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Exhibition News - Making History: Antiquaries in Britain 1707-2007

Chamber Tomb of Pentre Ifan near Newport, PembrokeshireChamber Tomb of Pentre Ifan near Newport, PembrokeshireOn Saturday 4th October 2008, the exhibition "Making History: Antiquaries in Britain 1707-2007" opened at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

It explores the development of archaeology, from antiquarianism to the rise of professional archaeology, and runs until 3rd January 2009.

Making History, presented in association with the Society of Antiquaries of London, features original works of art, manuscripts, and artefacts from their collection. It also includes a video installation by Wessex Archaeology staff showcasing some of the latest 3D capture techniques used in archaeology.

Admission to the museum is £5, which includes entrance to the exhibition. Opening times can be found on the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum website.


Unknown steamship in the Nab Channel (Site 5010)

Multibeam sonar image - wooden steamship

Documentary evidence suggests that this is the wreck of a wooden steamship, built no later than 1862. The results from Wessex Archaeology’s geophysical and dive surveys have narrowed the identification of the vessel and suggest that it is either the Lioness or the Florence: both steamships with single boilers. The wreck of the vessel includes a scotch boiler, a four-bladed iron propeller, and a dish reportedly found on the site marked with, “made exclusively for the United States Line”. This artefact is likely to be intrusive to the site since none of the 53 ships of the United States Lines were of composite or wooden construction, or sank off the English coast.
The wreck is located 634m NE of the Nab Tower in the deep draught vessel approach to the Nab Channel; the main shipping lane to Portsmouth and Southampton. It lies in 13.6m deep water (CD) on a sandy seabed.
In August 2002 Wessex Archaeology carried out a geophysical survey of the site, using sidescan sonar and magnetometer. Two brief assessment dives were also undertaken that month, detailing the condition of the wreck site and the visible components of the wreck.
In June 2003, further geophysical surveys were conducted using multibeam sonar, sub-bottom profiler and magnetometer. No dive survey was completed that year due to the site’s location in the shipping channel, Wessex Archaeology being advised not to dive by Southampton VTS (Vessel Traffic Services).
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Princes Channel Wreck: interim report published

Princes Channel An interim report on the Princes Channel Wreck, also known as the Gresham Ship, has been published in Post-Medieval Archaeology. The Princes Channel Wreck is a medium-sized armed merchant ship found in the Thames in 2003. We carried out a series of investigations that resulted in the recovery of the surviving hull structure and a range of artefacts in 2004.
A PDF of the published article is available for download. You can also download our Phase III report, which was prepared following recovery of the hull structure. The main Wessex Archaeology website has more details of our investigation of the Princes Channel Wreck.

The New Antiquarians: 50 years of archaeological innovation in Wessex

CBA Wessex Autumn Conference: Saturday and Sunday 1st -2nd November 2008

In 2008, CBA Wessex is celebrating its 50th year. To mark this occasion, we are pleased to announce a major two-day conference "The New Antiquarians: 50 years of archaeological innovation in Wessex" to be held at the Ordnance Survey conference centre in Southampton on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd November 2008.

The aim of the conference is three-fold: to review the significant advances that have taken place in the past 50 years; to outline current thinking and to speculate where the next half century could lead us and to help promote our continuing outreach programme and other activities. The conference is broken down into eight sessions, covering a range of periods and specialist areas.

We are proposing, with the support of Council for British Archaeology (CBA), to publish the proceedings as a record of the event. We are aiming to bring together as many as possible of those who have made a critical contribution to archaeological knowledge and practice in the Wessex region. Confirmed contributors include Barry Cunliffe, Geoff Wainwright, Tim Darvill, Mike Fulford, Mike Parker-Pearson, Peter Fowler, Josh Pollard, Phil Harding, Martin Green and many others.

The Venue

The conference will be held at the Ordnance Survey Business Centre, Romsey Road, Southampton SO16 4GU. The venue is within easy reach of Southampton city centre, with good road and rail links and on-site parking. For site details and map, please visit the OS website.

Food, Drinks and Accommodation

Tea and coffee will be provided during the morning and afternoon breaks. Hot meals and sandwiches will be available at lunch time in the Ordnance Survey café. A wide range of local accommodation is available. A list of useful contact numbers is available on the conference website and on request.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will be held on Saturday evening at a local restaurant with Andrew Lawson as after dinner speaker. Cost will be £29.95/head and details and menu options will be displayed on the website or on request. Please note, numbers for the dinner are very limited and early booking is highly recommended.

Further Information

For further information on the weekend please contact:
Andy Manning, CBA Wessex Meetings Secretary
or telephone 01722 343 406
Fax 01722 337562
or write to Andy Manning, CBA Wessex Meeting Secretary C/o Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury Wiltshire SP4 6EB


The weekend event is organised by CBA Wessex in association with the Ordnance Survey and Wessex Archaeology.

Unknown wreck near Littlehampton (Site 5031)

Sidescan sonar image - unidentified vessel The remains of an unidentified wreck broken in two parts and lying on the port side.
The dimensions of the wreck and surrounding debris scatter measures 76m x 16m. The shipwreck is lying in 27m of water and is located to the SW of Littlehampton, West Sussex.
In August 2002 the site was surveyed with sidescan sonar and magnetometer. The strength of the magnetometer results suggested that the vessel was constructed from wood but with ferrous components associated with it, such as ship fittings or cargo. The site was not dived due to adverse weather conditions.
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Tag Clouds - what are they?

