South Cadbury Environs Project

SCEP Project History

Following Alcock’s excavations at South Cadbury, and building on a strong and distinguished tradition of local amateur involvement, campaigns of archaeological survey and excavation in the two following decades focused particularly upon the Romano-British and Medieval periods in South East Somerset, without impinging on what became the SCEP study area. Motivated both by academic research and the opportunities provided by the development and land use threats, research through the 1970s to 1990s concentrated upon such topics as Romano-British settlement in the region (Leech 1977), the Roman and Medieval towns of Ilchester (Leach 1982; 1994), urban settlements (Aston and Leech 1977), Medieval rural settlements (Ellison 1983) and, most recently, the Roman town and its hinterland at Shepton Mallet (Leach 1991 and 2001). In the same period have come the publications of excavations and research on several other major archaeological sites in the region, and of local historical and documentary research, including a Victoria County History volume.

SCEP is distinguished from this other work in the area by the use of geophysical survey as its main tool which, coupled with plough-zone sampling techniques, is generating phaseable maps of former land division and use in the landscape surrounding Cadbury Castle. In April 1998 the University of Bristol became the principal sponsor of the project, building on work by volunteers from the South East Somerset Archaeological and Historical Society, eventually supplemented by staff and students from the Universities of Glasgow and Birmingham.

Since its inception in 1992 SCEP has also been distinguished by its inclusion of volunteers, both local and from further afield, including members of the South East Somerset Archaeological and Historical Society and the Yeovil Archaeology and Local History Society as well as many independent volunteers. A massive debt of gratitude is owed to these volunteers without whom SCEP could not have functioned and while it would be invidious to mention individuals by name, special thanks are due to those who have been involved for several years and gone on to assume responsibility for aspects of the post-fieldwork work.

In April 2001, following an application headed by Mark Corney and Dr. Michael Costen, SCEP received funding from the Leverhulme Trust enabling the University of Bristol to employ the project’s founder, Dr Richard Tabor, as a full time researcher for three years. Following this a joint application to the Arts and Humanities Research Board/Council by the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, headed by Professor Gary Lock, was successful in gaining further funding for the period from 1st April 2004 until 31st March 2008. This enabled further fieldwork, GIS analysis and the continuing employment of Dr Tabor and in addition the appointments of a part-time research assistant, Clare Randall, and a part-time technician, Liz Caldwell. The AHRC funding period is now over and the material is being prepared for full publication in the form of a monograph and downloadable data and reports eventually accessible from this website.

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