Thirty-One Days of the Time Team continues but it is winding down for the end of the month! I am absolutely delighted to share another new episode of the new Time Team.
For dig number two the new Time Team finds themselves in Oxfordshire and the Broughton Castle Estate. The Time Team is going to excavate a Roman villa that may be the size of Buckingham Palace. In the 1960s, a Romano-British Lady was found buried in a lead line coffin on the site. Was this turnip field the site of a huge Roman villa? What will the Time Team find out about the sit? What will this villa tell us about Roman Britain?
Boughton Castle is at the center of a network of Roman roads. There was an extensive Roman settlement nearby as well. The Time Team is using one of those roads to excavate and survey the site. From the air, there is clear that there is something under the ground. There are walls and a courtyard shape in the field. Geophysics gets to work on the site and the results are good. Gus goes over the results with John Gater, Helen, and Neil Holbrook. They talk about where to put the trench as well as the potential of a bathhouse on the site.
However, the layout of the bathhouse is confusing because water does not flow uphill. Why would the Romans build a bathhouse uphill when water flows downhill? Trench one goes in over the villa’s corner. This trench is going to look for the villa’s bathhouse. Even before the trench goes in, there is evidence of Roman roof trials. The geophysics continues to work on the site. Metal detectorists go over the site to find any metal objects. Immediately a Roman coin is found and this is dating evidence for the Time Team.
If the geophysics is right, then this villa is huge. However, the Time Team assumes nothing based on previous experience. Other archeologists field walk the site and find more Roman building remains on the site.
Trench one continues to be dug and more pieces of Roman roof tile are found. They are discovering that the Romans used the local slate to make roofs. In the late Roman period, the Romans used stone instead of tiles for their roofs. Additionally, a nail is discovered on site. This shows the decay of the villa. The villa was abandoned and was eventually mined for parts and collapsed. About 99% of villas were mined for building supplies.
Stewart looks to the landscape to discover the means the owner had in order to build the villa. A villa of that size would have taken a lot of money to build and maintain. So Stewart and Natalie look to the landscape to discover more about how the owner made his money.
Trench three goes in over a conduit to the bathhouse. A local archeologist group takes over this trench to learn more about the Roman bathhouse. Trench four goes in on an anomaly on the site and there are some finds on the site in that trench as well.
The Geophysics comes back. However, the results flummox the Time Team. The results seem to hint at a smaller villa. Stewart brings in the lidar results that seem to hint at something in the landscape. The new data shows new targets and new confusion for the Time Team. Were sides of the villa lost? Tune into the rest of this Time Team to continue to learn more about the villa.
This would be a good episode for researching Roman villas for a history class.
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