One of the main aims of the Association is to support archaeological or associated research, particularly into Roman Britain. Grants vary between £350 and £1000, depending upon circumstances. All are funded from the Graham Webster Research Fund, established in memory of our late President.
If you, or your organisation, would like to learn more about our funding principles, please contact our Director, Bryn Walters, on 01793 534008 or e-mail us on
ARA grants and gifts given
Past Landscapes Project: October 2015, Grant of £1500
Grant awarded to Richard Henry of Salisbury Museum for post-excavation work and conservation and storage of archaeological finds. This collaborative investigation directed from Salisbury Museum is being monitored by English Heritage, the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Universities of York, Oxford and Reading. Its objective is to investigate the recently discovered and nationally significant Roman or Romano-Celtic temple landscape in Wiltshire. Controlled metal detecting, geophysical surveys and excavations have revealed an extraordinarily rich and complex site, with multiple foci of activity. Excavations in 2014 uncovered the partial remains of a stone and timber 4th century or later temple with a ritual pit. The pit was only partly excavated due to time and budget constraints, but within thee top 0.15m there were almost 500 finds of individual merit (small finds).
East Wear Bay Annual Field School, Folkestone: June 2015, Grant of £1000
Grant awarded to Dr A F Richardson of Canterbury Archaeological Trust. East Wear Bay is the site of Folkestone Roman villa. First excavated by Winbolt in 1924 and subsequently by Brian Philp in 1989. More recent excavations by CAT in 2010-13 established that significant Iron Age and Roman archaeology survives across the site. The cliff-top site is subject to rapid ongoing erosion with the resultant loss of archaeological information. The project has the dual aims of recovering archaeological evidence and providing training for all. (ARA News 31 p32-33 and News 32 p38-39).
Ipplepen Archaeological Project, Devon: June 2015, Grant of £1200
Monies granted to Prof. Stephen Rippon of the University of Exeter to support their outreach programme and public engagement. The exciting excavations of the Roman cemetery near Newton Abbot are on private land and are only accessible to the public on open days. The Hub was an information point set up within the village to provide a daily accessible facility for locals and visitors to find out about the discoveries during the excavation season.
Stephen Rippon said 'An important part of the Ipplepen project is its programme of public engagement. In addition to the University of Exeter sturdents, 49 volunteers took part, and the Open Day was attended by 930 visitors. A busy information centre in the nearby village (The Hub) saw over 500 visitors and the blog had 4498 views from 966 visitors.'
Keynsham Roman Site: April 2015, Sponsorship of £5000
A joint project with BACAS (Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society. The third year of investigation works saw the first detailed excavation at the site in over 90 years. The excavation was in a public area and the money helped with the expensive mechanical excavator and protective fencing. A trench 7m by 2m was dug and revealed a substantial stone built wall corresponding to one of the anomalies identified in the earlier geophysical survey. An open day was held on 25th July and was well attended, allowing the public access to the process of archaeology and a glimpse into the Roman past of Keynsham (ARA News 34 p34-37).
Lynch Farm, Northamptonshire: February 2015, Grant of £684
Grant awarded to Dr James Gerrard of University of Newcastle. The money was used for Radiocarbon dating of human remains from the Roman cemetery at the site. This contributes to his research on the theory that late Roman cemeteries may have continued to be used into the 5th and 6th centuries. The 'late Roman' cemetery at Lynch Farm was excavated in the 1970s and the small number of burials were assigned to the 4th century. However one was associated with a bone bangle / bracelet of a post-Roman type. Another grave was stone lined and more suggestive of a later date. Recognition that cemeteries of the Roman period continued to be used will have a profound implication for the understanding of Roman Britain's transition into Anglo-Saxon England.
Nantwich, Artefact Conservation: November 2014, Grant of £1000
Grant awarded to the Grosvenor Museum, Chester towards two artefacts excavated in 2002. These are a lead alloy patera (pan) and a copper alloy gladiator figurine. The pieces had been stored until 2008 when monitoring revealed that they were deteriorating. The conservation formed part of a more extensive programme of improvements to the Roman galleries at the museum. This included works on the Graham Webster Gallery (the ARA's founding Honorary President). The gladiator is now displayed as part of the amphitheatre exhibit at Chester and the patera has been returned to Nantwich.
