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GREAT WITCOMBE ROMAN VILLA

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Great Witcombe Roman Villa is situated near Cooper's Hill Wood on the western edge of the Cotswolds. It is aligned north east - south west. It is terraced with two large wings at the south west and north east end, connected by a corridor with a large open courtyard in front. The villa was occupied from about AD 250 and continued in use until sometime into the 5th century AD. There is thought to have been two phases of occupation, with the second phase involving an enlargement of the building. The south west wing included a bath suite with hot and cold plunge baths and tessellated floors. The mosaics included representations of fish and geometric patterns. Remains of painted plaster were reported upon excavation to be up to 1.8 metres in height.
Other features included a small cistern, a latrine and an unusual corner passage or 'slype'. Rebuilding, including the insertions of ovens in this wing, belonged to the second phase of occupation. The corridor between the wings of the villa took the form of a tessellated gallery, over 3.5 metres wide, with a central room. The north west range included a kitchen with an oven and a latrine. There were no remains of mosaic found in this wing. The villa is thought to have included an upper storey. The site was first excavated by Samual Lysons in 1818 (later in partnership with Sir William Hicks), by E. M. Clifford in 1938 and E. Greenfield after 1961. The building materials include Oolite and tufa stone, white marble (in the cornices), roof tiles of earthenware and Old Red Sandstone. An extensive collection of finds included a pennanular brooch, an earthenware fir-cone, a bronze 'dog' box-handle, an iron knife coulter-blade, pottery (including Iron Age and Roman Glevum and Samian ware), lead pipe, glass, a corn drying kiln, a possible altar base, niches (probably for statues), animal bones, coins (1st century to 4th century AD) and horns.

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