South Cadbury Environs Project

Project Description:

Excavations at Cadbury Castle in Somerset by Leslie Alcock between 1966 and 1973 revealed one of the largest and most complete ceramic sequences for the Late Bronze Age/pre-Roman Iron Age in Britain (Alcock 1972, 1980). Additionally, there was important evidence of Neolithic settlement, and outstanding remains of post-Roman/Early Medieval occupation on the hill top (Alcock 1995). Preparation of the results for publication is now well advanced, through the corporate efforts of Professor Alcock and a range of specialist contributors coordinated through the Universities of Glasgow and Birmingham (Barrett et al., 2000).

Following upon the heels of this project, and the input of a distinguished local amateur tradition, campaigns of archaeological survey and excavation in the two decades since have focused particularly upon the Romano-British and Medieval periods in South East Somerset. Motivated both by academic research and the opportunities provided by the development and land use threats, project research has concentrated upon such topics as Romano-British settlement in the region (Leech 1977), the Roman and Medieval towns of Ilchester (Leach 1982 & 1994), urban settlements (Aston & Leech 1977), Medieval rural settlements (Ellison 1983) and, most recently, the Roman town and its hinterland at Shepton Mallet (Leach 1991 and forthcoming). In the same period have come the publications of excavations and research on several other major archaeological sites in the region, and of local historical and documentary research, including a Victoria County History volume. The last phase of funding (AHRB) enabled innovative GIS-based analysis to be developed for geophysical feature dating based on Network Analysis and colluviation modelling.

The Project is distinguished by its use of geophysical survey as its main tool which, coupled with ploughzone sampling techniques, is generating phaseable maps of former land division in the landscape surrounding Cadbury Castle.The website contains general overviews of the work, links to publications, photographs of the finds, a database of volunteer opportunities, and a interactive area for registered users.