Celebration Event, The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset – June 2012

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HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex says a few words at the Bishop's Palace Celebration Event

We were honoured to have attended the Celebration Event at The Bishop’s Palace, Wells last evening at the invitation of Bishop Peter of Bath & Wells and his wife, Dee Price. The highlight was the attendance of HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex who is the Bishop’s Palace Appeal Patron.


For the Palace, this marks the culmination of a fundraising campaign that began in 2004 and which has seen the construction of a new visitor’s centre, education centre and improvements to the undercroft. A newly created Garden of Reflection will also serve as a ‘landform sculpture’ to view the Palace and Cathedral.


Context One is proud to have been commissioned to carry out the archaeological work as part of these exciting projects since 2010 and the present programme will shortly draw to a close following the completion of the Garden of Reflection.


The Celebration Event may have been the Palace’s thank you to all those many organisations and individuals that has helped see the fruition of Bishop Peter’s vision, but, in turn, we would like to thank all of our staff, past and present, for their contribution to the excavations and making sense of some complicated archaeology. Visitors to the Palace must have often wondered why the moat was drained and filled so many times, not knowing of course that only when it was empty could we dig without our trenches being flooded! We also saw all the seasons in their extremes and I suppose it was fitting that the extremes of the British summer weather did not let us down on the night and the rain promptly fell like stair rods!


The job now is to piece together all the evidence that we have gathered in the last 18 months and shed new light on the fascinating history of the Palace. Watch this space….

PRESS RELEASE: Roman remains discovered in Bath

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Roman remains discovered in Bath

An archaeological excavation currently being undertaken by Context One, on behalf of Ashford Homes, on the corner of Bathwick Street and Henrietta Road, Bathwick, have uncovered the remains of several Roman structures with associated features, as well as a Roman road surface.

Based on some of the finds recovered so far, it appears to be an early Roman site. A preliminary look at the structures suggests we’ve discovered at least one dwelling, divided into both domestic and industrial areas, the latter comprise various external surfaces and boundary walls.

We have also revealed a Roman road crossing the site. This is constructed from a number of layers that have built up over some time, suggesting the road was in continued use. Several exterior (possible yard) surfaces have also been uncovered adjacent to the road.

A large number of smaller features (including various pits) have been revealed during the initial cleaning of the site. Whilst some of these almost certainly post-date the structures and road surface, others may prove to be contemporary.

We are in the initial stages of our investigation and are likely to be on site for at least the next month. Updates on our progress will be forwarded to the local press but for more immediate information we will be posting here on our website.


A very happy Christmas to you all…

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We would like to wish all of our clients, associates and website friends a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Thanks to everyone for making 2011 such an archaeological treat.

As we approach the end of a busy year, it seems an opportune time to tell you about the charity that we will be supporting, not only this Christmas, but into the future. The charity we have chosen is Never Give Up, a foundation that was set up by my sister-in-law, Pamela McConnell, in honour of her daughter and my niece, Abbi. Abbi passed away in 2010, aged just 17, after a valiant battle against cancer.

In the last months of her short life, Abbi turned her thoughts, not to her own struggle, but to her family, friends and the numerous medical professionals who supported her tirelessly. She recognised that in many cases, those looking after a loved one with a terminal illness need support too and Never Give Up was founded to serve that principle.

Brickfield Offices in the snow...

Our small contribution to the memory of Abbi is to raise money at various public events in the Context One calendar. This year it included a collection during two Open Days that we held at our Maperton Offices as part of the Festival of  British Archaeology and a donation instead of sending out corporate Christmas cards. Personally, I also spent an exciting and yet poignant two weeks with my brother, Jeremy (Abbi’s Dad), back in May as he cycled the length of the country from John O’Groats to Lands End on his 30 year old bike! Not bad for someone who isn’t a cyclist! He raised nearly £5,000 and I was honoured to support him. We kept a daily blog and it’s well worth a read for all the ups and downs of this mammoth journey.

A new challenge is being planned for 2012 and we will be bringing you all the news as our plans are refined. In the meantime, if you attend any of our public events, then you will see us with collecting bucket in hand!

We look forward to working with all our partners in 2012.

Richard McConnell on behalf of all at Context One.

Any ideas?

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Do you know what these might be?

They comprise five discs made of hard chalk with a central hole. They were found ‘stacked’ in an upright position and set into a shallow pit. The top half of each disc had been destroyed by modern ploughing.

They were found as part of an evaluation in the summer of 2011 on a site at Grimstone, about 6km north-west of Dorchester in Dorset. A number of other features close by were largely Iron Age and included ritual pits, ditches, post holes and a discontinuous ring ditch thought to enclose a meeting space with a central totem.

So far, It has been suggested that similar discs were found on Purbeck and that they were Romano-British in date and somehow connected with shale or pottery working. We have no more information than that at present.

If anyone has any ideas, we would only be too pleased to hear from you. Please feel free to send any suggestions using the comment box below. Thanks.

Where there’s a wall…

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Where there’s a wall, particularly an old wall, you can sometimes find odd items embedded in it. These are often bits of stone that are out of place with the rest of the wall, on occasions they can be finely sculpted pieces. Such foreign items are nearly always from the demolition or robbing of another building, quite often close by. Occasionally, more random items are found cemented into a wall and some can be rather intriguing… Continue reading…