The Museum Research Group

Bradford on Avon Museum, Wiltshire


A group of Bradford on Avon Museum Society members, led by the former Wiltshire County Archaeologist Roy Canham, is researching all aspects of the archaeology and history of the town and Hundred of Bradford.

A Geographical Information System has been acquired so that landscape history can be plotted on a series of historical maps.

Members of the group recently investigated Iron Age, Roman and Medieval pottery and other items from the Budbury area of the town that had been collected by the late Adrian Powell. Each piece was examined to try to determine its date and locality of production and some were drawn accurately for illustration. This resulted in the group publishing a report on their findings –

Brown, Ritchie, Roy Canham, Roger Clark, Becky Clarke, Mark Corney, Sue Grier, Sophie Hawke, Heather Knight, Jane Mann & Gill Winfield 2019. The archaeology of Budbury, Bradford-on-Avon. Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine, volume 112, pp. 85-110.


Budbury Excavation 2010

Archaeological excavation

The Museum Society assisted in a small excavation in the garden of  a member in the Budbury area of Bradford after a buried cobble floor was found in 2010. The dig was extended laterally and downwards and was successful in locating the edge of the defensive ditch of the Early Iron Age hillfort. Another dig in the same garden in 2012 seems to confirm the extent of both the cobbled area and the Iron Age ditch below it.

A geophysics survey was carried out at Budbury Farm, across the road and the results were interpreted as being a Roman building, causing some excitement at the prospect of another villa. However, excavations found what seems to have been shallow quarrying activity of a kind that was undertaken widely over the Budbury-Bearfield area.  Other excavations in the area found what is probably the Iron Age ditch with a deposit of the red iron oxide mineral haematite, but a possible Roman building proved to be enigmatic.

All this work came to fruition in the publication by the Museum Research Group of an article in the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Magazine, volume 112, pp. 85-110 in 2019.

Community excavations have also been carried out in Rick Field, next to the Barton Farm Tithe Barn and in Victory Field in Pound Lane. The main feature that geophysics showed turned out to be a spread of clinker, but the small ridge that is topped by the boundary wall shows signs of being ancient. See Roy Canham 2016. Excavations in Rick Field. Camertonia, volume 53, pp. 30-33.

In 2016 members of the Museum Research Group took part as volunteers in Wessex Archaeology’s investigations related to work being carried out in and around Holy Trinity church. Here are two members cleaning bones in the church (opens in a new tab).

Initial LIDAR results - area south of WinsleyAncient Landscapes of the Bradford Hundred

This was a Heritage Lottery-funded project to plot features in the landscape using a LiDAR survey, aerial photographs, old maps and fieldwork. Follow the Ancient Landscapes Blog on this website for more detail and information on the project’s progress.



Geophysical exploration

Early in 2020, with the aid of a grant from the Bradford on Avon Area Board of Wiltshire Council, Bradford on Avon Museum acquired equipment for measuring soil electrical resistivity -sensitive geophysics kit that members of the Research Group will be using to investigate potential sites of archaeological interest. Exploration using the equipment has so far looked at an area of Broughton Gifford Common, with some excavation of small test pits there and at the site of the deserted medieval village at Rowley.