Broadcast 11 November 2012
Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd to undertake a programme of archaeological recording and post-excavation work on an archaeological evaluation undertaken by Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ at the site of Belton House, Belton, Lincolnshire (NGR 494078, 338670).
This evaluation, consisting of eight trenches, was primarily focused on the Great War era training camp. Though structural remains from this encampment proved elusive, the investigation did find a substantial artefactual assemblage which vividly illustrated many aspects of ordinary, everyday camp life.
The investigation confirmed the basic layout of the camp as illustrated on a contemporary plan, but this work has made clear that a detailed assessment of the development and structure of the camp would be best addressed through contemporary maps, photographs and personnel recollections.
Contemporary photographs of the camp under construction show the huts as timber-framed, of standardised construction and raised from the ground. Consequently, few traces of these structures remain, with utility pipes and drains in many cases being all that can be located archaeologically.
Due to well documented changes in uniform design and the use of branded regimental items, the finds evidence has perhaps the greatest archaeological potential to illustrate the development of the camp and the location of the different regiments stationed here.
The evidence suggests that fairly quickly after the camp was decommissioned the buildings were comprehensively dismantled and the land returned to parkland. One of the huts is known to have been reused as a village hall at Denton and it is likely that other huts may also have been salvaged for civilian use.
Although almost all the archaeological deposits were modern, a single sherd from a ditch in Trench 8 suggests Romano-British activity in the vicinity. A ditch encountered in Trench 4 may also be an earlier feature.