Chew Park Roman Villa

Villa

A stone built six roomed farmhouse of corridor type with projecting wings and a room between, leaving a probably open courtyard. Only two rooms had plastered walls. The roof was of the usual hexagonal pennant tiles with Bath Stone coping. Finds giving a date for the villa ranged from the late 3rd century to the late 4th century when it was deserted. They included one infant burial, four ovens, numerous bronze, bone and iron objects, pottery and coins. A corn drying oven was at ST56695928. 35 feet south east of the house frontage was a 30 feet deep well which originally had a free stone well head. The well produced a wealth of material from about 290 AD to 350 AD. Finds included, pottery, coins, metal objects, pewter and copper vessels, leather shoes and fragments of writing tablets with ink inscriptions. The latter are the only examples found in Britain.

The earliest material recovered included Palaeolithic flint blades. There was also structural evidence of a Neolithic settlement comprising a building and pit. Bronze Age features included a cremation and a range of flint implements including a barbed and tanged arrowhead and pottery. There were also three phases of an Iron Age settlement identified.

The Roman activity comprised a timber building, and 3rd century iron smelting. In the late 3rd – late 4th century the building was succeeded by a winged corridor villa. This was accompanied by lime kilns and a corn drying oven. An infant burial was also recorded.