Visit to Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

On the Friday 3rd July at  6.30 pm there will be a last chance to see final season of excavation at this amazingly well-preserved Roman villa, where three large ranges of buildings are set within a courtyard enclosure. High-class finds suggest wealthy owners living here from the 1st century AD and who continued to inhabit the site for several centuries after the Romans left Britain.

Driving instructions below. There is ample parking in the meadow however the site is a good 20 minute walk from the car park. Stout shoes are recommended and be aware that the site itself is very uneven due to the excavations.

Meet in the car parking meadow at 6.30 pm for the walk up to the site

We will ask for voluntary donations to the excavation to help fund full academic publication

This is a working farm and the land owner asks that visitors leave their dogs at home (Sorry!)

How to get there: –

  • From Dorchester
    Follow the A35 East towards Bere Regis/ Poole/Bournemouth for about 3.9 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford/Milborne St Andrew/Piddlehinton,
    At the roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142,
  • From Poole
    Follow the A35 West towards Bere Regis/ Puddletown/Dorchester for 1.1 miles,
    Continue on through one roundabout on the A35 for about 9.3 miles,
    At next roundabout take 2nd exit and continue along the A35 for 6 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford, Piddlehinton, Puddletown,
    At the roundabout take the 3rd exit on to the A354,

At the next roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142, After about 1 mile turn right just before a sharp left bend (there is a triangle of grass at junction, Note that there is also a lane which you have to cross before entering farms driveway) and Druce Farm is directly ahead.

Drive through the gateway (Druce Farmhouse is on your right), then pass some large Victorian cottages, pass the cart shed on your left, follow the farm track with a modern cottage on your right. The track forks – take the left hand track and you will see several cars in the field.

Drive carefully – Be aware that small children may be playing around the houses and that farm machinery may be about

Archaeology Gallery at Dorset County Museum being redeveloped in spring 2015

Dorset County Museum Archaeology GalleryThe Archaeology Gallery at Dorset County Museum is currently being redeveloped as part of a £250,000 project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership (AONB).

Upon its completion in autumn 2015 the new gallery will become the visitor centre for the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership. Ultimately it will link in with information panels to be displayed along the ridgeway itself helping visitors explore the AONB and understand the sites that can be seen there today.

“This is a very special project for us,” said Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum. “The archaeology of Dorset is the history of over 10,000 years of human habitation in the county – our collections are nationally significant and cover the entire period from paleolithic times to Saxon and Viking Dorset.”

When the new Ancient Dorset Gallery (the new name for the former Archaeology Gallery) opens at the Museum, the centrepiece will be a special display of the Viking skeletons found during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road in 2009.

Jadeite Axe

Jadeite Axe © DCM

During the initial work (December to March 2014) the existing gallery will be open but artefacts from some display cases will be removed for conservation. Other key objects will be redisplayed in the museum during this time.

The design of the new gallery will ensure that when work starts on the Museum’s planned Collection Discovery Centre, the improved displays will be moved into the new extension at minimum cost.

While the work is being undertaken, visitors will be able to enjoy a special spotlight loan from the British Museum of three jadeite axes and some mace heads from their own collection. Dorset County Museum’s own jadeite axe will be displayed alongside these loans.

For further information visit Dorset County Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm.

A British Earthwork by Rev. William Barnes

Maiden Castle, Dorchester, DorsetA British Earthwork by Rev. William Barnes

[An Archaeologist speaks.]

The grassy downs of Dorset,
Rising o’er our homes of peace,
E’er teem with life and riches
In the sheep and precious fleece;
And charm the thoughtful roamer
When, like us, he climbs to scan
Their high-cast mounds of war – the works
Of Britain’s early man,
Whose speech, although here lingers yet
His mighty works of hand,
Has ceased a thousand years to sound
In air of this green land,
And startled may it be to hear
The words of British kin —

An gwaliow war an meneth,(1)
An caer war an bryn.(2)

Their breastworks now are fallen,
And their banks are sunken low;
The gateway yawns ungated,
And unsought by friend or foe.
No war-horn (3) calls for warriors,
And no clear-eyed watchmen spy
For tokens of the foe, around
The quarters of the sky.

No band, with shout and singing, (4)
Sally forth with spear and sword,
Staying foes at wood or hill,
Or at the waded river ford;
Or else to take the hill, and fight
To win, or die within

An gwaliow war an meneth.
An caer war an bryn.

There were lowings of the cattle
By the rattling spears and swords;
There were wails of weeping women
And grim warriors’ angry words —
“Be every Briton fearless, or
For ever live in fear;
And bring his ready weapons out —
His bow, and sword, and spear! (5)
For what have we to fight the foe?
Our children and our wives!
For whom have we to fight? For those
Far dearer than our lives!
And we, to shield them all, will die,
Or else the battle win,

Yn (6) an gwaliow war an meneth,
Yn an caer war an Bryn ! “

But now, in sweet, unbroken peace,
May Dorset land-folks sleep;
In peace may speed the gliding plough,
In peace may graze the sheep;
In peace may smoke our village tuns,
And all our children play;

And may we never need nigh banks
To keep the foe at bay!
And blest be lord or farmer
Of the land, who wins our thanks
By sparing from the spade and sull
These olden British banks,
And not destroying, for a crown
Or pound that he might win,

An gwaliow war an meneth,
An caer war an bryn.


(1) – “The ramparts on the mountain.”

(2) -“The stronghold on the hill”  

This is In the old Cornoak or Cornish-British, that of our West of England.   The modem
Welsh would be —

“Y gwaliaie ar y mynydd,
Y au caer ar y bryn.”

Au pronounced ace; y like e in le, French ; ” mynydd,” munneethe.

(3) – Cadgorn.   The bugle-horn was used for hunting, war, and drinking.

(4) –  By the laws of Hoel Dda, when the Welsh marched to battle the bards were to go before them singing a national song, now lost, called “Unbenaeth Prydain” (“The Monarchy of Britain “). This, however, was later than the time of the upcasting of our earthworks.

(5) -A law triad gives, as law-bidden weapons which every man was to keep ready for battle, a sword, a spear, and a bow with twelve arrows.

(6) – In.

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Events: Museums at Night in Dorchester

Museums at Night in DorchesterMuseums at Night – the national festival of museums and heritage – happens on Saturday 18th May this year. Dorchester’s six magnificent museums – The Dinosaur Museum, The Tutankhamun Exhibition, The Dorset County Museum, The Teddy Bear Museum, The Keep Military Museum, and The Terracotta Warriors Museum – have again joined together to offer a wonderful evening out. They are again joined by the Roman Town House and for the first time Max Gate.

Dorchester is probably unique as a town in having so many museums. With the other heritage attractions they make a superb offer of 8 visits for just £8.00, and that price includes a family of up to 2 adults and four children. It’s outstanding value and great fun. Museums at Night is on the evening of Saturday 18th May from 5.00pm to 9.00pm when all six of Dorchester’s museums and the Roman Town House will be open specially to visit. This year a new attraction has been added to the Museums at Night package. As a special preview event Max Gate will be open between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.

Museums at Night really does offer something for everyone whatever your interest. So whether its Tutankhamun or Romans, Thomas Hardy or teddy bears, dinosaurs or Dorchester’s local history, the Dorsetshire Regiment or terracotta warriors of a much earlier age, its there to be explored. On Museums at Night you can visit some or all of these for an extraordinary low price.

The Museums at Night ticket is just £8.00 and admits a family to all 8 heritage attractions on the evening of Saturday 18th May. This great price entitles up to a family of 2 adults and 4 children to visit when purchased in advance. Tickets can also be bought on the night at £12.

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