Recent Projects

2019

The Foresters' Forest - Excavation at Ruardean Hill

Summary:

In September this year DAG members took part in another community project organised by Worcestershire Archaeology; this time an excavation of a Roman enclosure at Ruardean Hill. A report is currently being prepared but in the meantime here is a link to an article about the 'star find':

Excavation at Ruardean Hill - Find of the Month

2018 - 2019

Excavation at Blakeney

Summary:

A small scale exploratory excavation was undertaken by the Dean Archaeological Group (DAG) at Legg Barn, Church Square, Blakeney in May to October 2018 and June to October 2019. A total of eight trenches were excavated: seven in the grounds of Legg Barn and one in an adjacent garden. Roman artefacts dating from the mid-1st to mid-2nd century dominated the assemblage which included both fine and coarse ware pottery. In trench 2 part of a stone surface and an iron-slag aggregate layer were dated to the Roman period and it is possible that an unidentified feature in trench 6 may be Roman. Excavations carried out by DAG between December 1990 and February 1992 concluded that a high status Roman building, also dated to the mid-1st to mid-2nd century, had once stood on the site. No evidence of other buildings were found in 2018 - 2019 but the distribution of pottery coupled with the results of the resistivity survey suggest they may be there. Similarly, a significant amount of bloomery iron smelting tap slag was recovered, but with no evidence of smelting. It is likely that this activity was carried out at another site in or around Blakeney. After the Roman period the site appears to have been given over to agriculture.

A copy of the full report is available here:

Excavation report - Blakeney 2018-19

List of Illustrations - Blakeney 2018-19

DAG Legg House Excavations 1990

DAG Legg House Excavations 1992

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

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