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Splashing out and about for the Festival of British Archaeology

On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July Time Travelling by Water (TTBW) will be at the annual Hampshire Water Festival 2011 in Staunton Country Park, Havant. Come and join us to learn about our maritime heritage.
TTBW will also be at the Salisbury Museum on Tuesday 26 July as part of their Family Discovery Day – Marine Archaeology.
Families can explore our water table with fantastic finds. All of our artefacts have been dredged from the seafloor and include mammoth bones, part of an MG 15 machine gun and fittings from shipwrecks. There are lots of activities for children of all ages.
Join us out and about in July to learn about marine archaeology.

213 Weymouth Roadshow 2010

Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine team participate in underwater excavation of Mesolithic site in Denmark

Last month, two of Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal & Marine staff were invited to take part in a test excavation at a newly discovered underwater Mesolithic site in the Danish Baltic. The site, three metres deep and located south of Falsled Harbour on the Island of Funen, was found last year during an annual community archaeology programme run by the Øhavmuseet (Langeland Museum) which was also a short-term training mission, funded in part by (EU COST Action TD-902) SPLASHCOS.

210 John McCarthy excavates the seabed. Finds were collected in a fine-mesh bag at the end of the refuse pipe.

Dr Jonathan Benjamin and John McCarthy of Wessex Archaeology’s Edinburgh Office joined the international team, led by Otto Uldum for a one-week test excavation to establish the extent and character of the site. They were also joined by archaeologists from the Mosegård Museum (Denmark) and Dr Harald Lübke of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig Holstein (Germany) who has spent more than ten years excavating underwater sites in the Baltic.

211 Sifting through the emptied collection bag for cultural material.

Preliminary results indicate that the site represents the shoreline contemporary with the late Mesolithic, which was inhabited by the hunter-fishers of the Ertebølle culture. Worked flint, animal bone and antler, as well as fish bones, wood and other organic remains were recovered. Radiocarbon determinations will be sent to the lab in Kiel, Germany and a report will be published in 2012.

212 Some of the finds including blades, burned flint, pig teeth and a transverse arrowhead.

Marine licensing: uncharted waters

Brodies LLP celebrated the introduction of the new marine licensing system on 6 April 2011 with a seminar at their Aberdeen office along with Jim McKie of Marine Scotland and Dr Jonathan Benjamin of Wessex Archaeology's Edinburgh office and a specialist in Coastal and Marine Archaeology.
The new streamlined system is going to become increasingly important, as our seas are going to become increasingly crowded with development in the expanding sectors of offshore renewables, harbours and marinas, and fish farming, not to mention the demands of decommissioning oil and gas installations.
In addition to determining marine licence applications, Marine Scotland is the (mainly) one stop shop for dealing with other licensing decision for marine development, including Electricity Act consents for renewable generating stations, European protected species licences, and licences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and the idea is that these can all be wrapped up in a single consenting process with the marine licence. Jim Mckie highlighted the introduction of the new system as an opportunity to do things better. The holistic consenting regime promotes a close working relationship with consulting bodies dealing with all these licences.
Jonathan Benjamin gave a practical insight into how the marine licensing system will need to take account of the presence of everything from World War Two wrecks to submerged landscapes with remains that are tens of thousands of years old.

The Chiseldon Local History Group Visits the British Museum

Recently members of the Chiseldon Local History Group had a wonderful opportunity – a behind the scenes tour of metal conservation at the British Museum, and a chance to see the work that has been done on the Chiseldon Cauldrons. We were met at the British Museum by Jamie Hood, one of the conservators working on the cauldrons and guided through a maze of hallways and backdoors to the conservation department. There Alex Baldwin and Jody Joy gave us a talk on the cauldrons – recapping their discovery for those in the group who weren’t there, and giving us more information on Iron Age cauldrons in the UK and Europe.

173 Members of the Chiseldon Local History Group at the British Museum

After the recap we split into groups to visit the different labs where metal conservation takes place. In one lab we had the opportunity to take a look at the cauldrons that are being worked with at the moment. For a few people on this trip this was an opportunity to see what has happened to the cauldrons, disguised as large piles of rust and mud, that they watched being removed from a farmer’s field in their home town. For others it was an opportunity to see the cauldrons up close for the first time. Either way the experience was wonderful. The cauldrons – and pieces of cauldrons – that we had the opportunity to see were still in the process of being conserved, but definitely look more like cauldrons than what was removed from the field in Chiseldon. The metal that the cauldrons were made of truly is wafer thin, and though the metal may still be crumpled, and in some places in fragments, the details that Jamie and Alex are slowly uncovering are amazing.

172 Looking at the Iron rim of one of the cauldrons. All of the containers on the table also have pieces of cauldrons in them.

After looking at the cauldrons we moved on to another metal conservation lab where more metal artefacts were being worked with. Here we got to see an Iron Age wine strainer, an Iron Age mirror, an Anglo-Saxon dagger, and an Iron Age bucket. Once again we had the opportunity to pepper the conservators with questions, and exclaim at the amount of patience that the very precise conservation work must require.

