A large open excavation project has recently been completed on a Roman Villa in Tackley, Oxfordshire in advance of housing construction. At present the project has proven to be one of our most exciting investigations to date. Located in the archaeologically rich area of the Cherwell Valley, trial trenching conducted in advance the excavation had indicated that the site had a high density of features; the majority of which were determined to be Roman in date.
Follow-up excavation was undertaken by the TVAS field team and commenced in November 2017. The primary intention of the excavation is to define the nature of the site; and to further understand how the various evidence of activity relate to the wider Roman landscape comprised of sites that straddle the course of Akeman street (a major Roman road that linked Watling Street with the Fosse Way).
The star discovery on the site was a large stone-built Roman building which consisted of several rooms, one of which was floored by a red and white mosaic with a geometric design. The building appears to have sat in the north-eastern corner of a larger walled compound which extended beyond the site boundary to the west and south. To the south of the main structure is a smaller stone-built one which may have been an ancillary building such as a bathhouse. The careful excavation of the structural remains revealed several phases of construction as the owners remodelled their house, adding rooms and an impressive entrance-way over the course of its occupation.
In addition to the many Roman elements investigated thus far, a number of features have been securely dated to be within the later Iron Age and early Saxon periods (represented by boundary ditches and refuse pits); which interestingly indicates continuous occupation and exploitation of the site over an extended period. The existence of archaeology indicative of these transitional phases may allow us to begin to understand the formation and decline of Roman occupation in the local area, as well as the role local populations had in facilitating these social and economic reforms.
TVAS has been working closely with the Tackley Local History Group in the investigation of the site; allowing us to further understand this extensive historic environment, and its role in the wider community. As this project progresses through the post-excavation process we will be providing further information on the investigations. If you wish to keep informed of this project or any other TVAS investigations please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.