National Trust HBSMR and Windush

A WWII access track leading to a building in the trees.

A WWII access track leading to a building in the trees.

The National Trust owns many 1000s of archaeological sites. Some were purchased specifically but most were acquired by accident… in the sense that either we didn’t know they were there or perhaps the mansion house, art collection, garden, nature conservation or landscape value of the place was thought to be the pre-eminent reason for protecting it.

Every bit of land it seems has some sort of archaeology. Sometimes it’s a nationally significant site like a Neolithic causewayed enclosure or a Roman villa or sometimes its not so special like a 20th century sand pit (sincere apologies to archaeological sand pit enthusiasts).

We need to know what we’ve got as far as possible so it can be looked after appropriately.. so each piece of land should have a historic landscape and archaeological survey which unwraps the story of the people who occupied it and how they used it back down through the generations.

Every site gets a unique number.. a description.. a condition statement.. and recommendation on how it should be looked after. The information is put in our database HBSMR (Historic Buildings Sites and Monuments Record). Every building has a number… every earthwork… every buried site (that we know about), each find spot and scatter of debris found in a ploughed field… and even every sand pit.

Two air vents still attached to the collapsed roof of an RAF structure.

Two air vents still attached to the collapsed roof of an RAF structure.

We bring together all existing information and build on it over time typing it into the record and adding reports and notes on monitoring and work carried out on the site.

Three WWII blister hangers now used as farm buildings.

Three WWII blister hangers now used as farm buildings.

The information is now available on-line. Not perfect yet but it will get better. Type into Google… Heritage Gateway and search on the National Trust place you want to look at. For example, type the name Windrush and you will see.. third down below the lilac non-statutory organisations band.. National Trust HBSMR. 78 results.

View towards the rampart of Windrush Iron Age hillfort from the weathered brickwork of a WWII building.

View towards the rampart of Windrush Iron Age hillfort from the weathered brickwork of a WWII building.

Windrush is a scheduled Iron Age hillfort but it stands amongst the most extensive WWII air base the NT owns. Used as a pilot training base from 1940-45. Now a private tenanted farm full of gently decaying brick and concrete structures within woodland and pasture. There is a WWII map that describes the use of each structure.

View of the Watch Office from the pill box which once guarded RAF Windrush.

View of the Watch Office from the pill box which once guarded RAF Windrush.

The concrete identification code UR can be seen in giant letters in front of the air control Watch Office tower guarded by an octagonal pill box. It was bombed in 1940.. and one of the unarmed Avro Anson trainer planes rammed a Heinkel and brought it down. The RAF pilot Bruce Hancock is commemorated for his bravery in the local church.

The Bottleknap Trio, Long Bredy: The Lost Dorset Generations

This is a good story. No photos this time. Just an update.

Bodies in Trenches was a blog from the end of 2013.

At that time, we mentioned that some bones had been unearthed during a watching brief on a drainage trench beside Bottleknap Cottage in Long Bredy. This is a little piece of National Trust land, a 17th century cottage and a couple of fields all on its own in the parish of Long Bredy. It’s tucked away below the South Dorset Ridgeway.. towards the coast. There was no planning condition for a watching brief. The NT believed the place to be significant enough to keep an eye open while the ground was being disturbed.

Peter and Mike watched the digger and almost 1m down beneath some stones, at the point where it must surely have reached natural bedrock, the bucket came up full of bones. They stopped everything, dropped down into the trench and saw the parts of the skeletons in the deep narrow trench section. Including the severed ends of long bones and the line of a spine.

Claire looked through the bones and saw there were the hip bones of at least three young people, teenagers or early twenties. From what could be recorded from such a narrow slice, the bodies had been in a line, buried in a crouched position, with their heads pointing to the north.

Nothing to date them though. What were they doing there so deep beneath the Dorset countryside? Were they buried under a cairn of stones? Was this a crime? The parish church is just a few hundred metres away but crouched burials tend to be far older than the first churches in England.

Burials in round barrows tend to be on hill tops and the South Dorset Ridgeway, which overlooks Long Bredy, has hundreds of examples of these…

The bone fragments were very well preserved so we sent three samples away for radiocarbon dating and waited….not knowing what dates would come back. One date is just a date, two dates may conflict or be a coincidence.. three dates will give you good supporting evidence if they match.

