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  • David Quick

Stroud 'Big Dig' - the final day (for this year)

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Phew! Arrived home at 7pm after helping to return all our equipment to the store in Liss, threw all my sweaty clothes in the washing machine, showered and at last have a chance to sit and reflect on a great final day of the Stroud village 'Big Dig'.

It certainly was a good day and not just in terms of the lovely weather again. For me just a few of the highlights were:

  • Carl has produced some lovely geophysics results, including last night at the Stroud Revels where he found an unknown wall under the field in which the revels were held, and at the Pest House where he was able to clearly show how far the brickworks' claypit extended into Judith's land.

  • The dig teams completed another five test pits, two of which were new today.

  • In Kat's garden we found what looked like a late 19th / early 20th century rubbish pit with lots of household items, some of which are shown here:

The objects in the two images on the left are the remains of an old paraffin lamp. The jar at top-right is a Brylcreem jar. The pipe bowl has the picture of a buffalo's head with the initials RAOB - Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.

Lyn's team continued to strike lucky, and among their finds is this item that they think might be an antifix (a tile at the edge of a roof to stop birds and mice from getting under the curved imbrex tiles) with a maker's mark in the form of a cross:​

My highlight of the day though, in Sal's garden, was when the self-supervised team decided to slightly extend their final test pit. First they came across lots of Roman tile, some of which are very special because of the patterns on them:

  • Secondly, and just as we were finishing, they found a group of stones that surely cannot have arrived like this naturally. Perhaps part of another as yet undiscovered Romano-British building north of the villa? Maybe we might find out more next year.

To close off this section of our blog on the Stroud 'Big Dig', it now seems clear that there is plenty more still to explore. We have more volunteer residents wanting test pits and we have permission to do geophys surveys and field-walking on farmland where we have strong grounds for suspecting other Roman buildings. Fingers crossed, we therefore hope to see a 'Return to Stroud - Big Dig 2' next summer. We may even plan a bit of field-walking before then if time, weather and the crops allow.

Finally a very sincere 'thank you' to everyone involved in this dig - to all the Stroud residents who looked after us, to all the volunteers, and especially to Juliet and our team supervisors.

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