Introduction to the Wortley Villa site


The site lay in the back garden and fields behind a cottage at Wortley near Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.

Wortley location in England Wortley location in Gloucestershire

  Above: location in the UK

  Right: location in Gloucestershire


The site is on private property and cannot be visited. All evidence is concealed following backfilling at the request of the owners.

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The site of a Roman Villa was accidentally discovered in 1981 by the landowner, Paul Cory, digging a hole for a fence post. Consequently, local enthusiasts opened a trench approximately 7 metres by 4 metres by 1 metre, exposing the badly damaged pilae (supports) of the hypocaust system (underfloor heating) of parts of two rooms. The trench also produced considerable quantities of painted wall plaster, tesserae (pieces of mosaic) and tegulae (pieces of roof tile), in addition to pottery, some small finds and bone.

In 1983 and 1984, archaeologists from the University of Keele drew plans and sections of the earlier work, carried out contour and resistivity surveys and, as far as possible, collected together the finds which had become dispersed. In addition, in 1984 the topsoil was removed from an area abutting the original trench in order to determine the limits of of the structures. As a result of this work and after necessary discussions, it was agreed that the site would be adopted by the University of Keele for long-term excavation and for training, and that the finds and archive would eventually be housed at Stroud Museum, within whose ‘parish’ the site falls.
(Photograph: The north end of the site by © Tony Boxall.)

Excavation by the University of Keele team and latterly an independent project team, under the direction of Dr David Wilson MA FSA MIFA, continued from 1985 to 1996.

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© Wortley Romano-British Villa Excavation 2016 Last amended 08 January 2016