This week the dates came back. If you have.. that time bug… then such moments are electric.

The dates of the three samples matched (C14 is not precise you understand) and fell between 800-600 BC. The graph suggested that the true date of burial was likely to be towards the earlier end of this range.

The thing to do now is to make comparisons with similar finds in Dorset.. but there are none. I checked with Peter who checked with Claire.. nope.

There are times in prehistory where there is much evidence for burial and others where there is none at all. (whatever did they do with their dead?) and our Bottleknap trio fall within the latter.

Bit of a dark age really.. when the very first fragments of revolutionary iron were being brought to our shores. These three are the very first Dorset people we can link to this period.

If we look to the wider world..this is the time of the Assyrians. For example, in the book of Isaiah in 701 BC King Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem…. but Dorset has no such history.. just these three young people found in a drainage trench beneath some stones.

Bread and butter

A lot of work during these winter months is the behind the scenes, or beyond the trench jobs :-) We can finish the last of finds washing and marking, gather the specialist reports from excavations, receive paperwork and finds archives from contractors and prepare for publishing. Also as it’s the end of the financial year some projects are coming to fruition including some involving archaeological archives.

We have spent many days lately putting up shelving and moving hundreds of boxes of finds into newly renovated buildings and rooms.

New archive room at Lanhydrock

New archive room at Lanhydrock

At the Lanhydrock office a room had been racked out to create a central area for archaeological archives. Now we had room to open an old, dusty, unmarked box and have a look at what it held.

Box of finds fro cross Cornwall, found by the public, Rangers and property staff

Box of finds from across Cornwall, found by the public, Rangers and property staff

Among the bags of pottery, bone, stone and plaster we found some strange brown stuff stuck to open weave cloth.

Brown stuff found to be old latex

Brown stuff on open weave cloth

Textured side of the strange brown stuff

Textured side of the strange brown stuff

It was all cracked but had a textured side, very strange……. but luck was with us and we found a small note that explained what we were looking at!

The odd brown stuff is old latex!

It’s old latex!

I would never have guessed that the mystery substance was latex! It had been used to take an impression of the surface of pottery, with the hope that it would help with identifying the grass seeds and the type of  weave showing on the pottery surface.

Some of the pottery with impressions of cloth or basket work

Some of the pottery with impressions of cloth or basket work

 

The next archive project involved building work on an important building so we could create a store and resource space for our finds from the Kingston Lacy Bankes estate. The WWII American Army hospital, 10 bed isolation ward, needed a new roof and its concrete cancer treating, it also needed a use and as we had already been using it to work on and store our archaeological collections it seemed logical to extend this use.

The old hospital building with its new roof

The old hospital building with its new roof

After emptying out everything into large ocean-going containers the work was done over the autumn and winter. Finally after a lick of paint it was time to put everything back so with help from two house removal experts we moved 350 boxes and many other oddments back into the fresh bright well racked room. This now allows good access for researchers to study the finds from all ages of sites from across the estate.
The finds boxes back on the shelving all sorted and assecable The last big move was the Crickley Hill collection from excavations that ran from 1969 until 1993. The contract for re boxing and creating an archive  copy of the Crickley photographic collection was under taken by  Cotswold Archaeology, and the store at our Sherborne Estate office was to be its final destination.

Sherborne store ready for the Crickley finds

Sherborne store ready for the Crickley finds

after the delivery of the finds

 

 

 

The environmental sample tubs

Last week the day came to move it all back into the store, a total of 244 finds boxes and 90 environmental sample tubs.

 

 

 

 

The guys from Cotswold Archaeology turned up in their white vans and we spent a few hours off loading everything onto the new shiny racking.

Tom, Fran, Emily and Claire from Cotswold Archaeology

Phew! three down two to go! the next archive stores waiting for an update are Purbeck and Lacock but they can wait until my back has had a good rest and a few chiropractic sessions :-)

The Rose Garden at Lacock Abbey

7th May 1832
Monday
My Dear Henry
The Urn is up in my garden! Oh! how pretty! Persian lilacs in blow! Horse chesnuts coming in flower!

Long ago, if the day was dragging, we’d engage in conversation over afternoon tea, a nonsense exchange featuring National Trust places with all the wrong facts (yes I know.. we are far older, more sensible and open plan now). It ended with the words.. “of course that’s where photography was invented”. According to the rules that was never Lacock.

