Gloucester dig, Slimbridge 16th July 100 acres + of pasture and barley stubble.

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A real treat for anyone coming to Slimbridge tomorrow. Apart from TWO barley fields we also have pasture. Hmmm, what’s exciting about pasture I hear you ask? Well, this particular parcel of land is behind the church and has been used as a walkway to the church for as long as been known. Footpaths criss-crossing it and one section leading right up to the graveyard ( no, you can’t detect the graveyard!!!) Added to this we have the 6 Roman roads surrounding us so I am expecting an exciting day for finds tomorrow.

The postcode for this dig takes us to the heart of Slimbridge near to the village church of St John the Evangelist which dates from the early 13th century and is a grade I listed building. There are 6 Roman roads identified in this area and various Roman villas. The following write up, with special thanks to Slimbridge Dowsing Group says it all really! We have the area, hopefully we will have the finds!

“One of the main features of Roman roads is that they are usually remarkably straight. There is a theory that this may be because the Romans used dowsing to plot the route in the first place. If you stand in Bath and ask your dowsing rods the whereabouts of Salisbury, you will get a one-direction straight answer.

Originally built 8 or 9 metres across, these roads gave marching Roman legions clear passage, and allowed carts and wagons room to pass with ease.

The manpower must have been impressive. They would first remove the topsoil, dig one or two ditches either side for drainage, protected by kerb stones, then build up layers of hardcore, shale and sand. Creating a good camber called an ‘agger’ to aid drainage, it was then covered with flat, dressed stones called pavers (hence pavement).

Below image shows sites of six Roman roads in Slimbridge itself, including Moorend Lane and Longaston Lane, and one crossing the River Cam. The A38 was a Roman road too, although the Romans probably didn’t call it that, and originally went from Gloucester to Bath.

Roman roads around Slimbridge

slimbridge map with no locations
The River Cam at Cambridge, where three roads join the A38, was an important junction in those days. Today the river goes under the road, but in Roman times there was a bridge (hence Cambridge). It would have been a lot deeper and easily navigable, and there would have been a wharf too. Note Wharf Farm nearby.
By dowsing in the Cemetery field behind the village hall car park, Peter found indications of Roman occupation, including a well, stables, a fuel store, and a food store with no doorway but steps going up the outside, which would have deterred rats. There was also a large building with a furnace, possibly used as a bath house. All this was mostly built in the early Roman period, i.e. first and second centuries.

Archaeologists investigating the Forge orchard beside the village hall also produced finds dating from the same period, some of them imported continental items. Peter has also found indications of three Roman villas in the Parish”.



Please note: We expect all finds to be shown for photographing, all items considered treasure for the finder to provide identification and a contact number. Whilst it is not our responsibility to report items of treasure found on our digs, we will advise the finder to do so and expect confirmation it has been done. And find of this nature not reported will entail the finders details being passed to the relevant authority.


The dig will will commence at 08:30 after a 5 minute briefing. There will be cold drinks only available throughout the day. The postcode will be published on here and on Facebook the evening prior to the dig. Please be aware that we expect all holes to be back filled on all land types and anyone caught failing to follow this rule will be asked to leave the event immediately and will not be welcome on any further Lets Go Diffing events.

Slimbridge Dig


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Registration closes at 15-07-2017 23:30

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  1. Profile photo of Janet and L

    Janet and L

    June 14, 2017

    Hi, my 9 yo would like to attend. She has the detector, husband & I will be there to supervise her. Please book her in, thanks

    • Profile photo of Joanne Boyce

      Joanne Boyce

      June 22, 2017

      Hi Janet, thank you for letting us know, there is no need to register her as she will be digging free of charge due to being under 14. Thanks Joe

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