Keynsham Roman Site: October 2014 Grant of £128
A joint project with BACAS (Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society)
As part of the ongoing reassessment of the large building a further geophysical survey was carried out in the Durley Hill cemetery (ARA News 31 p12-15).
Aldborough: October 2014 Grant of £456
Grant awarded to FORA (Friends of Roman Aldborough) for the purchase of persepex display panels for use at the education centre. The panels incorporate explanatory text and illustrations from surveys carried out since 2011 by Cambridge University Faculty of Classics, under the direction of Prof Martin Millet. FORA has been improving and extending public access to and facilities at this significant Roman monument, the tribal capital of the Brigantes, Isurium Brigantum.
Shrewsbury Coin Hoard: December 2012 Grant of £1000
It was agreed to provide money to Shrewsbury Museum for the Shrewsbury Coin Hoard. The largest coin hoard ever discovered in Shropshire has now returned to the county, thanks to grant aid given by the Headley Trust, the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, and The Association for Roman Archaeology. Generous donations were also made locally by the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, and the Friends of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.
The 9,236 coins were placed in cloth bags and buried in a very large storage jar some 1,700 years ago. The hoard will now be photographed and catalogued to allow people to study the hoard online, before being prepared for display at the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.
Emma-Kate Lanyon, Head of Collections for Shropshire Museums, said: 'The coins within the hoard represent some of the most commonly found coins from Roman Britain. The importance of this find is the sheer number and value they represent. It is likely that the hoard belonged to a wealthy person or community, and was buried for safekeeping but, for some reason, the coins were never recovered.'
Mersea Island Barrow: December 2012 Grant of £1,250
Alongside the East Mersea road, on Mersea Island, is a conspicuous mound. It is thought to be a Romano-British burial barrow, dated to AD100-120. The mound was excavated in 1912 and an entrance passage built. In the centre was a small burial chamber built of Roman bricks capped by septaria (clay nodules) and inside was a lead box with a wooden lid. The box contained an urn of green glass containing cremated remains.
Research funding for the Mersea Island Barrow cremation burial was granted as it is only the second of its type known. Work on the Mersea Barrow Cremation can now be implemented with a review article to follow on completion of the work.
Roman Vectis Publication: September 2012 Grant of £2750
The grant to Dr D Tomalin towards publication on Roman Vectis is the largest grant ever made by the ARA at £2,750.
Chedworth Project: September 2012 Grant of £420
The cost of the ARA Chedworth Project geophysical survey was £420 and the report to be called ARA Publication No 1 has been sent to the Stowell Estate Office (land owners) and the Gloucester Archaeological Officer.
Bosworth Roman Temple, Leicestershire: May 2012 Grant of £1000
At Bosworth, in Leicestershire, geophysical survey and recovered ploughsoil finds indicate the presence of a nationally important Roman temple and associated settlement. The finds, including the largest assemblage of horse and rider brooches known in Britain and over 700 coins spanning the entire Roman period, were clustered around a circular feature approximately 12m in diameter. This was near cropmark enclosures which may represent a contemporary settlement.
Circular structures associated with Roman temples predominantly cluster in the south-east of England, or in military contexts further north. The development of religious sites in the transitional East Midlands is of great interest, with the evidence from Bosworth being unique; it may represent a distinct regional tradition.
Bourne Park, Kent; Roman Villa Survey: May 2012 Grant of £500
A previously unknown large Roman villa, off the main road between Canterbury and Dover, is being revealed at Bourne Park. The project, which is sponsored by both Cambridge and Southampton Universities, intends to determine the relationship of the villa with the large number of archeological feature and other finds from the surrounding area located by antiquarian excavations, modern road construction, meat detecting and aerial photography.
Topographical and geophysical surveys in 2011 produced promising results. The magnetometry revealed two wings of a large structure, including a probable range of baths. During the 2012 season the survey area was extended and future work hopes to continue to extend the surveys with ground penetrating radar to compliment the resistivity surveys.
