Archaeological Investigations: The Turkdean Roman Villa, Gloucestershire

The purpose of the essay is to critically evaluate the aims, methods, and results of the archaeological studies at Turkdean Roman Villa in Gloucestershire. The investigations involve a Roman building that Mr. Mustoe who owned the location suspected to have existed. The process of investigation begins with the sketch made by Mustoe and proceeds to the geophysical surveys, excavations, and analysis of evidence.

The archeological investigation aims to collect evidence of supporting the belief that a Roman villa existed at the location. Tony Robinson states the suspicion that one of the largest villas lies beneath the field. Other intentions determine the size of the villa, the people who lived there, and the period of its destruction (Turkdean Roman Villa, 2013). The objectives guide the process because they shall note the equipment they collect underneath to assist them with the questions relating to aims.

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The archeologists apply different techniques during their fieldwork. The first technique is sketching. The draft they use is one that Mustoe drew in the summer of 1976. It shows the approximate measurements of the villa and its different sections. They compare the sketch with the aerial photographs. The image shows a faint plan of a series of buildings that surround the central courtyard; the notion leads the archeologists to suspect that the building was a villa (Turkdean Roman Villa, 2013). The investigators interpret the photographs by stating that lighter areas represent dry grass above the buildings foundation (Turkdean Roman Villa, 2013). However, the archaeologists perform a geophysical inquiry to give reliable results of the buildings plan before excavating the site. Robinson explains that they use the method of geophysical investigation because some dry marks are not visible in the photographs. Consequently, geophysics gives them more accurate plan that guides the excavators. They proceed with digging the trenches following the outcomes of the geophysical surveys.

The work of digging the trial trenches is sequential. Holbrook (2004) explains that the trial trenches assisted the scientists with testing their results, and they plowed seven of them at the beginning of the excavation. The Eastern and the Northern trenches were their first trenches. The objective of digging the site is not just to find the villas walls but also to determine its history about 1600 years ago (Turkdean Roman Villa, 2013). The archeologists dig each of the channels strategically. For example, the aim of excavating the trench at the bottom of the valley in the south-west direction was to get data on the palaeoenvironment of the area (Holbrook, 2004, p. 43). Additional four tunnels enabled the scientists to study the geophysical anomalies at the location (Holbrook, 2004). Consequently, the scientific method of geophysics has a crucial role in the work of the archaeologists.

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The video Turkdean Revisited (2013) shows how geophysics enabled the researchers to discover an expansive nature of the Roman Villa that existed on the Plateau. It is a continuation of the process that the archaeologists began a year earlier. The video further reveals that the method of digging trenches under the guidance of the geophysics results helped the researchers to continue with work. The people dig the trenches keenly as they collect the artifacts at the site. For example, they notice that there is stonework that remained abandoned. They also collect five Roman coins at the start of the exercise. They observe that the coins belong to the fourth century, the time when the Villa existed (Turkdean Revisited, 2013). The archaeologists also collect stone fragments that suggest this area was a workshop (Turkdean Revisited, 2013). They also observe a crisp structure representing a barn where the occupants stored their farm produce. The other collections include pottery, jewelery, mosaic fragments, and stones of different shapes (Turkdean Revisited, 2013). Such collections lead the scientists to determine the economic activities of the people who lived in the Villa.

The investigators get their results by observing and measuring evidence at the location. Trench one, for instance, has a rabble foundation that was dry-built (Holbrook, 2004, p. 45). They observe that the stones exist on natural clay (Holbrook, 2004, p. 45). They also found the mortar-stones and measured that they were 1.45m to the Eastern direction. The archeological survey also found the infilling substances such as silt with fine grains and abundant charcoal. Holbrook (2004) explains that the infillings presented anomalies as the geophysics survey results did not indicate them. Such findings indicate that it is improper to rely on the outcomes of the survey. Excavating the site gives the results that the survey does not reveal.

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The examination of the seventh trench found a bowl furnace on a surface with compacted clay (Holbrook, 2004, p. 49). The circular bowls diameter was 0.4 m and its depth was 0.17 m (Holbrook, 2004, p. 49). The results also included a scrap iron box fitting with a loop-hinge. Furthermore, the activity found that industrialization activity occurred in the area. Trench 9 was about 100 m to the East of the central villa complex. The researchers found that the trench had a strong magnetic anomaly. The area had charcoal deposits and slag fragments. The archaeologists interpreted the magnetic effect in trench 9 as an indication of the industrialization activities or the remains of a heating system that the inhabitants used (Holbrook, 2004, p. 49). The investigators also found a quarry pit in the tenth trench, suggesting the mining practices of the people who occupied the villa about 360 A.D. (Holbrook, 2004, p. 53).

In conclusion, the archeological investigation of Turkdean found that the Romans occupied the villa in about the 4th century. The researchers used geophysics to develop the plan that they would use during the excavation. However, the surveys did not reveal some anomalies discovered during the excavations, e.g. the charcoal deposits and the magnetic materials. The archeological process at the Turkdean plateau is procedural as it involves sketching the site, conducting geophysics studies, excavating the place, and collecting various artifacts and observations that determine the lifestyle and economic activities of the inhabitants. The study establishes that the villa belonged to the Romans who practiced farming, industrialization, and mining.

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