51 East St Helen Street

A watching brief was carried out out in 2012, on construction work in the back garden of a house in East Saint Helen Street. Roman and medieval pottery, medieval and post-medieval pits, walls and pottery, and a stone-lined well which had been capped in Victorian or later times were found. One pit contained a large quantity of early 19th century broken wine bottles, plates and tankards. This led to a suggestion that the property might have been a public house at one time.

Bury Street precinct (Queen Street car park)

A small excavation was carried out when one of the shops in the Bury Street precinct was extended at the rear. Roman pits and Roman pottery dating to the 2nd to 4th centuries AD were found. Pits and domestic rubbish dating to the 12th to 16th centuries were also found.


A Roman bronze brooch, decorated with enamel, was found when the Peachcroft housing estate was being built in 1979. The brooch dates to the 2nd century AD. Other fragments of bronze metalwork were also found in the area.

Drayton ‘Cursus’

Excavations of the ‘Drayton cursus’, an enigmatic Neolithic monument, were carried out AAAHS and Oxford Archaeology ahead of gravel quarrying south of Abingdon the 1980s.

‘Cursuses’ (which take their name from a Latin word meaning a race-track) consist of a pair of parallel ditches, which can run across the landscape for many kilometres. Their function is unknown, but they may have been used for processions or other ceremonies.

The Drayton cursus runs from south-east of Drayton village towards Abingdon. Its northern end has not been located, but the monument was at least 1.5 kilometres long.

Other things found during these excavations included a Roman trackway and field boundaries, and an early Saxon building.



Two human skeletons were found on a building site in Clevelands in 1973. They had been buried in shallow graves. One skeleton was of a middle-aged man, the other of an old man. They were thought likely to be Iron Age or Roman in date.

October House

Archaeological observations were made when foundations were dug for a house extension. Roman pottery, a Roman wall, and demolition debris from Abingdon Abbey were found. A large quantity of 17th century pottery, including cups and mugs, and clay tobacco pipes, were also found. This led to a suggestion that there may have been a tavern on the site, although there is no historical evidence for a tavern here.

Rye Farm, Andersey Island

Three ‘ring ditches’, probably the sites of Bronze Age barrows (burial mounds) and part of a square or rectangular enclosure which may be Roman, along with other features, have been seen as cropmarks just south of Rye Farm on Andersey island. They have not been excavated.

These features are visible on the ‘Satellite View’ map layer, as dark marks in the crop.

A ‘ring ditch’ (the dark ring in the crop), the site of a Bronze Age burial mound near Rye Farm. (c) AAAHS

South of the Vineyard

Oxford Archaeology excavated six areas before redevelopment of sites in the Vineyard. Discoveries included traces of an Iron Age settlement, Roman burials, medieval rubbish pits and property boundaries, and three large ditches which were part of a defence from the English Civil War in the 1640s.

Ford’s Field

An archaeological trench dug along the line of Audlett Drive when the new road was being built found Roman field ditches. Roman pottery, a Roman bronze brooch and a coin dated 375-378 AD were also found.

Wootton Road

A number of adult skeletons were found when digging drainage trenches for new houses on the east side of Wootton Road in 1947. The burials may be Roman or medieval. No artefacts were found. The findspot must have been on the Fitzharris housing estate, but the exact location isn’t known.