Teffont Archaeology Project > The Sites > Black Furlong Wood

Black Furlong Wood

Black Furlong Wood lies above the southern part of Teffont Evias, on the edge of a plateau to the west of the village. It contains beds of fossiliferous limestone, defined as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the fossil insects within the rock. This limestone is excellent building material, and was exploited in the medieval and post-medieval periods for local buildings, but is also known to have been used in parts of Salisbury Cathedral. In the early 20th century the limestone was also quarried to be broken down into lime in kilns still extant in a road cutting just north of the wood. During the quarrying for lime, workers discovered a large number of Roman burials. Accounts vary as to whether these were sarcophagi, coffins, or (more likely) stone lined ‘cist’ burials, but a minimum figure of 34 burials was reported, with local reports closer to 100. Most were destroyed in the lime kilns, but some were acquired by the British Museum. Unfortunately these are apparently now lost. In the later 20th century, local amateur archaeologist Ron Lever discovered additional burials with Roman artefacts including hobnails from people’s shoes or boots, jewellery and other material culture. Recent research also indicates that the stone in Black Furlong was exploited in the Roman period, and we hope to explore in coming years where this may have been distributed. Black Furlong is thus an intriguing site, certainly a Roman burial ground, but perhaps one with a quarry close by.