‘Pewter Field’ survey ends in the wet

BACAS has completed its survey of the ‘Pewter Field’, a Romano-British settlement site on the north-east corner of the Lansdown plateau, despite snow drifts at the beginning and driving rain and hail towards the end. Lansdown proved, once again, that it can have a hostile climate. Resistance and magnetometry surveys were completed across the whole field, plus a magnetic susceptability survey and some resistance profiles.

Extreme measuring – the northern scarp is very steep

This project is a part of the Lansdown Environs Archaeological Project (LEAP), recently set up by BACAS to coordinate investigation of the Lansdown area. The project director of LEAP is BACAS’s Director of Archaeology, Robin Holley. Excavations over the years on the site east of Sir Bevil Grenville’s Monument have confirmed the presence of considerable development in this area in Roman times. Many of the finds are in the Roman Baths Museum.

The field has a number of ridges covering the remains of walls, with evidence of a number of rooms on an east-west axis, though the full extent is not known. Six buildings were excavated in 1905-08, and seven stone coffins and evidence of iron smelting were found. Excavation in 1962-3 revealed numbers of moulds and iron slag suggesting industrial activity.

Pewter Field Project Leader Janet Pryke said: “… as a whole this geophysics has been very successful, and could not have been completed without all [the volunteers’] help and support, so a great big thank you comes to everyone who helped during it.” The next stage is to produce a report with an interpretation of the findings.

Thanks go to the landowners for the permission to carry out this work, to Richard Sermon (Bath and North East Somerset Senior Archaeological Officer), and Historic England for consent to work on this Scheduled Monument. The project ran every day from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 29th March.