"Maintaining the best standards of independent archaeology."

Medieval Mason's Marks

Medieval Masons Marks

Fieldwork Projects

SOAG has actively been engaged in fieldwork for many years from the excavation of paleolithic flints by the Thames to recording Cold War architecture. Projects can involve anything from simple excavation with a trowel to fieldwalking and landscape surveys using the latest geophysical techniques.
Our projects welcome both those who are new to archaeology and those with many years experience.

Projects active in 2022



Smokedown is a site in West Oxfordshire that has been identified as being rich in evidence of Romano-British activity. Over a 140 coins have been found by metal detectorists, and there is a plentiful scatter of Romano-British pottery together with lydions (or, possibly roof tiles) and numerous fragments of flue tile, suggesting the presence of either a hypocaust or bathhouse, and therefore a possible villa. The project began in 2020-21 with an extensive geophysical survey ansd some exploratory trenches, as a result of which we anticipate a long-term project   The sheduled dates for fieldwork this year can be found in: SOAG Calendar.
To participate email: smokedown@soagarch.org.uk


Wyfold Grange

A new SOAG project in 2022

This project, aimed at unravelling the origins and development of Wyfold Grange, was launched at the beginning of 2022.  Its main objectives are:

* to try to establish, by excavation, the nature and extent of the earthwork enclosure and in particular any evidence for dating

* to carry out geophysical surveys in the open spaces of the site.  A particular aim is to see if the medieval manor house can be located.

* to understand more about the pond and its potential water sources by core sampling (augering) and hydrological research. 

* to establish archaeological walks around the site in order to bring information about the history of the area to members of SOAG and the wider public.

Fieldwork is scheduled for the Spring of 2022.  If you would like to join the project please email us at wyfold@soagarch.org.uk . SOAG members can find further project information including the project leadership team, the project plan, and the project dates, in the Members Area at this link. [The members login details can be found at the head of any edition of SOAG Messenger]

Goring Heath Landscape Study

The SOAG Goring Heath Landscape Study began in early 2020 in response to the Chilterns Conservation Board’s (National Lottery Heritage Fund funded) 'Beacons of the Past' (BotP) Project.
The BotP project recently (2019) completed a high-resolution LiDAR survey of the AONB, and has as one of it purposes to kick start Citizen Science projects, using the Lidar maps as the starting point and with initial support from the BotP project. Click here for more details of the SOAG Study
, which in 2022 has moved into it final documentary phase.  goringheath@soagarch.org.uk


Roman Villa Excavation

Note that fieldwork at this project is now finished
and we enter a period of post-excavation work.
See our villa pages for more details.
For more information please contact: villa@soagarch.org.uk.

Our most exciting recent find at the Roman Villa is an almost complete example of a 3rdC AD drinking beaker made in Trier. See and manipualte a 3-D model. Click here 


Broken Roman Pot

Romano-British site near Harpsden
(otherwise known as the High Wood project)

This woodland site has been subjected to extensive damage by metal detectorists since the 1970s and possibly earlier by antiquarian diggings in earlier decades. . It was partially investigated on a separate part of the site by HAHG (Henley Archaeological and Historical Group) during the 1970s and 1980s when a supposed windmill mound was probed. It has been known about as a Roman site but never investigated.

In 2014 extensive initial clearance work by SOAG members was followed by partial in-house geophysical survey work supported by Reading University and separate GPR scanning. These surveys were not conclusive due to exceptional conditions. Exploratory test pitting in 2015 indicated extensive damage to the terrain and potential structures covering an area of some 1500 sq m. The site resembled a First World War battlefield. Walls and flooring from Roman buildings have now been uncovered, and in late 2021 it was discovered to be the site of a Romano-British temple, a regionally-significant discovery. (We work in association with landowners, the Phillimore Estate.)

(Note that fieldwork at this project finished in 2021, and in 2022 the project is in its post-excavation phase.)

Ascott Park

Ascott Park, close to the village of Stadhampton, has a mystery at its heart concerning a lost manor house. Extensive research and fieldwork undertaken in recent years, by and on behalf of Oxfordshire Buildings Trust (OBT), to try to confirm where it stood, seems only to have compounded the mystery. SOAG accepted an invitation to continue fieldwork which so far has mainly involved geophysical surveys.. The project was revived in 2018 in a three year project finally to determine the location of the house. Visit our project page for more of the history and details of the project.
(Note that fieldwork at this project finished in 2021, and the project is now in its post-excavation phase.)

Exlade Street Hamlet & Landscape Archaeology Survey

In the 1980s SOAG’s founder, Cynthia Graham Kerr, researched the buildings and landscape of Exlade Street, near Woodcote. SOAG and The Oxfordshire Woodland Group are now taking up where Cynthia left off, leading a new multipart project, which includes: searching for lost buildings; understanding how local timber buildings were constructed; and studying how the local woodlands were exploited for these purposes, in particular how extant sawpits were used to convert timbers.
For more informatiomn conact:
2020 update:
An exploratory dig of some features on the land is took place as part of SOAG's Goring Heath Study . For this activity contact: goringheath@soagarch.org.uk

Projects that are suspended or recently completed



Ewelme Hundred VCH project

Victoria County History (Oxfordshire) were currently researching the history of the parishes of the Ewelme Hundred. SOAG were partners in this project. See our Ewelme Hundred VCH project page for more information.
Group Photograph in Rain
Blewbury Big Dig
Blewbury runs a village archaeology programme in which SOAG are partners, and to which SOAG members (and others) are invited to participate. For more information about the project see the project website. Fieldwork dates are advertised in the SOAG calendar, and to participate email blewbury@soagarch.org.uk.

Emmer Green

Aerial photography of the recreation ground shows circular parch marks that may indicate the presence of the remains of Bronze Age barrows. A joint project between SOAG and the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG) wit the help of Reading University conducted a geophysical survey of the main features. See our project page for more details.

Gregan Hane

Gregan Hane near Highmoor in the Chilterns has been identified as being a medieval enclosure suggestions for its date ranging from Saxon to 13th/ 14th century. SOAG conducted a test dig in 2013. See the project website. 

Ancient Mound

A SOAG member spotted the mound in a Chilterns field in his youth in the early 1950s and discovered that it had been neither recorded nor studied. Personally convinced that it dated from the Bronze Age, starting in 2007 he organised a variety of geophysical and mapping surveys of the site in which many SOAG members have been involved.
See our Ancient Mound project pages.
Group Photograph in Rain

Brightwell Baldwin Community History and Archaeology Project (BBCHAP)

BBCHAP is a community based project being run in association with the South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group (SOAG). It is a long term research project, centred on the parish of Brightwell Baldwin but extending into the surrounding parishes.
See our BBCHAP project pages for more information
View into Trench

Search for the Lost Church of Bix Gibwyn

Operating on behalf of the Victoria County History Oxfordshire survey, SOAG investigated the medieval manorial centres at Bix Gibwyn and Bix Brand, in particular looking for evidence of the lost parish church of Bix Gibwyn.
See our Bix Gibwyn project pages for more information..
Skeleton and Drawing Frame