Archaeology at Earth Trust – more finds unearthed

By Earth Trust, February 2021

Wittenham Clumps have long been viewed as iconic landmarks in Oxfordshire, and we’re continuing to learn more about their ancient past and the people who lived here. After a few months away due to the coronavirus pandemic, DigVentures are back at the dig site and able share even more of their finds.
The team have continued excavating the Roman Villa, which is now estimated to be 30m long with at least seven column bases, and have unearthed plenty more nearby including five more roundhouses. The team have been unearthing finds from the Bronze, Iron and Roman Ages just metres apart, making it a particularly exciting dig! Here are a just few of their latest discoveries.

Starting back in the Iron Age, evidence of an incredible 15 roundhouses have now been uncovered. This one is about nine metres in diameter, so slightly smaller than some of the others found.

Image: archaeologist stands in 9m Iron Age roundhouse footprint

Archaeologist Indie stands in a 9m-wide Iron Age roundhouse footprint


This next piece might not look like much to the untrained eye, but it’s a piece of pottery known as Terra Rubra. DigVentures’ pottery specialist was particularly excited by this find, because it dates back to between the very late Iron Age to just after the Roman conquest, capturing the transition between these periods.

Image: Terra Rubra from late Iron Age to sometime just after Roman conquest

Recording the Terra Rubra found. This piece is from the transition period between the Iron Age and Roman era.


This piece is the handle of a good quality Roman flagon – a large jug-like vessel – and was likely to have been used for collecting and storing everyday essentials such as water, wine, beer and oil.

Image: the handle of a quality Roman flagon

An archaeologist holds the handle of a quality Roman flagon.

Next up, a Roman spatula. It might have been used for applying medicines or even makeup:

Image: Roman spatula

The team discover a small Roman spatula.

The team also found this piece of a Roman red bowl …

Image: Roman red bowl

Holding a piece of Roman red bowl.

… and this spindle whorl. This disc would have fitted onto a spindle to increase and maintain the speed of the spin, so it’s a good indication that yarn was being spun to make things like clothing or blankets.

Image: Roman spindle whorl

A Roman spindle whorl uncovered by the team.

If you’d like to find out more about the dig site and the finds, then checkout our What’s On page to join the DigVentures team for live online events.

More from our archaeology series:

Earth Trust Dig reveals 2,000 year history of Earth Trust Centre

Archaeology tour guides share their experiences


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Responses (2)

  1. Vivien Corrie-Wing
    8th March 2022 at 9:34 pm · Reply

    My children would love the chance to join in with a dig. They are 6 and 8. Do you have any opportunities for them at Whittenham. It is a particularly meaningful place for us since my Grandmother lived in Long Whittenham and so our own history is connected with the area.

    • Sharon Squire
      10th March 2022 at 4:36 pm · Reply

      Hi Vivien, thank you for your message, lovely to hear of your family connection to the area. We don’t currently have any digs planned at the moment I’m afraid but do keep an eye on our What’s On events for family activities.

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