Several people have asked Nursery teacher Mrs Bedford for an update on the archaeological work at Boxford that was reported on this website and elsewhere in the autumn of 2017. This followed the discovery of the unique late Roman mosaic floor in 2017 depicting scenes from the Greek myth of Bellerophon and other mythological elements. We were unable to revisit the site in 2018 due to a short window between harvest and replanting of crops so we are using the time to catch up with report writing and concentrate on fund raising for this summer.
The plan is to return in August/September and reveal the mosaic in its entirety for recording, do further investigations at the other end of the villa in the bath house and do some smaller targeted excavations in the middle to see if we can establish a room layout (and see whether there are more mosaics present!).
If we raise the necessary funds we hope to be digging for three weeks followed by another week where the professional archaeologists will be completing the recording. Unfortunately (for me) this will clash with the beginning of the new term just as things are getting most exciting!! I'll have to persuade the team to leave me a corner to uncover after school!
The project is a community based effort with volunteers from the local villages and archaeological societies with the excavation being supervised by the professionals from Cotswold Archaeology. This team and their equipment needs to be budgeted for and with the post excavation costs (expert analysis of finds and environmental samples etc) it all adds up to a dizzy sum. Our colleagues in the Boxford History Project are responsible for the fund raising and have set a sum of £60,000 to cover all eventualities. To try to achieve this they have set up a Good Exchange crowd funding account at https://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/12262/boxford-history-project/the-wondrous-boxford-mosaic where anybody can support the cause at a click of a button!
We have received 62% of the full amount so far with help from the Greenham Common Trust who have very generously agreed to match donations pound for pound up to a maximum of £5000, which it is now approaching. If anyone works in a company who fund matches and you think they may be interested then please get in touch, all contributions will be very gratefully received! If we don't reach the full amount we will still be going back there but it may be with a slightly reduced scope.
At the end of the dig there will be an open day for the public to view this exceptional example of late Roman art and I think enquiries have already been made from a few TV channels who are interested in filming the process! The open day will be advertised in the Newbury Weekly News and probably Radio Berkshire closer to the time.