Last October, Sue showed me the Rose Garden. It is a 12.5m diameter circular iron trellis work punctuated by four arched entrances to north, south, east and west, and in between – four curving rose beds. To the north is an alcove seat set in a wall under a gothic arch. When sitting here you can see through the north arch of the Rose Garden and appreciate the classic stone Urn on its pedestal.. which forms its centre piece.

The Rose Garden looking east in October.

The Rose Garden looking east in October.

That was Lady Elizabeth’s alcove Sue said and this is her Rose Garden. Lady Elizabeth Fox-Strangeways was the mother of William Henry Fox Talbot (the inventor of photography). The garden was becoming tired. Sue needed to repair the trellis work and replace the soil in the rose beds.

I looked at the metal edging on concrete and she said: “This Rose Garden was only put up in 1992, the old one, so I’ve been told was taken down in the 1960s but they kept the trellis and stored it in a barn. I don’t think it’s in the right place though. We keep tripping up over bits of metal when we cut the grass.”

We agreed to meet again when the turf was up and the trellis down and that was last Tuesday.

The early 19th century was a massive time of discovery. Researchers did not limit themselves to particular subjects.. they grazed across the broad sweep of science and art. They were often clever wealthy land owners with money and time on their hands and sharp inquiring minds. NT SW has Andrew Crosse at Fyne Court (West Somerset) who engaged in electrical experiments. The locals thought he was acting as God and bringing things to life through harnessing lightning via wires draped in trees around his mansion. Mary Shelley heard him lecture in London.
William Bankes travelled in Egypt brought back the Philae obelisk to Kingston Lacy (Dorset) and helped decipher the hieroglyphs.

In 1832, W.Henry Fox Talbot married his wife Constance and took her to Lake Como in Italy. His frustration at not being able to draw the beauty of the scene led him to experiment and find a way to capture an image. The first photos anywhere. Science to enable art.

I returned to the Rose Garden last week. The metal spikes sticking out of the ground were clear. Sue, Reg and the garden volunteers cleared off the topsoil and they found that each fixing was set in lead within a chunk of dressed stone. The stones were all different shapes and sizes and were probably reused pieces of Henry’s home.. medieval Lacock Abbey.

Sue was right though, it was in the wrong place.. in 1992 it had been built 5m west of its old location. The view from the alcove should not be blocked by the Rose Garden.

There were six stones to each of the four entrances and two intermediary stones to carry the trellis between them. The outer ring was to carry swags of trailing roses. The inner stones carried the arched trellises for each of the entrances. The view to the west between the stone settings framed the spire of Lacock’s medieval St Cyriac’s church.

The view east towards the church through the 1832 east Rose Garden entrance. The site of the old urn pedestal lies in the centre of the photo in front of the 1992 urn.

The view east towards the church through the 1832 east Rose Garden entrance. The site of the old urn pedestal lies in the centre of the photo in front of the 1992 urn.

We measured to the centre and dug down. There was the plinth for Lady Elizabeth’s Urn. Her son Henry (he preferred his second name) took a picture of it for her in ..1840. Sue had relocated the scene of one of the earliest photographs anywhere.

W.H. Fox Talbot's photograph of the Rose Garden taken in June 1840. One of a group of photographs he sent to the Italian botanist Antoino Bertoloni. He wrote back to say that this was the image he liked the best.

W.H. Fox Talbot’s photograph of the Rose Garden taken in June 1840. One of a group of photographs he sent to the Italian botanist Antoino Bertoloni. He wrote back to say that this was the image he liked the best.

Reg brought the garden ladder and I photographed it again.

The Rose Garden from the garden ladder. The turf cut from the 1992 garden but the stones from the 1830s garden and central pedestal 5m left of it.

The Rose Garden from the garden ladder. The turf cut from the 1992 garden but the stones from the 1830s garden and central pedestal 5m left of it.

Shapwick’s Roman Fort, Kingston Lacy

This is the view along the Shapwick Road across our field towards Badbury Rings.

This is the view along the Shapwick Road across our field towards Badbury Rings.

Let’s walk across a Dorset field. It’s a good one.. and although we’ll stay in the same space we will be hopping about in time a bit. Well- we’re archaeologists after all.

