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You are in: Gloucestershire > History > History Features > Indiana Jones: The Gloucestershire Connection

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

What would Indy dig up in our county?

Indiana Jones: The Gloucestershire Connection

The new Indiana Jones film - the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - opens in cinemas this week. But did you know that our county is home to some spectacular real-life archaeological treasures?

If you're looking for a film-buff's idea of a Gloucestershire connection with the Indiana Jones movies then look no further than 'The Raiders of The Lost Ark'.

The Poulton Gold

The Poulton Gold (Photo: CDC/Corinium Museum)

In the scene where Indy is lecturing to a group of archaeology students the much-loved character played by Harrision Ford mentions an historical site near a village in the Cotswolds...

"Let's get back to Turkdean barrow near Hazleton, he says. "It contains a central passage and three chambers, or cists..."

But what are Gloucestershire's best Archaeological treasures? Where might Indiana Jones want to dig up the past if he ever fancied an adventure in the UK?

We asked Neil Holbrook - Chief Executive of Cotswold Archaeology and a regular on TV's Time Team - to select his top 5 archaeological sites in the county...

(Click on the following links to listen to a detailed description of each site from Neil Holbrook)

Site 1 - Poulton

Bronze Age Gold found near Poulton close to Cirencester. Includes jewellery and the tip of a spear head. The collection was found by a metal detectorist and dates back more than 3000 years.

Was it an offering to the gods? Was it buried for safe keeping but never reclaimed? Or was it a load of old scrap?

Roman glass bottle

Roman glass bottle (Photo: Cotswold Archaeology)

Site 2 - Gloucester

A Glass Bottle found with a Roman burial of a young woman in Parliament Street, Gloucester. It was made in Cologne in about 150 AD, but the burial was from around 100-200 years later.

So was the bottle an heir-loom? What was in it? Could it have been perfume? Medicine maybe? Where did the woman come from? How did she die?

Site 3 - Tar Barrows

Barrow call 'Tar Barrows' near Cirencester. Associated with the barrow is an old amazing story about two people who were digging a gravel pit there in 1685. The tale tells that they found several rooms containing furniture, urns and ashes, and coins with Latin inscriptions.

Tar Barrows

Tar Barrows (Photo: Cotswold Archaeology)

On entering another room they saw a figure of a man in armour with a light. The men saw two embalmed heads with long beards and heard a long groan. They escaped before the earth fell in burying all within. Is the story just folklore or was the tale based on some truth?

Site 4 - Spoonley Wood

Just outside Winchcombe in a small valley is a 'lost' Roman Villa called Spoonley Wood. Many of the walls are still standing. It's like a lost villa preserved in time. Very few people knew about it until Bill Bryson wrote about it in his book "Notes from a Small Island". Since then it's become more well known.

However not all is as it seems - the villa was in fact excavated in the 19th Century and some of the present day mosaics were reconstructed.


Salmonsbury (Photo: Cotswold Archaeology)

Site 5 - Salmonsbury

Near Bourton-on-the-Water can be found the site of Salmonsbury. People have been there since Neolithic times (2500-3000 BC). It's been home to camps, hill forts, and it was the centre of a Saxon 'hundred', but is now abandoned.

Why has the site been so important over the last 5000-6000 years?

last updated: 20/05/2008 at 18:40
created: 20/05/2008

Have Your Say

What's your favourite historical site in Gloucestershire?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

gary greenhouse
I was born in a pokey little house in Hatherley. I have asked the current owners if they would consent to one of those round blue plaques be fixed in a prominent position to denote my birthplace to the world. Now I have become so successful in the worlds of plastering, darts and scrabble tourists will have one extra sight to see.

Hugh McBains
Funny, I too think public houses provide much richness into our cultural tapestry. Only last week in the legendary Jolly Brewmaster were we able to enjoy a pantomime featuring a dozen scoutmasters and local wags

Dippy Dave
The Museum - That's quite good for history. Loads of old gear in there by all accounts.

Miles Mortimer
My favourite historical site in Gloucestershire is the Woolpack in Slad. Not only is it featured throughout Laurie Lee's "Cider With Rosie", it is also the host of some classic episodes of modern history. My friend Taz consumed a glass full of an old man's phlegm one night (in one with ice and a slice)to get a free pint of Pigs Ear and another night a bloke called Cornish set a local record for shin kicking with his wife.

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