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TURKDEAN ROMAN VILLA

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Site of a major Roman villa complex surviving as cropmark and earthworks. Pottery recovered indicates that occupation of the site started from the late 2nd century and continued in use until the end of the 4th century.

The site was first documented in circa 1800 when its remains survived above ground level. These were described in a letter of 1891 which stated the remains to be of that of a villa or station. Coins, pottery, floor tile, millstone fragments and a stone-lined watercourse were also described. The next known recorded identification of the site was in 1976 when parchmarks were noted in the grass. An aerial photograph of the site taken in 1995 showed a substantial complex, and in 1997 the site was the subject of a Time Team investigation and excavation. Geophysical survey identified the plan of a large villa and limited excavation identified occupation dating to the third and fourth century.

The main villa complex is arranged around three courtyards, covering an area measuring 120 metres by 75 metres. The courtyards are aligned on a north/south axis with the inner courtyard to the north. The inner and middle courtyards are separated by a cross range, and a gateway leads from the middle courtyard to the southern outer courtyard. A perimeter wall surrounds the north, east and west sides of the villa. The courtyard layout appears to be consistent with that of a villa, however, a large bath within the central range has led to the suggestion of a possible religious sanctuary. A substantial detached structure was identified 30 metres southeast of the villa complex. This was on a west/east alignment and may have been either an aisled building or two separate buildings. In the eastern part of the site a series of Roman or late stone lined culverts were also identified.

A nearly complete plan of these features is clearly visible on aerial photographs. These features were mapped from aerial photographs as part of The Cotswold Hills NMP project.

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