Barbican Research Associates

                    providing an integrated post-excavation service for the archaeological community



Projects - The Wroxeter Archives Projects


Between 1955 and 1990 there were extensive excavations in the Baths area of the Roman city of Wroxeter directed by Graham Webster and by Philip Barker. These resulted in three excavation monographs.


Barker, P., White, R. Pretty, K., Bird, H. and Corbishley, M. 1997. The Baths Basilica Wroxeter : Excavations 1966-90. English Heritage Archaeological Report 8 (London)


Ellis, P. 2000. The Roman Baths and Macellum at Wroxeter. Excavations by Graham Webster 1955-85, English Heritage Archaeological Report 9 (London).


Webster, G. (ed. Chadderton, J.) 2002. The Legionary Fortress at Wroxeter. Excavations by Graham Webster, 1955-85, English Heritage Archaeological Report 19 (London)


In 2010 we were approached by the West Midlands Regional Office of English Heritage to conduct work on the archive from the Webster excavations.  There were three aims.


  • The paper archive was to be rationalised, ordered and re-integrated.
  • The entire archive was to be documented to show what was available for study.
  • A database of the stratigraphy and the finds was to be prepared to allow future research to be planned.


All of this was achieved, and by courtesy of Richard Brickstock we were also able to include the complete coin catalogue in the database.  This resource has been available on the ADS since 2011 and can be seen here.


In 2013 we approached English Heritage with a plan to complete the publication of the material from the Barker excavations.  These are rightly seen as a milestone in excavation methodology, leading to the recovery of evidence for occupation on the site extending onwards from the 'Roman' fourth century until well into the seventh century.  When the report was published in 1997 the focus was on the stratigraphic narrative.  Most of the nearly 10,000 small finds consigned to archive, as it was believed they mainly represented residual material.


In the two decades since that decision was taken, it has become clear that many 'residual' Roman items were being actively used by people in the fifth to sixth centuries. The Wroxeter Baths Basilica finds have the potential to be one of the most useful groups for exploring this phenomenon.   The Barker archive contained many catalogues and reports written in the 1980s by Angela Bliss, Kate Pretty and others.  There was also an extensive drawn and photographed record.


The aim of the project was to make all this information available digitally.  New summary reports were produced, and the images scanned at a resolution that will enable them to be used in publications by future researchers.  The stratigraphic record was also checked and contexts list prepared so that the finds can be related to the stratigraphy.  The end result may be seen as a digitised  primary archive which should allow the records to be interrogated, and further research carried out on them.  This resource is now available on the Archaeological Data Service here as


Cool, H.E.M., White, R., Griffiths, D. Linnane, S. and Pretty, K. 2014. The small finds from the Baths Basilica Wroxeter: a digital resource.  ADS Collection 1640. Doi:10.5284/1023596


The three excavation monographs are also freely available on the ADS web site. Click the cover images to find them.




Cornelian intaglio (no. 8303 from the Baths Basilica)

Counter made from a samian sherd (no. 9580) from the Baths Basilica

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