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Could an ancient microbrewery have been unearthed in Boxford?

Archaeologists uncover ancient building during recent dig

Dan Cooper

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Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

Could an ancient microbrewery have been unearthed in Boxford?

COULD archaeologists have unearthed one of West Berkshire’s first-ever micro breweries in Boxford?

The walls of a small building, which is believed to have been used for malting barley – the first stage of brewing beer – were discovered during a two-week dig in the village.

And while examinations still have to be carried out by experts, the early signs look promising.

Joy Appleton, chair of the Boxford History Project said: “The main discovery was a small building, gradually uncovered and identified as a grain dryer, which sounds rather boring until malting comes into the picture.

“So was this one of the first West Berkshire’s micro breweries? From the research we have done, it certainly looks as though it could be.

“We live in the middle of an extensive barley area and our local farmer sold a lot of barley from malt, so it is not beyond the wit of man to say it could have been used for that purpose. We do think it is highly likely.”

Pottery, bones, shells and metalwork were also discovered and will all be sent to experts for identification, as well as soil samples taken for environmental analysis.

A number of ovens and kilns were also found.

On Sunday, almost 100 people turned out to the see the results of this year’s Big Dig in Boxford. 

Members of the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG), volunteers and Cotswold Archaeology were on hand to explain that the site contained not only Roman, but Iron Age finds.

A few of the finds were on display on Sunday and when they have all been recorded and analysed, they will be put on display in Boxford’s Heritage Centre.

Mrs Appleton said: “Thanks go to Cotswold Archaeology, BARG and all our volunteers, without whom none of this would have been possible.

“Special thanks goes to David Willison, who ferried equipment around, and his wife Pru who washed innumerable finds.

“Now we are looking forward to our last Heritage Lottery-funded project next year in August – another Roman villa, maybe two, or perhaps the second building will be a barn or full-scale brewery.”

If you would like to volunteer, contact Joy Appleton at: joy@appleton.uk.net 

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