The small Roman building on the Downs above Bishopstone is well documented and has been known about since the 1940s. Excavations were also carried out there by archaeologists in the 1960s.
Further to the west and up the slope there once was a large settlement that spanned the time frame from the late Iron Age and right through the Roman period. The photographs attached to this listing show the location and the site, with photo number 4 showing the general area covered by the settlement. We learned this information from two keen metal detectorists who covered the site extensivley during the second half of the 1980s.
They report that they found hundreds and possibly thousands of coins, brooches and pottery. Some of the coins were rare and included gold and silver Celtic Stators and Roman Denari, and they even found Saxon coins. There were also hammered silver coins that went up to Elizabeth I, so it would seem that the site has been extensively used over a long period.
Some of the coins survive by way of photographs taken at the time, but they are somewhat crude by the standard of photography today. The detectorists freely admit that they were in it for the money and most of the coins were sold to dealers and collectors. However, they also feel that the site should be known about for future historians and archaeologists and ask not to be judged too harshly. At that period in time, life was tough for the two detectorists and the proceeds from the coins paid many daily household bills.
We are always on the look-out for more information about Shrivenham and district. If you have old photos, know of historical facts, old documents (especially deeds) please contact us...
If you would like to view any item please visit the centre on Tuesdays & Thursdays between 10 am - 12 noon. We can also open outside of these hours with prior arrangement.