You might have noticed that with the redevelopment of our website in recent months we have introduced three boxes on to the front page of our website, each containing what appears to be a jumble of different-sized archaeology-related words.

Mini tag clouds from our homepageMini tag clouds from our homepage


And there's more on our tags page:

More tag cloudsMore tag clouds


These are known as "tag clouds" and can help you to navigate around our website.


What are they for? Why are all of the words different sizes?

Each page on our website has key words attached to them. They can be seen just above the footer:

Keywords, or tags, are attached to each page on our websiteKeywords, or tags, are attached to each page on our website


We call these keywords "tags" and they can help us to identify important topics contained in pages, and can help to make our search facility more accurate. They can also help us to group pages outside of their normal, hierarchical, structure. Tags are stored in a central database, and by listing them on a page, we can see the large number of topics contained on our website. Tags used more frequently will appear in a larger font. This gives visual clues to the quantity of information on a particular topic that we currently have on our site.

The tag clouds dynamically change as we add more content, so that changes and topics can be easily spotted.

For example, if you look at the "Explore by Place" tag cloud on our homepage, at the time of writing the county of Surrey appears in very small text. Wiltshire is in the largest font size, and most prominent. We have published only one project from Surrey, but twelve from Wiltshire. If we were to publish some more of our Surrey-based projects, and not add anything from Wiltshire for a while, then the tag cloud will reflect this by increasing the size of the word "Surrey" and reducing the size of "Wiltshire", if projects from other counties overtook.

We hope that you find the tag clouds useful, or at least as a fun way of exploring our content.

Feel free to explore our "big" tag cloud on our tags page, which includes keywords, counties and periods, or read more about tag clouds on Wikipedia.

Thames Shipwrecks: a race against time

Recent work by Wessex Archaeology in the Thames Estuary has been captured in two BBC programmes Thames Shipwrecks: a race against time. The programmes have been produced by Touch Productions and broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesday 26 August and Tuesday 2 September 2008.
Thames Shipwrecks: a race against time (BBC 2)Thames Shipwrecks: a race against time (BBC 2)
Find out more about the background to our work and involvement in the series over at Splash, our coastal and marine archaeology blog.

Thames Shipwrecks

hat-and-umbilicalRecent work by Wessex Archaeology in the Thames Estuary has been captured in two BBC programmes Thames Shipwrecks: a race against time. The programmes have been produced by Touch Productions and broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesday 26 August and Tuesday 2 September 2008.
The programmes examine a series of wrecks within the main navigation channels looked after by the Port of London Authority (PLA). The port is very busy, with major plans for expansion that include new dredging in existing channels. Since 2003, Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal and Marine section has been advising the PLA on how best to safeguard the archaeological and historical interest in wrecks that lie in these channels.
We have carried out an extensive range of investigations, including desk-based research, marine geophysical surveys, and archaeological diving. Each programme of work has been agreed with English Heritage and includes provision for reporting, handling of recovered material, and publication. Further archaeological work is being planned to accompany future wreck clearance and dredging. Here on Splash, Wessex Archaeology's Coastal and Marine website, you can find out more about our shipwreck investigations.

The Bottle Wreck (Site 5013)

Southern End of Pipe Cargo Commonly known as the "Bottle Wreck", this site mainly consists of a mound of cargo, since the vessel itself is badly deteriorated. Secondary sources have characterised this wreck as a small sailing coaster or barge with at least two masts. It carried a cargo of cast-iron pipes, beer (in barrels and bottles), and a general cargo (including pottery, cutlery, razors and guns). The pottery assemblage has dated the sinking of the vessel to between 1833 and 1835. The "Bottle Wreck" may also have traded overseas, presumably to the United States since the decoration on the razor handles includes images of George Washington and the Liberty Bell. It is believed that the vessel may have sank on its way from London, where the brewery was located, to a south coast port such as Southampton or Portsmouth.
This wreck is situated 7.18nm ESE of Selsey Bill in the Outer Owers, at a general depth of 19.7m (CD). The dimensions are 14m in length and 6m in breadth.
In August 2002 a geophysical survey of the wreck was completed by Wessex Archaeology, using sidescan sonar and magnetometer. The site was not dived during this year's fieldwork due to poor weather conditions.
Multibeam sonar image - In June 2003, the site was re-surveyed using multibeam sonar, sub-bottom profiler and magnetometer. The site was only dived once, again due to adverse weather conditions. However, the dive results confirmed that the magnetic anomaly returned by the geophysics survey corresponded with the large cargo of iron pipes.
Finally, in the summer of 2005, a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) was used to obtain live recordings of the wreck site that would go towards the site archive. Examples of the video footage together with underwater photos, a site plan and more information about the Bottle Wreck (including its construction, fittings and cargo) can all be viewed here.
For further information about some of the objects retrieved from this site over the years, visit the Littlehampton museum website.
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Last few places on our 2008 Practical Archaeology course

There are just a few spaces left on the 2008 Practical Archaeology courses at Down Farm, Cranborne Chase, Dorset. This excellent training course offers 5 days excavation on an Iron Age site, with first class tuition in fieldwork techniques together with workshops on identifying pottery, flint and bone. Courses run from 1st to 5th and from 8th to 11th September and are suitable for all levels of experience.
To find out more please visit the Training section of our website.
Practical Archaeology Course 2007 Team PhotoPractical Archaeology Course 2007 Team Photo


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