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Archaeology in the Vale of Pewsey – Stanton St Bernard

Archaeology in the Vale of Pewsey

Archaeology in the Vale of Pewsey

Until recently archaeologists focused mainly on the landscape round Stonehenge and Avebury and the area between – the Vale of Pewsey – was hardly explored. This is now changing, as modern techniques are revealing prehistoric features previously obscured by centuries of farming in the fertile Vale. There is now considerable interest among archaeologists about this area.

The University of Reading Field School, led by Dr Jim Leary, continued excavation work this summer at Marden Henge and the ploughed-out henge at Wilsford. They also collaborated with Historic England who are investigating possible Roman settlements in the Vale. For Dr Leary’s report on the 2015 season’s work, go to https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/archaeology/?p=484. The Field School intend to return in summer 2016 to continue their work at Marden and other sites in the Vale.

So what about Stanton?

  • The pottery found during field walking in Stanton in 2010 showed an unexpectedly high proportion of Roman material, indicating that there may have been a Romano-British farm here. But where?
  • Some interesting finds have been made in Stanton gardens and in the surrounding area. These include a bronze axe head, an Austrian bayonet dated around 1840 and carved stones (one in the shape of hands joined in prayer, probably from a medieval tomb). Pottery fragments and several handles have been found: from an iron-age pot, a 13th century skillet and a 13th/14th century glazed jug.

Identifying finds: what to do if you find something intriguing

  • It is most important to record when and where you find an object and whether you found it on the surface or when digging a hole or trench (with approximate depth).
  • Please do not “over clean” the find – just wash the dirt off gently with plain water.
  • If you need any guidance on what to look for, photographs of the History Group’s Pottery Reference Collection can be found on this website, together with pictures of worked flints from the Wiltshire Museum. It’s even better to examine the pottery reference collection itself and we will be happy to show it to you. We’ll be interested to know of your finds for inclusion in our records (contact history@stantonstbernard.com).
  • Under the Portable Antiquities Scheme finds can be identified by the Finds Liaison Officer and, if significant, will be recorded on the national database before being returned to the finder. Several items from Stanton have been recorded in this way, one find being classified as “of national importance”. The Finds Liaison Officer visits the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes regularly. Stanton St Bernard History Group

November 2015