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‘Astonishing’ dig reveals domestic life in the iron age

A large settlement, a Roman villa and many household objects are among the discoveries at an ancient site in Oxfordshire

When archaeologists began excavating land near the iron age hillfort at Wittenham Clumps, a famous Oxfordshire landmark, they were hopeful of unearthing something of interest because the area has been occupied for more than 3,000 years. But nothing prepared them for the excitement of discovering an extended iron age settlement, with the remains of more than a dozen roundhouses dating from 400BC to 100BC – as well as an enormous Roman villa built in the late third to early fourth century.

The structures would have remained buried beneath the sprawling green landscape if not for a decision by Earth Trust, the environmental charity that cares for it, to redevelop its visitor centre. Investigating the archaeology was part of the planning application.

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