For the moment it’s late summer, the corn’s been cut and as we leave the far hedge and walk diagonally towards the road our boots crunch on the stubble. Keep your eyes down, there are all sorts of things beneath our feet.

Yes. There. See it ? Sticking out of that tractor rut a black chunk of pottery. Pick it up.

On the upper edge it’s polished but on the rougher zone below you have that typical cross-hatch pattern. Iron Age? Roman?

I call this the ‘Long Field’. Not its old name.. but definitely very large and long. You’d notice that if you divided it up and surveyed it. There’s Geoff, laying out the grid, walking up and down with the magnetometer. He was the first man to map the archaeology here. I walked with him some days fixing the pegs, positioning the lines. We walked miles.. but the results were spectacular. Thanks Geoff.

The field is bottom left. This is Geoff's magnetometer survey showing the fort in detail and the underlying Iron Age settlement. If you look carefully you can see the parallel side ditches of the Badbury to Dorchester Roman road. Our walk is from fort entrance to fort entrance. From middle right to bottom left.

The field is bottom left. This is Geoff’s magnetometer survey showing the fort in detail and the underlying Iron Age settlement. If you look carefully you can see the parallel side ditches of the Badbury to Dorchester Roman road. Our walk is from fort entrance to fort entrance. From middle right to bottom left.

You almost missed that. An orange samian base fragment. It has that silk sheen to it. Unlucky, the potter’s stamp is fractured at the edge and we can’t quite read who made it. Came all the way from Gaul though.

We’re approaching a large’L’-shaped trench. Ian’s in a ‘bee-hive pit, narrow at the neck and twice the width at the bottom. It’s cool down there. He hands up something like samian except it’s ruby-coloured. An earlier pottery.. dates this grain storage pit to the Late Iron Age- 2000 years ago.

At the other end of the trench is Martin..he’s in a large pit. No, he’s gone,
someone’s placing a dog in the pit on top of a piglet. The field’s disappeared.. there are circular houses all around us, a hub-bub of people livestock and wooden fences within a settlement stockade.

Gone again.. the place is blacksmith’s workshop, furnaces and hearths. These guys look Roman.. at least the pots are 3rd century style.

From scaffold tower to scaffold tower. Looking towards the  trench to locate the SW entrance of the fort.

From scaffold tower to scaffold tower. Looking towards the trench to locate the SW entrance of the fort.

We’re in the field heading to another larger longer trench with a scaffold tower beside it. This is the main highway, the Roman road from Badbury to Dorchester but we are also in the middle of a large Roman fort.

It was first seen on aerial photos in 1976, three concentric ditches with rounded corners. The first idea was that it was 1st century.. built on top of the Iron Age settlement right after the Roman Conquest of AD 43-44. Very different to the Roman fort at Hod Hill a few miles away though. It has only two entrances, one in the NE corner and one in the SW… and the ditches at the corners don’t quite match.

Let’s climb the scaffold tower and look down at the trench. We’ve put it at the SW entrance. We can see the three ends of the ditches in plan. The road metalling has sunk into the soft ditch filling so it has not been ploughed away.

The fort SW entrance from the scaffold tower. The outer ditch terminal is clear with remains of road metalling crushed into its surface. The middle and deep inner ditch have not yet been excavated. Most of the upper layers including the road have been ploughed away over hundreds of years. This land was part of the Shapwick common fields in the medieval period.

The fort SW entrance from the scaffold tower. The outer ditch terminal is clear with remains of road metalling crushed into its surface. The middle and deep inner ditch have not yet been excavated. Most of the upper layers including the road have been ploughed away over hundreds of years. This land was part of the Shapwick common fields in the medieval period.

Gerald, Becki and Rob, if you could just remove the upper layers..yes, there are the ditches filled with pottery, animal bone and the occasional coin. It seems to date mostly to the end of the 2nd century. The outer two ditches are only a metre deep but the inner one is massive.. over 4m deep. Strange, some of the finds are 4th century.

Here it is..white chalk ramparts with a timber wall along the crest of the innermost defence. Inside it is full of rectangular buildings. Curious, the Dorchester road is blocked by the fort gates guarded by soldiers. They’re checking all the traffic. The Saxon raids along the coast have increased in recent months and this place, Vindocladia, is vulnerable. They haven’t the resources to build stone walls like those at Durnovaria (Dorchester). This secure place, the burgus fort, will have to do the job. A place of last resort for the Romanised Brits. Tense times.

