Broughton Roman Villa discovery leads to new group set-up

Broughton Castle Roman archaeology. Site view. NNL-181004-171109009
Broughton Castle Roman archaeology. Site view. NNL-181004-171109009

The discovery of the site of a Roman Villa on the Broughton Castle estate has led to the formation of a new local history group.

The organisation is being set up to find ways of increasing and sharing knowledge and information gleaned by historical and archeological groups and drive research.

Mark Bletchley, new history group formed out of the Roman Villa discovery. NNL-180611-143537009

Mark Bletchley, new history group formed out of the Roman Villa discovery. NNL-180611-143537009

The group is called the ITHAS project – Itinerary Triangle History and Archeological Society. The triangle is the area between the Roman roads Watling Street, Akeman Street and Fosse Way and ITHAS will concentrate initially on the northern section of the triangle.

Started up by Keith Westcott, who discovered the Broughton Villa, it is headed by Mark Bletchly of Bloxham

Mr Westcott said: “While there is much more work to be carried out on the Broughton Villa, the discovery puts our area firmly on the map of ancient Britain and there are many more surprises yet to be found.”

Mr Bletchley said: “Banbury was greatly altered during the English Civil War (1642–1651) and there is limited evidence to put the area significantly back in time.

“Recent improvements in technology change the scope of the possibilities. Forming this society allows the work and knowledge of many local groups to be shared, collated, archived and published. We will look to survey sites with geophysics technology while physically inspecting existing sites and investigating new sites.

“Our members range from active archaeologists and historians to those who are interested in local heritage and keen to help out with research.

“The Broughton discovery raises many questions that we look to answer. A member has proposed a fascinating ancient route from the Roman town of Bannaventa on Watling Street directly to the villa.

“Our theory is that the escarpment through Edgehill was an important stronghold for not just Romano Britain but as a strategic border between Iron Age tribes who we hope to identify through coins already recorded.

“Our first evaluation of a site north of Banbury has revealed an Iron Age farmstead with a stone roundhouse, inner gulley and many storage pits.

“This is one of many sites to investigate and if deemed a site that requires excavating we’ll set up our first dig.”

An initial meeting is being set up. To be involved, contact Mr Bletchly at markbithas@gmail.com