Newstead Centenary Publication: March 2012 Grant of £1000
In 1905-10 excavations by James Curle at the Roman fort of Newstead (Trimontium ARA News 24) in the Scottish Borders revolutionised views of Roman frontier forts. The excavations produced a remarkable range of well preserved material, published in such a way that it illuminated lives on the Roman frontier. This highly influential volume is much quoted and widely respected in Britain and elsewhere, as a foundation of Roman military studies.
To mark the centenary of the excavations and their publication, the Trimontium Trust and the National Museums Scotland have commissioned a series of essays from leading authorities to review the impact of the excavator, the site and the finds. It is hoped that this will provide a volume of broad appeal and act as a springboard for the next century of work. The commercial publishing arm of the National Museums Scotland has agreed to produce the volume, but the present cuts in public sector funding has necessitated appeals to the various archaeological charities, to which the ARA has responded.
Clarkly Hill Excavation, Burghead in Moray: March 2012 Grant of £1000
Geophysical survey and small scale excavation at Clarkly Hill in 2008 and 2011 identified an extensive long-lived Iron Age settlement. Of key interest is the evidence of contacts with the Roman world revealed by a scatter of Roman brooches and two disturbed coin hoards of later 2nd century date. These finds help to put such finds in context.
The post-excavation analysis will take into consideration the nearby comparable site of Birnie. The suggestion is that Severan silver coin hoards can be best interpreted as diplomatic gifts or subsidies, as part of Roman foreign policy along this difficult frontier.
St Algar's Roman Villa, Somerset: October 2011 Grant of £500
This scheduled Roman villa site is currently the focus of a five-year investigation into pre-Roman to post-Roman occupation at St Algar's Farm, West Woodlands, near Selwood, Somerset, which was originally discovered in the 1960s. An investigative clearance of topsoil in 1971 (over 400m2), identified a large villa, a considerable quantity of 3rd to 4th century pottery, lead objects and tesserae. An evaluation in 2010 found evidence of late Roman glassworking, a unique discovery for a rural site in Roman Britain, as other known sites are on military or urban sites. The 2010 evaluation recovered over 400 fragments of glass and glassworking waste along with 22 crucible sherds.
In 2011 work concentrated on a possible temple or mausoleum adjacent to the villa, along with parts of the linear enclosure which surrounds the winged corridor house and a possible gatehouse. Work in 2012 planned to investigate the villa and glassworking site within the scheduled area. ARA members visited the site in August as part of an excursion to Somerset.
Truckle Hill Roman Bath-house, North Wraxall, Wiltshire: August 2011 Grant of £1000
Truckle Hill Roman bath-house is a detached structure some 150m north of North Wraxall Roman villa. The 2007 excavation of the bath-house was described by Phil Andrews (ARA Bulletin 19) as was the geophysical survey of the bath-house and the land to the south (ARA Bulletin 19). Wessex Archaeology has continued with this community excavation with the support of the ARA, Wiltshire County Council Archaeology Service, Chippenham Civic Society and English Heritage.
Excavations in 2008 and 2009 produced evidence for two earlier periods of construction on the bath-house site. The Period 1 building appears to be of high status, given the exceptional quality of the painted wall plaster that was found in situ. The interim results are in ARA Bulletin 20.
This second grant helped fund further excavations in autumn 2011 building on the discoveries from the ongoing series of community excavations.
Box Roman Villa Project, Wiltshire: July 2011 Grant of £250
The Roman villa at Box, near Bath, was dug sporadically throughout the 19th century. It was excavated more extensively in 1902-03, being published by Sir Harold Brakspear in 1904 in the Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine (vol 33). An extensive and elaborate villa, its site on a plateau above a steep cliff; water from the site's prolific spring descends into the valley of Box Brook. As the villa is covered by the present village, none of its remains are visible to the public. The Kobra Trust is endeavoring to produce an accessible permanent exhibition, along with a popular publication for visitors wishing to learn more about what is one of the more elaborate villas near the great sanctuary at Bath.
