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During the thirteen years (1978-1991) of the archaeological excavations at Littlecote, a huge number of historical items were discovered. These included over 300 Neolithic flint arrowheads and other items, over 115,000 items dating from the Roman period, a large number of artefacts from the medieval (11th-14th century) village as well as items dating from the 17th and 18th century hunting lodge on the site.

The finds are held at The Wiltshire Museum, Devizes.

This article focusses only on the items found from the Roman period. Many articles of everyday use, some of exotic quality, were found during the excavations. Most of them were personal possessions, others reflect the occupation and interests of those who lived here during the first to the fourth centuries. 

For much more information, see "Littlecote, Wiltshire - Archaeological Excavations in the Park" by Bernard Phillips, 2022 [ISBN 978-1-914407-26-0].

Personal and clothing items:

20221011 12.41.59c Personal and clothingPersonal and clothing items, 2nd-4th century

1. Silver finger ring with a cornelian intaglio depicting Sol
2. Replica of a gold betrothal ring depicting clasped hands
3-4. Bronze finger rings
5-6. Faïence melon rings
7-8. Glass beads
9-13. Carved bone pins
14. Bone needle

20221017 12.25.32c Personal and clothingPersonal and clothing items, 2nd-4th century

1. Silver fibula (cloak fastener)
2. Silvered bronze fibula
3. Bronze fibula (1st century)
4. Enamelled disc brooch
5. Enamelled bronze stud
6. Twisted bronze wire bracelet
7. Bronze bracelet
8. Bronze bracelet

Gaming counters and spoons:

20221017 12.22.35b Gaming and spoonsGaming counters and spoons

1-2. Carved bone gaming counters
3-5. Glass gaming counters
6-7. Pottery gaming counters
8. Glass gaming counter
9. Bronze spoon
10. Carved bone spoon

Figures and bell, 2nd-4th century:

20221017 12.22.54b Figures and bell

1. Replica bronze bust of Antinous/Bacchus
2. Replica bronze bust of the god Bacchus
3. Clay figurine fragment (Dea Nutrix - nursing mother ggoddess)
4. Bronze bell

Roman cavalry horse harness and other 2nd-4th c. items:

20221017 12.25.58c  Roman cavalry and other 2nd 4th c

1. Bronze fitting surmounted by a hare
2. Roman cavalry horse harness mount
3. Bronze stylus (used for writing on wax tablets)
4. Pottery jar fragment inscribed PA
5. Pottery flagon fragment inscribed XII

Romano-British coins from the 1st-4th century:

20221011 12.41.56d 1st 4thc coins

  1. Bronze as of Caligula
  2. Bronze dupondius of Nero
  3. Silver denarius of Hadrian
  4. Bronze dupondius of Antoninius Pius
  5. Bronze as of Antoninius Pius
  6. Bronze sestertius of Marcus Aurelius
  7. Bronze sestertius of Commodus
  8. Bronze sestertius of Julia Mamaea
  9. Bronze sestertius of Maximinus

 20221017 12.24.24b 1st 4thc coins

  1. Bronze antinianus of Gallaieenus
  2. Bronze follis of Constantine I
  3. Bronze coin of Constantine I
  4. Bronze coin of Constantine I
  5. Bronze commemorative coin of Constantinoplis
  6. Bronze coin of Constantine II
  7. Bronze coin of Constantine II
  8. Bronze coin of Constantine II
  9. Bronze coin of Arcadius


Wine crater from Room 4

Wine crater from Room 4 (presumed wine store) in the North Range 

20221017 12.23.35a PotteryRoman Pottery

The glossy orangey-red vessel fragments are called Samian Ware. Samian was the fine tableware of Roman Britain. It was mass produced and the finished piece often had a manufacturer's stamp on it, which provides excellent information about distribution and dating.

Most Samian ware found in Britain was originally imported from Gaulish factories, although the earliest examples were from Italy. The word Samian probably derives from the Greek island of Samos because this style of pottery originated these. The Samian ware manufactured in the British potteries is of a lower quality than the Gaulish examples.

20221017 12.23.20 Pottery 

20221017 12.22.48b Various 2nd 4th c Various 2nd-4th century items

1. Pottery vessel fragment stamped IANVARIS
2. Pottery vessell fragment stamped GEMINM
3. Window glass fragment
4. Carved bone inlay
5. Carved chalk inlay

Building and construction items:

20221017 12.24.02 Roof tiles


20221017 12.24.10 Roof tilesRoof tiles (Tegulae and Imbrices) from 1st-2nd century

20221017 12.26.41 Hypocaust pilaeHypocaust pilae tiles

20221017 12.26.28 Hypocaust wall fluesHypocaust wall flues 

In 2001 Wessex Archaeology undertook a rapid assessment of most of the finds and environmental material for the Roman Research Trust. The assessment confirmed the finds assemblages as being generally of regional importance, and for certain categories of material of national importance.

At the time of the assessment, the finds archive comprised around 1000 boxes, but this has now been reduced somewhat by the ‘weeding’ of the many ceramic and stone building materials, and oyster shells.

However, the remaining finds assemblage is still substantial – about 115,000 sherds of pottery, over 300 coins, about 3000 other metal objects, about 2000 fragments of vessel glass, and about 3700 pieces of wall plaster.

Savernake Type vesselSavernake type vessel, found at Littlecote