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Kingsclere Heritage Association

Archaeology

The Kingsclere Heritage Association and the University of Southampton have carried out a range of archaeological investigations since 2003. Excavations have taken place every September since 2004. The investigations started as the landowner, Mr Raleigh Place, thought that he may have a Roman Villa on his land as he was finding large quantities of Roman pottery and tile in one of his fields. An old aerial photograph of another one of his fields also showed a large enclosure and local historian Robert Legge thought that this might be Henry II’s missing hunting lodge ‘Titegrove’ .

Tidgrove Warren Farm lies half way between Kingsclere and Overton. The farm is close to where the medieval road known as the Green Way is believed to have run and within the area which was known as Freemantle Forest during the medieval period.

The main research questions that we have sought to answer were:

  • How has the landscape of this area of downland changed in the past 10,000 years?
  • How has the pattern of settlement and land use developed and changed in the prehistoric and historic periods?
  • Has the environment in this area of downland altered, and how has this affected human habitation in the area?
  • What evidence exists to support the phases of settlement in the study area?
  • What evidence exists to demonstrate the social and economic organisation of the landscape, and how were the resources of the study area organised in the prehistoric and historic periods.

The excavations have mostly been held at Tidgrove Warren Farm. Other sites that have been excavated include at Freemantle Park Farm in 2008, Park House Stables in 2009 and Kingsclere Primary School in 2010. At Tidgrove sites containing archaeological data have been located across the farm and four main areas have been investigated in greater detail. The excavations have been carried out every September. Other investigations such as topographic and geophysical surveys have been carried out throughout the years, mainly in the spring, although the archaeology group of the Kingsclere Heritage Association also spend one weekend a month surveying local sites and monuments. All the sites mentioned are shown on the map with their site codes.

A wide variety of sites from a variety of periods have been investigated and a range of techniques have been employed. The people working on the sites have been a mixture of professional archaeologists who have taught and directed local volunteers and students from the University of Southampton. In 2010 children from Kingsclere Primary school helped with test-pits in their playing field. Open days for the public to come and look around the excavations were held in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 & 2010.

The Kingsclere Heritage Association and the University of Southampton have carried out a range of archaeological investigations since 2003. Excavations have taken place every September since 2004. The investigations started as the landowner, Mr Raleigh Place, thought that he may have a Roman Villa on his land as he was finding large quantities of Roman pottery and tile in one of his fields. An old aerial photograph of another one of his fields also showed a large enclosure and local historian Robert Legge thought that this might be Henry II’s missing hunting lodge ‘Titegrove’ .

Tidgrove Warren Farm lies half way between Kingsclere and Overton. The farm is close to where the medieval road known as the Green Way is believed to have run and within the area which was known as Freemantle Forest during the medieval period.

The investigations would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers and university staff involved. Firstly Janet Bond, Mike Leah, Peter Woodman and Peter Goff and Keith Whiteman from the Kingsclere Heritage Association. Kristian Strutt has been the site director, he has been ably assisted by Dom Barker, David Hinton and Linda Mitchell amongst others.

The excavations were funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund along with grants from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and our local councillors as well as funding from the University of Southampton.

Authors: Rachel Williams & Kristian Strutt
resharland@btinternet.com
kds@soton.ac.uk