Saxons in the Meon Valley started when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2012 awarded the Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church a grant to help the communities of the Meon Valley bring to life the fascinating story of the Saxons in the Meon Valley. Our charity and our community have since been awarded additional funding and support from the South Downs National Park Authority, Winchester & Hampshire Councils, Corhampton & Meonstoke Parish Councils. The William Collins Trust, the universities of Winchester, Cambridge and Nottingham, the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, The Council for British Archaeology, the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust.
Along with Meon Valley Archaeology & Heritage Group, we have been able to educate local people on local history. This has encouraged us to engage people of all ages from the ten villages of the Meon Valley in exploring and learning about the Saxons who lived in the Valley for six centuries, from when the Romans left England in the 5th century, to its conquest in the 1066 by the Normans.
We are exploring, learning about and recreating the Saxon way of life and culture; remembering what they have done for us, celebrating their achievements and having fun!
This July, the Meon Valley Archaeology & Heritage Group and Winchester University are organising a dig for a third year. Our work continues following the excavation of June 2016 and July 2017 when a team of Winchester University Archaeology students and over 100 volunteers from villages in the Meon Valley and beyond took part in the excavation of a site near the village of Meonstoke.
The excavation days are Tuesday 3rd – Saturday 7th July, Tuesday 10th – Saturday 14th July, Tuesday 17th – Saturday 21st July & Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th July. You can book your place online here www.ticketsource.co.uk/mvahg. Please note, you can book a maximum of 3 days.
The site was discovered through a geophysical survey by the MVAHG in 2015. The hexagonal foundations of a Roman temple were unearthed during the 2016 and 2017 digs, together with rooms of a bath house. More than 100 volunteers have participated over the two summers, working alongside Winchester University undergraduates.
The dig was featured in the BBC4 Digging For Britain programme broadcast in November 2017 and demonstrates the importance of the site. This summer we will be extending the ‘Temple Site’ and hope to discover further rooms of the bath house. In addition, we also plan to excavate two Neolithic barrows nearby, which were discovered by MVAHG members during a training course conducted by Historic England back in October 2014.
‘This dig demonstrates that even a time period as well documented as Roman Britain can still be rewritten by new archaeological discoveries. It’s a wonderful temple site… and a very unusual hexagonal building.’ – Professor Alice Roberts, BBC4 Digging for Britain