East Oxford community archaeology

East Oxford community archaeology

East Oxford is a large and diverse area of Oxford City situated across the River Cherwell from the city centre. Investigation of East Oxford has often been overshadowed by the world-famous heritage of the Oxford colleges. However its landscape includes many open spaces and green areas offering excellent opportunities for exploring the archaeology of the area.

Exciting traces are already known of Iron Age, Roman and Viking settlements, a medieval leper hospital still with its original chapel, Civil War siege works dating to the time when Oxford was the Royalist capital, and the area has a rich industrial and modern heritage.

Local history societies, community organisations and many individual volunteers are keen to discover more about the heritage of their neighbourhoods. The Blackbird Leys estate, for example, is built in an area where a major pottery industry flourished in Roman times. Archaeologists and historians have run training workshops to enable volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in researching their own areas, dig test pits and take part in archaeological excavations. The East Oxford Archaeology Project has been based on professionally-supported training in archaeological and historical techniques including:

  • excavation and geophysics
  • working with finds, maps and other evidence
  • use of specialist computer programmes
  • learning aboutlandscape surveying using modern equipment

In 2010-15, the East Oxford Archaeology Project entered its main activity phase, thanks to a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant enabled the programme to recruit two project workers, Jane Harrison and Olaf Bayer. The project website expanded to help detail new developments and to provide a lasting record of the discoveries.

The project won Oxford University's first ever Public Engagement with Research award in the Collaboration category in July 2016. The project was also adopted as an example for the EU Commission’s strategy for citizen science in November 2016.

It was published as an open access monograph in 2020: 'The Archaeology of East Oxford, Archeox, the development of a community' (OUDCE, Thames Valley Monograph Series). A free download is available from the Archaeology Data Service.

The project formed the basis of an impact case study submitted by the School of Archaeology and the Social Sciences Division in 2021.

Impact evaluation report

Upcoming courses

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  • Mon 24 Jun 2024
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