Uncovering the Ancient Peoples of Leicestershire

by Rupert Birtwistle in Thorpe Arnold, England, United Kingdom

Uncovering the Ancient Peoples of Leicestershire


raised in 416 days



Discovering prehistoric settlements through geophysical survey in Scalford, Leicestershire for commencement of community excavations

by Rupert Birtwistle in Thorpe Arnold, England, United Kingdom

Extensive survey near the village of Scalford in Leicestershire, has highlighted significant prehistoric activity in the vicinity. Flint objects dating from a number of periods, including the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age have been recovered in their thousands and suggest long-term occupation in a number of localities. The study area already possesses a Roman villa, barrows and enclosures, visible on aerial photography. To understand the network of prehistoric sites in the area a program of geophysics is required over a very large area to reveal the secrets of this hidden landscape. We need your support to fund geophysical survey of this nationally important site.


Over the past 20 years, retired science lecturer, Dr Alan Massey has been walking the fields (with permission of course) around the Scalford area collecting exquisite flint tools. In 2018, a project funded by Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society was undertaken by the director of Past to Present Archaeology, Rupert, who examined and catalogued the artefacts. The collection has brilliant examples of stone tools from the Mesolithic and Neolithic, in addition, supported by large quantities of Palaeolithic material. Mapping the spread of artefacts has highlighted significant potential for a large settlement complex. Near to the main artefact concentration exists a likely enclosure which is visible as a cropmark on Google Earth. In 2003, a small test trench was excavated by a local group on the suspected villa site which confirmed the existence of a large Roman complex. With your support we will not only highlight the full extent of the villa, together with any associated features, but reveal the hidden settlement, agricultural and funerary monuments within the area.

What happens next?

The greater your support for this project, the better and more wide-ranging our results will be. In fact, without your support, we may never get this project off the ground.

Geophysical survey is an expensive technique, but it is required to reveal the secrets of these hidden Leicestershire settlements. If successful in our aim to raise funds to undertake this important work, we will keep you updated every step of the way through our website. We want you to feel part of this nationally significant research program. In supporting the project you will be enriching knowledge of the history of the area, contributing to fundamental research to understand prehistoric society and economy and be responsible for exposing a ritualistic landscape. Following the conclusion of the geophysical survey we will be holding various open days, talks and running numerous project events, such as training courses, fieldwalking and survey activities related to the site. We welcome everyone to get involved. Furthermore, in summer 2021 we will commence our community excavations on the Roman villa. All the sites identified by geophysical survey will be excavated by Past to Present Archaeology, and this will be a fabulous opportunity to join us on a substantial and comprehensive research project. Your archaeology adventure starts here!

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