Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Time Team Teams up With Detectorist

         Detectorists' holes getting bigger and bigger     
Roseanne Edwards, 'Time Team returns to our screens to excavate Roman Villa discovered in Banburyshire fields near Broughton Castle' Banbury Gazette, 16th March 2021.
The announcement that the cult TV programme will return to our screens with a Banburyshire dig that is expected last for years has thrilled the Fiennes family at Broughton Castle and the detectorist and amateur archeologist, Keith Westcott, who discovered the villa two years ago [...] . At 85m x 85m it is the second largest Roman villa in the country and only slightly smaller than Buckingham Palace. It would have been one of the grandest villas in Roman Britain.
[It is quite considerably smaller than Buckingham Palace].


Unknown said...

The usual media spin... the facts are that at 85m to the front elevation of Buckingham Palace at 108m, this villa is 80% or 4/5ths the size of that dimension. Obviously the Palace is much deeper at 120m. The reference to Buckingham Palace is from my use to give scale on the magnetometry image, when I'm giving talks on the subject.

No idea where the 2nd largest villa is from although, it appears to have rooms on all four wings which from an internal footprint, equates to a very large building.

My theory was that the residence was in this vicinity and I went out searching on foot using looking for clues in the landscape. I discovered the villa within 20 minutes of my search and only used a metal detector for the first time on the site on my third visit, when looking for dating evidence.

The spatial and dating plotting of coins, demonstrates that that finds in the plough soil horizon were still relative to the archaeology below, in fact, the spatial image of finds alone would have lead to the possibility of a court yard villa on the site. Alongside the geophysical survey, it has proved to have provided important information.

Keith Westcott

Paul Barford said...

Buckingham Palace is 124m E-W (omitting the conservatory) but the southwest range (with the state rooms and gallery) is 165m long (and 45m wide). http://housesofstate.blogspot.com/2013/04/some-floor-plans-of-buckingham-palace.html

So, 85m x 85m is not "four fifths" is it?

"second biggest" probably does not have to be anything more complex than a journalist coming across something like this: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbourne_Roman_Palace

I do not think simply shrugging shoulders and saying "media spin" is really the way we should be informing the British public about the past. We should eschew easy sensationalism and try to stick to presenting the facts that our work reveals. That phrase has been in constant use since 2018 in writing about this site.

As for the distribution of the finds, try telling that to all the supporters of collection-driven exploitation of the archaeological record that claim with one voice that it's OK "because the artefacts are mostly in the ploughsoil".

Unknown said...

I was making exactly the opposite point re plough-soil, that spatial position is all important, contrary to what others say that they are decontextualised.


Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high.

Brian Mattick said...

The linkage of Mr Westcott's name with the programme has evinced huge alarm amongst detectorists who regard him as an enemy as rules that aren't recommended by the NCMD are seen as an unwelcome threat. I wonder if he is able to comment?

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