Excavations and History

Rugby Archaeological Society was founded in 1961 by a group of amateur archaeologists including James Foster and Hugh Cameron. The original focus of the Society was to investigate some Roman remains that had been revealed in the course of sand and gravel extraction at Shawell Quarry on the border of Leicestershire and Warwickshire. This area proved to be part of the Roman settlement of Tripontium. James is still involved with the Society, but the Society's activities are now rather broader.  

Current RAS members include skilled volunteers, both amateurs and professionals.  Membership is free at present, please contact the RAS Secretary for more information, or attend one of the Saturday morning meetings at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum listed under EVENTS.

RAS has conducted excavations at Dunchurch in 2012 and Cave's Inn in 2014.  RAS members have also been involved with research organised by Coventry and District Archaeological Society at Broadwell and at Shawell and Lutterworth in conjunction with the Lutterworth Feildwalking Group.

Excavations at Tripontium 1961- 2006

Starting in 1961 the Society undertook several local excavations with support and guidance from Dr Graham Webster, before it became clear that Roman artefacts and human remains were being found during sand and gravel extraction at the Shawell quarry.  The quarry then straddled the A5 road that defines the country border between Warwickshire and Leicestershire.  Graham Webster negotiated access to the site with the quarry owners and the Society started a rescue excavation in advance of the sand and gravel working. 

Jack Lucas was an early member of the Rugby Archaeological Society.  He became Site Director of the excavations at Tripontium in 1966.  Jack was the Chairman and driving force behind the Society until his death in March 2006. 

The research at the site of Tripontium is one of the largest and longest running excavations to have been undertaken by an independent archaeological society. The work took place in four distinct stages. The first two stages were rescue digs, in advance of sand and gravel extraction. Stage 3 was a research excvavation of a substantial stone building, interpreted as possibly the administrative centre of the settlement. The fourth stage was the bathhouse excavation, which, in summer 2005, is just reaching its final stages. 

The first three stages were reported through the Transactions of the Brimingham Archaeological Society in 1969, 1972 and 1984. The report on the fourth stage was published by the RAS Secretary in 2005.  Order details are available through this web site.

Stage 1

Last updated May 2015

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