Burial Excavation within a Roman building

Digging for History: the secrets of Devizes’ Roundway Hill unearthed as part of Festival of Archaeology

  • Come along to an interactive family-friendly archaeology event at Devizes Town Hall as National Grid and Wessex Archaeology unveil what they have dug up during construction of the Visual Impact Provision project on Roundway Hill
  • Fascinating finds from the Iron Age and Roman Britain as well as the English Civil War will be on display, with experts on hand to talk through the archaeology and show visitors how to go back in time with Virtual Reality headsets
  • Event is part of the UK’s annual Festival of Archaeology in conjunction with the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes and rounds up with a talk in the Museum on Saturday evening

Local residents and history enthusiasts in Devizes and the surrounding villages are being invited to come along and learn more about the secrets of Roundway Hill at an event being hosted by National Grid and Wessex Archaeology as part of the UK’s annual Festival of Archaeology.

The theme of this year’s festival is Archaeology and Community and National Grid is looking forward to sharing the fascinating history discovered during the early stages of its work on the Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project to remove 4.6km of overhead line and 13 pylons, and replace them with underground cables.

Working with teams from Wessex Archaeology and Wiltshire Museum the project will host a selection of hands-on, family friendly activities and unique virtual reality environments, enabling visitors to view the finds and explore the lives of people living in Iron Age and Romano-British settlements as well as during the English Civil War from the evidence they’ve left behind. 

The activities cater for all ages and will take place at a free drop-in event at the Assembly Room at Devizes Town Hall (St. John’s Street, Devizes SN10 1BN) on Saturday 13th July 2024 where people can come along at any time between 12 noon and 4.00pm.

National Grid and Wessex Archaeology will also be hosting a talk at 5.00pm-6.00pm on Saturday 13th July 2024 at Wiltshire Museum (41 Long Street, Devizes, SN10 1NS) providing further details about the investigations which have uncovered an Iron Age settlement that was hitherto unknown by the discovery of post holes, animal bone and pottery.

This has included important finds such as slag fragments which suggest metal working, and a bone comb which was most likely used in wool production. The discovery of a well-preserved skeleton of a large dog was recovered in an area of settlement activity dating back to the Romano-British period.

Please note there is no fee to attend the talk but attendees are asked to sign up and register in advance: https://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/?event=archaeology-revealed-on-the-north-wessex-downs-vip-project 

Throughout the VIP project’s development, the team has worked closely with Historic England and the Wiltshire County Archaeology team to ensure that this unique opportunity to find out what lies beneath the surface on Roundway Hill is carried out sensitively using the latest technology as well as tried and tested traditional techniques.

Amardeep Malhi, National Grid’s lead project manager, said: “Understanding of the historic environment is hugely important for National Grid and major projects such as the VIP scheme in the North Wessex Downs represent a great opportunity to find out more about our past. 

“At its heart, archaeology is all about people and how we explore and interpret the past through the lens of the present day. It has the unique ability to bring people together through our shared sense of community.

“We really hope that everyone with an interest is able to come along to our free-to-attend events on 13th July to learn about what we have unearthed and what it tells us about the lives and activities of those who have gone before us.”