Now that this year’s Truckle Hill excavation has finished its time to start trying to answer all of the lingering and difficult questions we still have about the Truckle Hill Roman bath-house and the mystery buildings underneath it. It is for this reason that the Truckle Hill Research Group has been formed. The group is made up of volunteers from the Truckle Hill excavation. Its purpose will be to increase our understanding of the Truckle Hill site by tying it into the context of the other Iron Age and Roman Archaeology of the area.
The group met for the first time on the 29th of October 2010 at the Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre. The meeting was a great success. The Museum provided tea and coffee, I brought milk and biscuits, and once everyone had a cup of tea we started discussing all of the topics that could be researched that would help us understand the site better. As is to be expected there was some debating as well… particularly about the identity of the base… column, statue, or altar? We still don’t know. Maybe that will be one of the questions that the research group will answer.
By the end of the meeting the Truckle Hill Research Group had decided on what needed to be investigated, and on the form of their next meeting. The main topics of research for the group will be the Iron Age and the Roman archaeology and landscape around Truckle Hill, the wall plaster and the CBM from the site, and the connection between the Truckle Hill bath-house and the Truckle Hill Villa. Some volunteers will be going to records offices and investigating old maps, others will be exploring museum collections for finds from the excavation of the Truckle Hill Villa, and others will be searching for parallels to the earlier period buildings under the bath house.
The group’s next meeting is being planned for January, and will take the form of a field walk and photographic survey to look for material that has fallen away from the villa. I’m sure that by then the Truckle Hill Research Group volunteers will have some new and interesting information to share with each other.