Old Sarum Landscapes Project
Old Sarum and the landscape around it, is the subject of a research project  undertaken by the Archaeology Department at Southampton University, that began in the spring of 2014. Each year from then until 2020 when Coronavirus Restrictions intervened, a team made up of undergraduates accompanied by University Staff, have spent several weeks in and around Stratford sub Castle and Old Sarum.
(R-Left) Dr Kris Strutt, Project Director;
Dominic Barker, both University of Southampton
Dr Alex Langlands, University of Swansea.
Volunteers from the local community have been included in the geophysics and excavations. Children from Stratford sub Castle school have toured trenches and the archaeologists have visited the school.
Images of surveying, excavation, and of some of the 'finds' uncovered in Stratford sub Castle, are in our Photo Gallery.
Links to reports are at the bottom of this webpage.
The Project Team studied LIDAR image data  made available by the Environment Agency. Subsequent on-site visits focussed on promising 'areas of interest' identified in those images, allowing on-site investigations to be carried out in the most efficient way.
LIDAR image published here with the permission of the Environment Agency and the University of Southampton.
In the autumn of 2014, news was released to press agencies to announce what early results from the scanning techniques had uncovered.
"Experts have produced a detailed plan of Old Sarum without any digging at the site. The latest scanning techniques have uncovered a network of buildings at the 11th century hillfort, once a thriving medieval city. Residential areas have been identified and there is evidence of industrial features such as kilns or furnaces.
The university's director of archaeological prospection services Kristian Strutt said 'Archaeologists and historians have known for centuries that there was a medieval city at Old Sarum but until now there has been no proper plan within the city walls. Our research so far has shown how the entire outer bailey of the monument was heavily built-up in the middle ages, representing a substanial urban centre.'" 
Since that 2014 announcement, residents of Stratford sub Castle have been keen to learn more about what has been discovered so close to our village. The 'Friends of St Lawrence Church' arranged for expert speakers to come to packed venues in March 2015, in May 2017 and again in October 2018, so that later research findings and their historical context could be explained.
In 2016, the University of Southampton encouraged local residents and archaeological groups to take a more active part in the OSLP and a study day was held at the University in January 2017. In April 2017, when the students extended their investigations to include the fields between Old Sarum and Stratford sub Castle, several local volunteers took part in the geophysics surveying.
Up to this point, all of the work had been non-intrusive to the landscape. In July 2017, the Summer School activities included some limited excavations revealing quantities of medieval pottery and some debris from WW2 when troops were stationed nearby. Alex Langlands from the University of Swansea also took part.
The OSLP Team returned to Stratford sub Castle in April and July 2018 to carry out more geophysical work and further excavations.
In April 2019 the team returned to begin surveying near The Portway. There was a Summer School for 3 weeks during July 2019.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021, the usual springtime geophysics and summer Field Schools did not take place.
 Light detection and ranging - Wikipedia explanation
 Source - The Journal December 11, 2014
Alex Langlands recorded a short video about the Old Sarum Landscapes Project in 2017
for 'Visit Wiltshire'. Click the image (right) to view.
FURTHER READING / REPORTS (by kind permission of the authors)
Old Sarum Landscapes Project Report No. 5 . Kris Strutt & Dominic Barker published 2022