Archives - Roman period home is found in gravel pit

AN excavation carried out in a gravel pit by the Fosse Way, near Stow-onthe-Wold, 50 years ago uncovered the foundations of a small house measuring 39ft long by 26ft wide.

Though the walls were badly ruined, enough remained to show that it was built of well-dressed masonry of the local stone and roofed with Cotswold stone tiles. Many fragments of the latter were found on the floors, some with the iron nails still in position where they had been fastened to the roof.

The house, facing east, seems to have consisted of three rooms in front; these had floors of flagstones while at the back there was a kitchen containing a well-made fireplace with a hearth, surrounded by stone kerbs. It had a mud floor on which lay a deep deposit of black ash.

A small yard with a flooring of pitched stone cobbling led out of the kitchen, while a large courtyard with the same type of stone pitching lay ion front of the house.

Elsewhere in the gravel pit, floors of small huts, ovens, a corn drying oven and four wells have been found in the past; all these together show that a community practising agriculture were settled here.

The recent find of the house, which was larger and of better construction than any of the other sites, does suggest it was the "big" farmhouse of the settlement, surrounded by its enclosed fields, with the small huts among them belonging to the workers.

From the finds associated with the sites in the gravel pit, a date in the Roman period can be given. In the recent work, 23 coins were found, most of which belonged to the 4th century AD. They are in a very poor condition, apparently having been burnt. Fragments of Roman pottery were scattered over the floors, these being of black and grey cooking pots and dishes, while some sherds of red colour-coated bowls and vessels of this material responded in dates with the coins.

Fragments of glass showed that bowls and vessels of this material were used, and among ornaments, a bone hair-pin, glass bead and some bronze studs, probably for decorating a box, were also found.

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