The site of Wessex Archaeology West’s excavation at the Hucclecote Centre, Hucclecote lies to the north of a Roman villa which is known from excavations undertaken by Canon Bazeley in 1911 and E.M. Clifford in 1933. The earliest parts of the Hucclecote villa complex are thought to have been built c. AD 150, but the presence of pottery below its floors suggested that there was an early Romano-British settlement pre-dating it.
The earliest features identified by our excavation consisted of heavily truncated ditches which may have formed part of an early/mid-Romano-British coaxial field system. However, there appeared to have been a major re-organisation in the mid/late-Romano-British period, during which the earlier field system was replaced by a more extensive one that not only respected the alignment of the villa but also incorporated a metalled road leading towards it.
The majority of these later ditches contained 3rd–4th-century finds – mainly pottery, animal bone and ceramic and stone building materials – which probably reflect various phases of expansion and development of the villa at that time. The later ditches were regularly re-cut along the same or similar alignments until at least the late 4th century.
Occupation to the east of the road appears to have been more intensive than simply fields. The remains of pits, water holes, postholes, gullies and a row of small enclosures were revealed in this area – but no evidence for buildings. The animal bone and charred plant remains indicate a mixed economy, with cattle predominant amongst the livestock species.
The presence of very late 4th/early 5th-century pottery in a ditch flanking the road may indicate that the road continued in use into the post-Roman period. Several pits that contained building rubble and late Romano-British pottery were potentially of a similar date. However, a large pit containing several sherds of organic-tempered pottery dating to around the 6th century provided the first clear evidence for Saxon occupation in the vicinity of the villa.
Extensive remains of medieval/post-medieval ridge and furrow cultivation were found across the site. The alignment of the ridge and furrow appeared to respect the Romano-British ditches, which suggests that at least some of them, and possibly also the road, were still visible in the landscape in the medieval period.