Lets climb down from the scaffold and get into the car. I hope you enjoyed my favourite field. Nancy climbs in beside us. “How was it for you”…. “The earth moved”.. it certainly did.. and there was so much in it!

Marvel at the marble

Just before Christmas I headed to Oxford to meet with Emma Durham, who is working on the Chedworth antiquarian collections, and we then headed to the Ashmolean Museum to meet marble expert Susan Walker, Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

We both had finds bags with various pieces of marble from past and recent excavations at Chedworth Roman Villa. The piece I had was the one found in August 2014 (see post Day 12 – last discoveries and careful covering). Emma had a few pieces from the original excavations in the 1860s.

We met Susan and were led through a maze of stairs and corridors to her book-filled office, she cleared a space on the table and we handed over our treasures. We opened our notebooks and waited, pens at the ready. Susan looked at each piece of marble in turn and made a few interesting opening comments. Three pieces that looked slightly different in surface colour turned out to fit together into a larger piece, others were different in thickness and marble type. After a few questions about the site and finding of the pieces, Susan started to tell us the story she saw in the marble.

All the marble looked to be East Mediterranean, and most pieces seem to be wall veneers, but are quite thick, which may indicate use in a bath house or water feature. Some of the marble is from Paros, which was favoured for water features. I think the pattern in the marble added to the effect, when under water, of movement.

While drawing the plan of the site we found a mottled stone which on closer inspection turned out to be a piece of marble.   An exotic material brought to the villa to decorate an architectural feature or perhaps part of a panel on a  piece of furniture.

While drawing the plan of the site we found a mottled stone which on closer inspection turned out to be a piece of marble. An exotic material brought to the villa to decorate an architectural feature or perhaps part of a panel on a piece of furniture.

Susan identified one piece that was worked along the edge, part of a basin, tank, vessel or sink, as coming from Proconnesus in the Sea of Marmara. She was amazed this got all the way to Chedworth. She explained that the marble was probably all 2nd/3rd century (Severan) due to the type of marble that was quarried then. At that time the set up with marble was that the Emperor had first call on any marble and only small amounts were then available to others, some of which would be exported to Britain and come in via London. It seems that, to be able to acquire this kind of marble, the person who owned Chedworth Villa had a very high status.

The questions this raises are to do with the dates. Was the marble used in the earlier villa on the site (2nd century) or was it reused marble acquired for the later villa (4th century) from somewhere else? Have there been other finds of these marble types in the area, in Cirencester for example, and how much has been found in the country as a whole? Once again more questions than answers, so onward we go with more research and potentially more exciting discoveries.

Emma and I left the museum with big grins on our faces. It had been a very exciting encounter, thank you Susan for bringing this stone to life, and I hope I have interpreted my scribbled notes right!

Oh, and I must not forget the piece we dug up this year; it’s called Cipollino, little onion marble, from the Greek island of Euboea.

A close up of 'Little Onion' the marble found during the 2014 excavations

A close up of ‘Little Onion’ the marble found during the 2014 excavations

 

 

All about Eve: Chedworth, the Mithraeum and 1954

27th July 1954 Oxford

Dear Mr Irvine (National Trust Custodian Chedworth Roman Villa)

This is about the proposed excavation at Chedworth..I am unable to do it myself at that time of year so we have the services of Miss Eve Rutter who has just taken her final exams here and has already been on many excavations including one she has directed herself so I think she will do it very well. Would you and Mrs Irvine be able to put Miss Rutter up during the excavation as she has no means of transport….

Best wishes Yours sincerely Mr D. Harden Keeper Ashmolean.

Plan of Chedworth before Eve Rutter's excavation.  The 'Porter's Lodge is the small room (IX) bottom left on the plan protruding south of the south range.

Plan of Chedworth before Eve Rutter’s excavation. The ‘Porter’s Lodge is the small room (IX) bottom left on the plan protruding south of the south range.

