Roman villa site excavated during the 1980s. Several phases uncovered beginning with a late Iron Age round houses and associated features. The round house appears to have been replaced in stone early in the Roman period, this structure being tentatively interpreted as a shrine. Later a substantial villa itself of several phases was built across the site, with various ancilliary buildings. An inhumation cemetery and a possible mortuary structure were also found. In 2001, aerial photos showed cropmarks of a ditched trackway and associated enclosures around the villa site.
ST 79857602: An important Roman site was discovered last September at Ironmongers' Piece by the landowner Mr Charnaud and was initially fieldwalked by a team of BAARG members led by Rob Iles of Avon CC. Since May excavations have been in progress, directed by K and M Blockley, sponsored by Avon CC. Work to date has revealed the remains of an agricultural settlement occupied from C1 - C4. The main feature so far is a small Romanised farmhouse or villa of C4 or C3 facing east onto a courtyard. To the S. was a cemetery. (1-2)
ST 798760: Excavations at Ironmongers, 1982, revealed three phases of settlement. (See Illustration Card for plan)
Phase I - pre Roman: The earliest occupation was indicated by a single hut circle - A, ditches, and two gullies - G, H, both with late Iron Age pottery. Phase II - early Roman: A 1.6m drystone wall - B, was erected with an entrance flanked by 2 postern gates. The circular structure was rebuilt in masonry. No domestic fittings were found in this building but it contained two sheep skulls and six legs. Its function as a shrine seems likely. To the south an inhumation was found within a post-hole structure - E, possibly a mortuary enclosure. Also within this complex was a crouched baby burial.
Phase III - late Roman: During the C4 the boundary wall and circular building were demolished. A large rectilinear building - C, was built. This was a large farmhouse with at least 14 rooms. To the N. was a drystone circular building - D. To the E a drying-oven. To the S was a cemetery lying outside a wall. Twenty burials were excavated, mostly within stone-lined graves and dating from C4. (3-4) Full report on 1982-3 excvavations. (5) Additional references - information as above. (6-7)
In June 1985 a training excavation by Bristol University took place at Ironmongers Piece. The remains of a circular structure - 'D' of earlier reports - were examined and found to date not earlier than the late C2 or C3. (8-9)
Training excavations continued in 1986 with the object of elucidating a 5m long wall which in 1985 appeared to be the side of a building. No trace of any return walls could be found nor any floor. The wall may in fact be the remains of a yard or fold. No further excavation is planned at this site. (10)
AV 56 A villa constructed over circular buildings, excavated in 1982. (11)
Aerial photographs taken in June 2001 showed a numebr of cropmark features in an adjacent to the field containing the above excavated structures. The excavated area itself does not show any cropmarks, making it difficult to clearly relate the cropmarks to the structures excavated. In addition, there are a number of cropmarks produced by geological features and some which may be archaeological or geological. The main feature is a broadly east-west trackway defined by roughly parallel ditches up to 10 metres apart, but narrowing noticeably towards the east, where it turns towards the southeast, possibly meeting another trackway running down from the north - the present field boundary obscures this area. Circa two-thirds of the way along its visible length, a branch of the ditched trackway also turns north towards the area of the excavated villa buildings, which appear to have been contained within a square or rectangular ditched enclosure, which itself may have been situated within the northeast corner of a much larger enclosure. A number of large dark cropmarks in the vicinity possibly represent relatively recent quarry pits. However, one or two within the cropmark complex may be associated settlement features such as wells. (12)