Recent Projects

2018

The Foresters' Forest - Excavation at Ruardean Castle

Summary:

In October members of Dean Archaeological Group took part in an excavation organised by Worcestershire Archaeology as part of the Foresters's Forest programme. It was a very successful and enjoyable dig as you will see by accessing the following link:

Excavation at Ruardean Castle

2018

Excavation at Blakeney

Summary:

In May 2018 we commenced an excavation project on a site in the town of Blakeney. A previous dig carried out by DAG in the early 1990s and very near to our site uncovered evidence of Roman settlement. Based on a resistivity survey we excavated five trenches. We uncovered one possible archaeological feature (a wall) and a substantial amount of pottery. Medieval, post-medieval and Victorian pottery sherds were recovered but the majority were Roman, including decorated and un-decorated Samian, Severn Valley Ware, Dorset Black Burnished Ware, mortaria and local greyware. The dig ended at the beginning of October and a full excavation report will be published here in due course.

2017

Excavation at Welshbury Wood

Summary:

An excavation of two adjacent platforms on the wood’s north facing slope, approximately 180m from the north-east corner of Welshbury hillfort (Scheduled Monument). The platforms are on Forestry Commission land outside of the Scheduled Monument designated area at approximately 135m AOD. Two trenches and two test pits revealed evidence of a Romano-British iron smelting site dating from the late 3rd-4th century. No features or furnace bases were identified, only the waste products of that activity. Finds included both tap and furnace iron slag, furnace lining, charcoal, pottery and a substantial part (60%) of a lower rotary quern stone of Roman type. In close proximity to the site, two charcoal platforms were identified and a circular hollow (6.5m diameter and depth of approximately 2m) likely to have been used for the extraction of stone. None of these ancillary features could be dated. The pottery assemblage consisted entirely of Romano-British coarse ware: Severn Valley, Black-Burnished (1), a local Micaceous grey ware, handmade slab-built Malvernian ware and imitation Black-Burnished ware. The Malvernian sherds likely came from a Romano-British pre-fabricated oven.

A copy of the full report is available here:

Excavation report - Welshbury 2017

List of Illustrations - Welshbury 2017

2016

Excavation along the course of the Dean Road

Summary:

A small scale exploratory excavation was undertaken in 2016 by the Dean Archaeological Group along the course of the Dean Road between Soilwell and Oldcroft in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. The excavation exposed a length of a kerbed and paved area of road c.2.45m in width on a north-south alignment. To the west and immediately adjacent to the kerbed road, a cambered stone cobbled surface (c 5.0m wide) was uncovered, also on a north-south alignment. This may be a different and possibly earlier phase of road construction. No artefacts were recovered to date either surface and the relationship between the two could not be properly determined.

A copy of the full report is available here:

Excavation report - Dean Road

List of Illustrations - Dean Road

2016

The Foresters’ Forest

Summary:

The Foresters’ Forest is a Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Partnership programme to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage of the Forest of Dean. 2016 marked the Development phase of the programme with £405,000 awarded from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fund development plans and individual projects using volunteers from local communities. One of the projects initiated, ‘Unearthing our Heritage’, sought to better understand the archaeology of the Forest and members of Dean Archaeology Group (DAG) were involved from day one.

A copy of the full article is available here:

The Foresters’ Forest

2015

Excavation at Welshbury Hillfort

Summary:

A small scale exploratory excavation within Welshbury Hill Fort was undertaken as part of a PhD research project at the University of Gloucestershire. The site is located on a wooded hill top on the eastern margin of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire and the hill fort is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Two trenches were excavated. Trench 1 was found to be an integral part of the outer hillfort defences and not an historical breach as had been previously thought. Two flint flakes were found and soil samples for Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating analysis were taken. Trench 2 revealed a shallow u-shaped ditch but with no Iron Age artefacts or evidence of ditch infill from that period. Both Roman (mid-3rd to late-4th century AD) and medieval (mid-13th to mid-14th century AD) pottery fragments were recovered from the lower layers of the ditch soil infill; and soil samples were taken from stratified deposits in the ditch infill for pollen and OSL analysis. A single piece of large charcoal (of ash Fraxinus excelsior) was recovered and radiocarbon dated to the 2nd – 3rd Century AD.

A copy of the full report is available here:

Excavation report - Welshbury Hillfort

Excavation report - Welshbury Hillfort List of Illustrations