13th August 1954 Long Crichel House, Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Dear Miss Kirk (Joan Kirk Assistant Keeper Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

After getting your letter, I had a chat with Irvine who thinks that two men for a week might be enough..After having Lord Vestey’s men for a week after harvest we may have to pay for additional help… I hope you feel you can go ahead. Of course if the dig reveals some wonderful finds you may be tempted to go slow and then the labour problem will grow more serious…

Yours sincerely Eardley Knollys National Trust Regional Representative.

28th September 1954 Chedworth

Dear Mr Harden

Herewith the plan of the excavation at Chedworth: any suggestion as to what the well drained room is will be welcome….

Plan and sections drawn by Eve Rutter of the 1954 excavation

Plan and sections drawn by Eve Rutter of the 1954 excavation

Could this have been a scullery – old farms do have similar drains in their sculleries although not such a complicated trip up pattern!

I hope you have found all the things returned alright. Mr Ovenall was on duty when I came in on the Sunday. I don’t know whether Joan has returned: I thought she said she would be away a week but the Museum said two?

The glass fragments, mainly from one vessel I think, although few seem to fit, came from the first trench and were associated with a Rhenish thumb indented jar. Is any result yet available on the bracelet?

..the NT has asked for a report and plan to be available for the annual general meeting on 12 Oct to liven up the members and if I could have a photograph or two to include, the dig might look a little better – the Mithraeum is setting a high standard of what the public expect!

I go to the Guildhall on Friday. The Mithraeum is very interesting although I can’t help feeling that many of the thousands must have been disappointed at the rather wet stonework. Life there is very hectic consisting chiefly in an attempt to avoid too many press reporters all seeking to see the latest head!

Please send the photographs to the Guildhall as time is running rather short.

With best wishes, yours sincerely Eve

IMG_4873

9th October 1954 Ibthorpe, Hurstbourne Tarrant

Dear Joan

Thank you so much for your letter and help over the Chedworth stuff. I enclose what I hope will be an adequate report for the NT…

I am enjoying life at the Guildhall very much indeed although it is extremely hectic there at the moment. The other morning we were crowded out by the press (a usual event in the past Mithraeum statue-a-day week).. The statuary is absolutely fantastic – Miss Toynbee says that the Serapis head is as good, if not better than anything in the Rome museums…

Best wishes to all Eve

October 1954

The aim of the short excavation was to discover if the mound to the south of the south wing had been disturbed since Roman times, and if not, whether it merited further investigation and, incidentally, whether the present reconstruction walls of the south wing are correctly aligned….
Eve Rutter

IMG_9139

18th October 1954, Queen Anne’s Gate, London

Dear Miss Kirk Joan Kirk, Dept of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

I was delighted to get Miss Rutter’s fascinating report on the excavations. I should like you to know how how grateful the Trust is to the Museum for undertaking this work on our behalf…

As regards the possibility of further excavation next year, I am asking Mr R. Stewart-Jones our representative for Gloucestershire to get in touch with you…

Yours sincerely R. Romilly Fedden

18th October 1954, Warwick Road, Earls Court, London

Dear Joan

..I sent the Chedworth photographs per express and hope they will arrive in time. I enclose the bill for the film and some drawing paper…

I am interested in Richard’s “C.I.D.” investigations on the bracelet. It was not close by the coffin, at least not close enough to be part of the burial I shouldn’t think. Anyway the details I could gather from Mr Irvine about the burial suggested that anything worn by the child when inside it could not have slipped outside the coffin stones, or if it had only just down the side. There were no human bones otherwise associated with it. Anyway I shall be glad to hear Richard’s final verdict. Gold sounds exciting, quite beyond one’s wilder dreams: I only hope this doesn’t mean that I shall be pursued by coroners seeking to prove that the owner is still alive and presently returning to recover his lost possessions!
Life at the Guildhall has become less hectic this week. Mr Cook and Mr Merrifield are very kind and have made me feel very welcome. Mr Cook seems a little worried that I shall expect every excavation to produce marble heads!

…In the afternoon I went down to the site and the temple has produced a very nice door step..The “reconstruction”, if one can call the pile of Roman used debris so, is a pathetic affair and the way they are carving the original up with electric drills is tragic.

