Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

Preserving and Enhancing Access to Historic Oxfordshire
Records of Archaeological Work held by the Ashmolean Museum

Site Name: Abingdon

Site Location: South Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning, Harden (and Leeds)

The Manning documentary archive contains details of various finds and excavations in the Abingdon area.

Documents record that several visits were made by Professor George Rolleston to Abingdon in order to examine skeletons. On 21 December 1870, he visited the Abingdon Union Workhouse, having heard that skeletons had been found there. He found two skeletons still in-situ and two that had been excavated. Prior to 1862, four amber beads were also found with a skeleton near to the Union Workhouse. The beads were in the collection of Jesse King, but were deposited at the British Museum in 1862.

Rolleston also visited North Court, in about 1865, to excavate two skeletons, which he thought may have been victims of plague or the Civil War.

J.Y. Akerman recorded the location where several skeletons were found at Barton Abbey Farm in a field during gravel digging. The site was subsequently excavated for four days, with some of the finds being exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries in February 1865. The finds included Romano-British pottery and a stone-built hearth or cremation-pyre discovered by Professor Rolleston.

In 1863 Akerman also noted that a small 'British' urn was found during gravel digging on the Radley road near Abingdon. A skeleton also seems to have been found and two wedge-shaped trenches. The urn became the property of a Mr W. Davies and was eventually deposited in the British Museum. Another Bronze Age urn was later found on the Radley road and given to the Ashmolean Museum by Sir Arthur Evans on 20 July 1887 (AN1887.3021). This urn was subsequently sent to the National Museum in Copenhagen.

The Manning archive also contains details of artefacts from Abingdon which are now in the Ashmolean Museum.

The Harden documentary archive contains details of excavations at the early Anglo-Saxon cemetary on Saxton Road, which Donald Harden excavated with Edward Thurlow Leeds in 1934-35. (Find out more about the cemetery and its finds)


E.T. Leeds and D.B. Harden (1936) The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Abingdon, Berkshire (University of Oxford: Oxford)

E.T. Leeds (1938) "Beakers from the Oxford District", Oxoniensia, Vol. III, p26

Object Photographs

Click on picture to see a larger image
One of two clay spindle-whorls or weights found near Abingdon
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