The Big Dig


For three weeks in June, a team of Winchester University Archaeology students and over 80 volunteers from villages in the Meon Valley and beyond took part in the excavation of a site near the village of Meonstoke

The results of a geophysical survey carried out in 2015 by the Meon Valley Archaeology & Heritage Group had revealed a hexagonal shaped structure which is very rare in Roman Britain. The team of students and community volunteers, led by Professor Tony King, slowly unearthed the foundations of this very rare Roman building, which is thought to be a Roman temple. In addition, an adjacent room was revealed which is believed to be a Roman bathhouse.  The work of the dedicated team of metal detectorists also proved invaluable in finding artefacts from the Roman period and Iron Age.

The student and local workforce worked very well together, wielding mattocks, shovelling soil and trowelling in typically diverse English weather conditions; ranging from sweltering heat and humidity in the first week to sun, wind and rain in the final week.

Many of our volunteers expressed delight at being involved in the project:

‘Really had an amazing time – fulfilled a lifetime ambition – seriously!’

‘Thank you for the opportunity, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, it’s been on my bucket list for years!’

We also had many fantastic comments from visitors to our site Open Day and Open Morning:

‘Just wanted to say big thanks for the site visit. We thoroughly enjoyed the insightful chats.’

‘Thank you to Tony and your hard working volunteers for a really interesting open day.’

Thank you to ALL who visited the site. Thank you to Professor Tony King, ALL the students, dig volunteers and metal detectorists for your hard work and dedication in making this project a success.


7 Responses to The Big Dig

  1. Charlotte Sampson says:

    I would love the opportunity to get involved for a day or two… I’ve always been interested in history and it would be great to get some ‘hands on experience’ on my doorstep!

    • John Snow says:

      Hello Charlotte

      Many thanks for leaving your message about joining the big dig.
      I have forward your details to Alison Smalley she will contact you with the details of the dig, dates etc.

      Many thanks for showing interest in the dig.

      John Snow

      01489 878631

  2. Mike says:

    Hi. I would very much be interested in participating in the dig please

  3. Estelle Sandles says:

    I have registered on the dig with Alison on 7/8 and 15/16 but I don’t seem to have any details of the times. Can you oblige please?

    • John Snow says:

      Hello Estelle

      Many thanks for your inquiry, we anticipate the times will be 9.00 am to 4.30 pm, but we will confirm times plus location and dig notes later next week.
      I hope it will be a very interesting and rewarding dig, it will be nice to see you during the dig and hope for good weather.


      John Snow

  4. Vicki Fathers says:

    Help! I saw 2 apostrophes in the information …… Sunday’s and Monday’s
    They are PLURALS! Love to visit the dig.Good luck

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *