Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Previously Undiscovered Roman Villa?

Playing God again, I've been scanning aerial photographs of Oxfordshire, courtesy of Live Search. There's a fascinating soil mark just south of Northbrook, Kirtlington, which appears to show the outlines of two buildings. - A Roman villa, surely!


  1. How do we know it isn't an old cow shed? (This is a genuine quest for information rather than the type of smarty-pants comment usually associated with this identity)

  2. Too big. In fact I've just measured it and compared it with the huge villa at North Leigh a few miles away and it comes even bigger than that. So I'm afraid it may not be a villa after all, especially as I made Edwin tramp across the field it's in, and we couldn't find any signs of Roman occupation at all. Oh well.

  3. I'm not sure I agree with Jane that it is too big to be a Roman villa.... and I'm not sure we walked the field the marks are in, but, rather, the one to the right.

    The marks in the ploughed field to my mind definitely show that there were buildings there - the pattern is far too neatly rectangular to be "natural" - the light tones represent stonework under the soil. Only something like a Roman villa (or more modern construction) would possibly involve so much stonework.

    The area is too big for a barn (and too much stone!) A more recent, say, (demolished) manor house is unlikely because such sites are rarely totally abandoned - far more usually built over to the present day - or an existing manor built very near demolished buildings.

    I will agree that near every other potential Roman villa site that Jane has taken me to, astonishingly enough, we have almost immediatly spotted Roman pottery or tesserae (or Roman brick or roof tile)... but to fail to find finds can just be bad luck!

    Bear in mind there must have been some construction present. We must look again... and be sure we are in the right field!


Black Friar

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