Welcome to the Roman Southwell  community project.

We are a friendly, community archaeology group with an interest in our local heritage. Our aim is to explore the Roman settlement of Southwell and the surrounding region, through active research, landscape studies, practical fieldwork and community events.

ALL our work is funded via fundraising events and public donations – without your support we cannot operate. You can fund our work by donating to the project via our Support Roman Southwell initiative.

 PHASE SEVEN – started October 2017

For more information, visit the About tab, and sign up to follow us!



OCTOBER 2017 – Roman Southwell shortlisted for Aviva Community Fund 

JANUARY 2017 – Roman Southwell shortlisted for Tesco funding

NOVEMBER 2016 – Phase Six crowdfunding campaign now LIVE!!



You can donate or sign up to our project by clicking the image below:


Roman Southwell shortlisted for Tesco funding!

The Roman Southwell Community Project has been shortlisted for a Tesco ‘Bags Of Help’ funding award.

Customers in Tesco stores can vote for their preferred project from one of three choices between 2nd – 28th January 2017. The project with the most votes will receive £5000, second-most votes £2000 and least amount of votes £1000.

Whatever amount we are awarded, the funds will contribute towards our Summer 2017 Community Dig.

You can vote in the following Tesco stores:












ALFRETON        DE55 7BS


Here is the full Press Release:


Involve Heritage CIC calls out for votes to bag a share of bag charge fund

Involve Heritage CIC is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the monthly funding scheme, which sees grants of £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and this month shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Involve Heritage CIC is one of the groups on the shortlist.


The Roman Southwell Community Project seeks to explore the history and archaeology of the Roman landscape at Southwell, Nottinghamshire and the surrounding region. It involves local people working together to undertake fieldwork and documentary research, public events, school activities, fundraising events and a series of talks, walks and publications.

Each summer, it hosts a Community Dig, where students and members of the public can be trained and supported in undertaking an archaeological dig. The project is a joint-venture between Involve Heritage CIC and Community Archaeology specialists MBArchaeology. The project is entirely self-funded through small grants, business sponsorship, public support & donations and a series of fundraising events. It is now in its fourth year.


Project Director Matt Beresford said “ we are delighted to have been chosen for a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ funding award. The funds will go towards out summer dig in 2017 and allow us to undertake further community excavations on our site in Southwell. It will mean we can once again subsidise a number of Community Placements for students and members of the public to get involved and be trained up to Archaeology Skills Passport standards. Please help us secure as much funding as possible by voting in one of our local Tesco stores’.


Voting is open in stores from 2 January to 28 January. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £24 million to more than 2,400 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each month. At the end of each month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for January. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s national Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

The Bags of Help scheme is permanently open for applications and anyone can nominate a project at any time – whether it’s Tesco customers, colleagues or the community groups themselves. Just ask in store for more information or visit the Bags of Help website, visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp/


2017 Dig – booking now!

We are now taking bookings for our Summer 2017 Training Dig!

This year, we found further undisturbed Roman deposits and revealed more information on our Harvey’s Field & Farthingate sites. These included a large ditch identified in 2015 via a geophysical survey which appears to have served as a flood defence for the top end of Farthingate, where we discovered Roman building debris and pottery.

Plans for 2017 include further exploration of the ditch, the rubble deposit and further target areas along Farthingate as we try and understand more about the Roman landscape at Southwell.


No experience is necessary, and full training and support will be provided. Those attending will be trained in fieldwork techniques such as excavation, finds identification, recording, planning, section drawing and height level surveying, and training is geared towards the Archaeology Skills Passports.

Places are limited, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Placements run Mon-Sat each week, and cost £150 per week, or £200 for a fortnight (two consecutive weeks). Each placement week also has extra activities, including a walking tour of the town, a talk on the project’s discoveries over the last 3 seasons, and a social evening get together.

Dates are:

Week One – 3-8 July 2017

Week Two – 10-15 July 2017

Week Three – 17-22 July 2017

Week Four – 24-29 July 2017

To book a place, contact matt@mbarchaeology.co.uk

Farnsfield Camp

Our current research phase sees us investigate the Roman road between Southwell and Osmanthorpe Fort, near Kirklington. We are conducting fieldwalking and geophysics, kindly supported by a grant from the Nineveh Trust, in fields adjacent to the road, and have already recovered lots of Roman pottery.

Our wider research has suggested that the road (which runs southwards to Ad Pontem Fort) continues northwards to Bilsthorpe and beyond, eventually leading to Gleadthorpe Camp near Warsop. This is contrary to previous beliefs, which suggested the road reached Osmanthorpe and then veered westwards and lead to Farnsfield Camp.

However, to further support our belief that the road continued to the north (as opposed to running to the west) we have been examining the 1978 excavations that took place at Farnsfield Camp (see Transactions of the Thoroton Society, Volume 86, 1982), which identified the bank and ditch earthworks of the camp and two terminals that formed the entrance. Interestingly, this aligned perfectly with the modern road, suggesting it still lies on the same route as the Roman road almost 2000 years previously!

Farnsfield Camp


Figure One: Plan of the 1978 excavations at Farnsfield Roman Camp, showing earthwork defences and entrance that aligns with the modern road to Farnsfield. The entrance terminals can be seen in Trenches 1 & 2. (Source: Transactions, Vol. 86, 1982)






With this in mind, it becomes clear that the alignment out towards Osmanthorpe (the previously projected line of the Roman road) is completely wrong. Instead, both roads lead directly to Hexgreave Park (where a Roman lead ingot was recovered many years ago as an isolated find), where they would in fact converge.

So, it seems we may have another target for future research! This is another example of how the Roman Southwell Community Project is changing what we know about the Roman landscape of the region.



Figure Two: Aerial view showing Farnsfield Camp plan in the landscape (top left) and a close-up of how the profile fits the modern road layout (bottom left). Viewed in the wider landscape, it can be seen that both roads are leading towards Hexgreave Park (©MBArchaeology, 2016)