An ARA grant has been given towards the cost of educational facilities that teach local school children about the villa.
Teffont Archaeological project, Wiltshire: May 2011 Grant of £600
The Teffont Archaeological Project has been undertaking a community research excavation on a Roman settlement in an area where, owing to the pre-eminence of the country's prehistoric sites, very little investigation into the Romano-British period has been undertaken. Work on the possible farmstead at Teffont may hold an extra dimension of interest, with a suspected link with an adjacent shrine site in Upper Holt Wood. The Association's grant was made towards expenses for post-excavation research, in preparation for publication.
Dorset County Museum, Dorchester: May 2011 Grant of £250
Excavated in 1937-38 the Colliton Park Roman townhouse is one of the best preserved buildings of its type displayed in Britain. It was extensively embellished with mosaic floors. Unfortunately the fine mosaic from Room 15, originally depicting the four seasons, had badly decayed by the time it was excavated; the faces of Spring and Summer had been lost. Since then, more than half the face of Autumn has been lost, and Winter has gone completely.
Fortunately, fine tracings were made of the mosaic when it was excavated; these are now the only surviving record of the lost images. The tracings are in a very friable condition and in need of specialist conservation. With the aid of grants from the ARA and other organisations this work is now being implemented, and the intention is to eventually put the tracings on public display.
Southwick Roman Villa, West Sussex: April 2011 Grant of £250
ARA member Giles Standing, along with local archaeological societies has been conducting a research project since 2008 to place the 1st century Roman villa at Southwick into a broader landscape and socio-economic context. The focus for the work has been the playing fields of Eastbrook Primary School, 50m from the main villa.
The ARA contributed towards the cost of the evaluation trenching carried out by to determine features identifies in the area of the outer courtyard of the villa, where a geophysical survey in 2010 had suggested further possible buildings of a Roman date. Earlier test pits had revealed an un-mortared Romano-British wall, pottery, early roller-stamped tiles and daub from timber-built structures.
Grosvenor Museum, Chester
£1000 was provided for the conservation of antiquities and towards the refurbishment of the galleries. There are two Roman galleries. The first tells the story of Chester's legions and fortress. The second houses a nationally important collection of Roman tombstones, found in the 19th century, re-used in the city walls. The stones hold important evidence about the lives of soldiers, slaves, women and children who lived there during the Roman period.
Colchester Archaeological Trust
£1500 was given towards the Roman Circus Appeal http://www.romancircus.org/ The campaign eventually raised the required £200 000, by the end of February, in order to save Britain's only Roman chariot horse racing track
£1000 was awarded after a successful grant for the continuation of the Truckle Hill Roman Baths Project http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/projects/county/wiltshire/truckle-hill-roman-bath-house In 2004, the remains of a small Roman building were uncovered on the side of a narrow, steep-sided valley near North Wraxall in Wiltshire. The building, a bath-house, is a short distance from an imposing Roman villa, excavated in the mid 19th century. The discovery has lead to a series of community excavations which continue into a 2010 season this year.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
£350 was donated for improvements to the Roman Gallery, which was the subject of a recent group visit by members of the ARA. The museum has undergone a transformation in recent years and the new approach and displays are well worth a visit.
Friends of the Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester
£250 was given towards administration and educational expenses. The Friends of Jewry Wall Museum was formed in September 2004 in response to drastic cuts in opening hours of the archaeology museum. Recent changes in council policy have improved the opening hours to Saturday, Sunday and school holidays (except December). The main aim of the Friends is to keep the museum open to the public and to hold events for the public, particularly for families, to promote interest in the archaeology of Leicester
Some of the projects we have supported financially in the last few years include.
- The Frilford Roman Temple Project, University of Oxford.
- Post Excavation research at the Gresham Street Wells, Museum of London.
- General support to the Vindolanda Project.
- Conservation of artefacts from the South Farm Villa, DART Excavation Team, Swindon.
- The Vine Street Excavations, Leicester University Archaeology Services.
- Friends of Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester.