support our belief, which was based on 'parch marks' in the grass and on some parallel lines on the LIDAR (laser radar) and on drone aerial photos, that there was a feature running north-west towards the gate of the Roman villa. The geophys also helped us to decide where best to dig test pits in some of the gardens. This "height map" produced by my drone shows the height of the ground in different shades and can detect height differences as small as 2cm. The rectangular outline of the villa is just visible in the pale blue area at the top, whilst in the paddock to the south-west of it you can hopefully see the diagonal lines I refer to. A trackway?
2. I believe we have started 8 test pits over three days, of which three are as yet unfinished. These have yielded a variety of results ranging from relatively modern items from the 1940s and 1950s, right back through Victorian times to an increasing number of finds from the Roman era or possibly even earlier. For example, at one extreme we unearthed today a flattened pile of corrugated iron with which were found two bottles - a Tizer bottle and a beer bottle. I cannot find any record on the Internet of the maker's marks on the beer bottle but have been able to date the Tizer bottle to February 1952 from the number on its base. At the other extreme we have found in another garden some Roman floor tile and roof tiles (called imbrices and tegulae), some Roman pottery from the Alice Holt and other kilns, and some interesting flint flakes. We have not had a chance to photograph the Roman finds yet - one of my jobs for tomorrow.
3. Our dig appears to be attracting new members to Liss Archaeology - one of whom travelled from Gosport to Petersfield station today then walked all the way to Stroud! Nice to meet you David! 4. The residents we have met have been amazing and truly hospitable. We must be doing something right because over the last 24 hours we have had three more people contact us, to ask if we can include their gardens in our continued dig starting again next Friday - the National Day of Archaeology. This blog would not be the same without a daily chicken photo, so here is one of our chairman with one of his devoted followers:
Until next weekend, our thanks to Juliet, the supervisors and all the volunteers who have tackled this Dig so enthusiastically so far. Finally for now, a video clip I took in May: