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Historic England Research Records

Turkdean Roman Villa

Hob Uid: 1185169
Location :
Gloucestershire
Cotswold
Turkdean
Grid Ref : SP0988218986
Summary : Site of a major Roman villa complex surviving as cropmark and earthworks. Pottery recovered indicates that occupation of the site started from the late 2nd century and continued in use until the end of the 4th century. The site was first documented in circa 1800 when its remains survived above ground level. These were described in a letter of 1891 which stated the remains to be of that of a villa or station. Coins, pottery, floor tile, millstone fragments and a stone-lined watercourse were also described. The next known recorded identification of the site was in 1976 when parchmarks were noted in the grass. An aerial photograph of the site taken in 1995 showed a substantial complex, and in 1997 the site was the subject of a Time Team investigation and excavation. Geophysical survey identified the plan of a large villa and limited excavation identified occupation dating to the third and fourth century. The main villa complex is arranged around three courtyards, covering an area measuring 120 metres by 75 metres. The courtyards are aligned on a north/south axis with the inner courtyard to the north. The inner and middle courtyards are separated by a cross range, and a gateway leads from the middle courtyard to the southern outer courtyard. A perimeter wall surrounds the north, east and west sides of the villa. The courtyard layout appears to be consistent with that of a villa, however, a large bath within the central range has led to the suggestion of a possible religious sanctuary. A substantial detached structure was identified 30 metres southeast of the villa complex. This was on a west/east alignment and may have been either an aisled building or two separate buildings. In the eastern part of the site a series of Roman or late stone lined culverts were also identified. A nearly complete plan of these features is clearly visible on aerial photographs. These features were mapped from aerial photographs as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP project.
More information : SP 099 190. Situated on a natural spur above a valley to the west,much of this complex is visible as earthworks. The west and north ranges are the most obvious, and together with slighter earthworks at the east and south indicate an enclosed area of some 100m square. At the time of inspection, parch marks of a regular layout of buried wall lines were evident, and which closly corresponded with the earthwork remains. The west side has been levelled and built up onto the valley slope, suggesting a external garden or terrace. An open quarry to the east may be the original stone source for the complex. A significant level terrace or trackway at the south east of the complex can be traced into the field to the south for some 120m and may be the original approach. Other earthworks and terraces to the east of the main complex are likely to be associated, and may be the remains of field boundaries and other buildings. (2)

A nearly complete plan of these features is clearly visible on aerial photographs as the cropmarks of banks or wall remains. These features were mapped from aerial photographs as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP project.

The features described by the previous authorities are clearly visible on aerial photographs as cropmarks corresponding to sub-surface wall remains. Centred at SP 0987 1899, the area covered measures approximately 200m NNW to SSE and 161m WSW to ENE and includes the main structure; the outer boundary banks or walls; and subsidiary buildings. It should be noted that the only aerial photographs available of the site date from 1999; two years after the excavation took place in 1997. The original 1996 aerial photograph that prompted the excavation of the site does not appear to be within the NMR archive (3).

A Roman courtyard villa complex and a culvert of Roman or later in date. Pottery recovered indicates that occupation of the site started from the late 2nd century and continued in use until the end of the 4th century.

The site was first documented in circa 1800 when its remains survived above ground level. These were described in a letter of 1891 which stated the remains to be of that of a villa or station. Coins, pottery, floor tile, millstone fragments and a stone-lined watercourse were also described. The next known recorded identification of the site was in 1976 when parchmarks were noted in the grass. An aerial photograph of the site taken in 1995 showed a substantial complex, and in 1997 the site was the subject of a Time Team investigation and excavation. Geophysical survey identified the plan of a large villa and limited excavation identified occupation dating to the third and fourth century.

The main villa complex is arranged around three courtyards, covering an area measuring 120 metres by 75 metres. The courtyards are aligned on a north/south axis with the inner courtyard to the north. The inner and middle courtyards are separated by a cross range, and a gateway leads from the middle courtyard to the southern outer courtyard. A perimeter wall surrounds the north, east and west sides of the villa. The courtyard layout appears to be consistent with that of a villa, however, a large bath within the central range has led to the suggestion of a possible religious sanctuary.

A substantial detached structure was identified 30 metres southeast of the villa complex. This was on a west/east alignment and may have been either an aisled building or two separate buildings.

In the eastern part of the site a series of Roman or late stone lined culverts were identified. These are fed by a spring to the northeast of the villa. A culvert leads southwards to the north of the detached building before separating into a number of subsidiary channels to the east and west. (4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 418-9
Figs. : 12
Plates :
Vol(s) : 29, 1998
Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SP 0918/36 NMR 18455/10 30-JUL-1999
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : USD schedule of 10-May-2012
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Late 2nd-end C4
Monument End Date : 400
Monument Start Date : 167
Monument Type : Villa, Building, Sanctuary
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork, Cropmark, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Culvert
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Gloucestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 19798
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1408772
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 01 NE 33
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CHALKHILL BARN (TIME TEAM)/TURKDEAN ROMAN VILLA
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE COTSWOLD HILLS (SOUTH COTSWOLDS) NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-10-01
End Date : 2010-10-01