How is Oxford? it seems odd not to be pottering about it. Look after yourself and don’t catch any more peculiar diseases ‘cos I shan’t come out to the Slade this year Love Eve

6th November 1954 Warwick Road, Earls Court, London

Dear Joan

Re the Chedworth stuff Mr Irvine asked if it were possible to have a short report for the Museum. Secondly, were two coins amongst the stuff I brought back? Mr Ovenall said he would have them sent to Dr Sutherland. Only one is from the site, the other was given to Mr Irvine by a local forester for identification.

John Harris tells me that the “graffiti” “samian” looks suspicious. I haven’t looked at it myself apart from giving it a hasty clean. It should be alright according to the level it came from. Has Dr Harden had a chance to look at it yet? I should be interested to know the date as it was found in connection with the Rhenish ware which is the only apparently early pottery amongst fourth century pie dishes etc..

Hope to see you fairly soon. Give my regards to Roper and Miss Carter Yours Eve

5th March 1955 The Roman Inscriptions of Britain

Dear Miss Kirk

Thank you for sending me the Chedworth graffito for examination.
I read the graffito as ABCDEFGHI[… It is not clear whether further letters were cut or whether the space after I marks the termination of the original text. The letter forms are of Roman type and unlike modern falsifications. This graffito may have been cut when the bowl was intact or on this sherd after the fracture of the bowl.
If space allows, I should like to include this in my next JRS report.
Yours sincerely R.P.Wright

8th March 1955 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Dear Eve

I am enclosing a copy of Mr Wright’s letter about the Chedworth sherd with the alphabet on it, from which you will see that it is perfectly good Roman graffito. If you felt like it you might drop him a line to say that you would be glad for him to publish it in J.R.S.

Yours ever Joan

25th June 1956 Guildhall Museum, Royal Exchange, London

Dear Dr Harden

Thank you very much for your letter which greeted my return home. France in many ways was maddening…

As regards to Chedworth, I am interested to continue the excavation of the Porter’s Lodge area to see whether there is a definite clue as to what it is..

I don’t like to ask Mr Cook to “wangle” me the extra time off which Chedworth would probably involve. However, if it is a case of now or never with the National Trust I could ask him about the possibility..

I have wondered whether anything should be due in the way of an interim report..should the local archaeological society at least have a note of what was found in their reports…

I hope you enjoy the conference and have good weather Best wishes Yours sincerely Eve

Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol 78 1959

the so-called Porter’s Lodge (Room 2) which was proved by excavations conducted by Miss Eve Rutter, now Mrs Harris, to have had a very different purpose. It proved to have been twice reconstructed, serving as a latrine in the first and second existence, but deprived of the sanitary fittings in the final stage. Sir Ian Richmond

Guildhall Museum Reports..Coleman St. E. Rutter 1956; Lombard St E. Rutter 1957; Clarence Place E.Rutter 1958; Midland Bank Gresham St 1959 E. Harris & and P. Mardsen; Oldgate Hill E. Harris 1960.

19th December 2014

Dear Martin

The Museum of London has forwarded your enquiry to me. I worked with Eve Rutter in the 1950s employed to record the archaeology while the old WWII bomb sites were being developed within the City. She married a John Harris and left the Guildhall Museum in the early 1960s. He was a specialist in the cult of Mithras I think.

Sorry not to be of more help.

With best wishes

Peter
……

Eve Harris and John R. Harris, 1965, The Oriental Cults in Roman Britain.

……

The newly qualified graduate Eve Rutter began modern excavation at Chedworth 60 years ago.. spending the late summer of 1954 at the villa before starting her new job at the Guildhall Museum London.

She arrived during great excitement, the extent of Londinium’s temple of Mithras was beginning to be revealed together with its exotic statues and carvings (see British Archaeology no 140, Jan-Feb 2015). The discovery caused great excitement in the press, thousands queued to visit the site. The P.M., Winston Churchill stepped in to give the archaeologists more time.. but the temple was eventually broken up and re-erected by the building developers.. the structure blocked their construction site.

Museum of London is involved in a new project to rebuild it in a far more authentic way in the next few years using the information collected by the London archaeologists back in 1954.

Through Mithras, Eve met her husband and together they published a definitive work on eastern religions in Roman Britain.

I wonder where her archaeological career took her after that…

It would be good to speak to her about her memories of Chedworth all those years ago.

(These letters were found a couple of weeks ago amongst the Richmond Archive at the Sackler Library, Oxford)