174 Looking at two cauldrons that were buried, and have corroded, together.

When our behind the scenes tour was over we ended the trip with a late lunch, and then a quick trip around the European Iron Age displays. We had the opportunity to take a closer look at some of the cauldrons that Jody Joy mentioned in his talk. Seeing a picture of the excavation of the cauldrons included as part of a display on eating and drinking in the Iron Age ended off the trip nicely.

175 Looking at a display on eating and drinking in the Iron Age – including a picture of the excavation of the Chiseldon Cauldrons.

Thank you very much to Alex Baldwin, Jamie Hood, Jody Joy and the other metal conservators at the British Museum for giving us the opportunity to come and see their work in progress.
If you are interested in the conservation of the Chiseldon Cauldrons a blog covering their conservation can be found on the British Museum website.

Assessing Boats and Ships Teacher Packs Online

Wessex Archaeology’s learning and access team has produced two new teacher packs for the Assessing Boats and Ships project, funded by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Assessing Boats and Ships is a desk-based assessment that looks at the importance of 19th and 20th century shipwrecks lying off the coast of England.
Following successful workshops with local schools covering two different periods, Victorians and World War 2, we produced two teacher packs for KS2 and KS3 teachers. These can be downloaded from Time Travelling By Water,  our Coastal and Marine  section’s  learning and access website.
You can find out more about Assessing Boats and Ships on our project pages.

Truckle Hill: A Walk in the Woods

While the weather was still cold and the trees were still bare the Truckle Hill research group went for a walk in the woods near the Truckle Hill Roman Villa.  We were quite excited to have the opportunity to look around, as it was possible that artefacts and building material from the villa might be exposed on the hillside. The walk proved to make for a very interesting morning.

167 Taking a look at some geophysics results for the area

We started the walk off by looking at the path of a Roman road, barely visible on the ground. While we wandered through this section of wood, heading vaguely in the direction of the Bath-House we found some other interesting features. We spotted a number of quarries, probably used during the construction of the villa, or during the construction of the Bath-House.

168 Looking out for artefacts

Nearer to the site of the villa the volunteers spent most of their time looking at the ground, trying to pick out the shape of artefacts and building material, covered by the wild garlic growing all over the side of the hill. Though we didn’t find anything too spectacular, the work was well worth it.

170 One of the day’s finds: A piece of Roman pottery

Throughout the morning we spotted bits of roman pottery, stonework, pieces of roof tile and ceramic building material. We recorded everything we found during the day by taking photographs. By lunch we had covered quite a bit of ground, and photographed some nice artefacts from the villa.

169 Volunteers with very large piece of tessera

The weather warmed up nicely as the morning went on and we ended our trip by taking advantage of it. We sat outside, at our lunches and had a chat about some of the work and research that the volunteers have completed on Truckle Hill. Most of the conversation was taken up discussing the wall plaster that two of the volunteers have been working on recording since January. After a great deal of work the volunteers have recorded all of the wall plaster, from all four years of excavation at Truckle Hill. The record that they have created includes a very detailed set of notes over 160 photographs! Their hard work will be contributing to a report on the painted wall plaster at Truckle Hill.

171 Some examples of painted wall plaster from Truckle Hill

Spring news from Wessex Archaeology Sheffield

Spring has come and gone up here in Sheffield and we are now firmly in summer time with some glorious weather behind us and hopefully ahead as well. Lots of members of staff have been stretching their legs with a few geophysical jobs based out of the Sheffield Office and some field walking as well. Based around Doncaster the data from these jobs is still being analysed but early indications of some field systems means we are hopeful of finding something interesting.
We’ve recently welcomed our new project manager Andy Norton to the team here in Sheffield with his enthusiasm and experience he will doubtless help us to continue growing.

159 Geophysicist at work near Doncaste

UK National Commission for UNESCO seeks to appoint an Executive Secretary


The UK National Commission for UNESCO is seeking to appoint an Executive Secretary to lead the Secretariat and support the Board of Directors in providing independent policy advice to HM Government and support to UK individuals and institutions seeking to access UNESCO resources and accreditations.

The UK National Commission (UKNC) is the focal point for government, civil society and policy related to UNESCO in the UK. As an independent civil society organisation the UKNC brings together an extensive network of experts from across the UK in the fields of education, culture, sciences and communication.

Scale 7 (£52,700 to £61,600 including London Weighting)

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 22nd June 2011.

A job description and person specification is available to download from the link below.

UK National Commission for UNESCO seeks to appoint a new Board of Non Executive Directors


The UK National Commission for UNESCO is seeking to appoint a new Board of Non Executive Directors.

The UK National Commission (UKNC) is the focal point for government, civil society and policy related to UNESCO in the UK. As an independent civil society organisation the UKNC brings together an extensive network of experts from across the UK in the fields of education, culture, sciences and communication.

The UKNC is now inviting applications for non executive company directors, with a range of relevant expertise and experience in the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication, and experience of working with not for profit organisations.    A job description is available from the link below.



Our first year in Edinburgh April 2010 - May 2011 events

Our Wessex Archaeology Scotland team have been busy participating in a wide variety of events since opening our office in the Spring of 2010 . These events range from society lectures to international conferences, from Orkney to California, and this list will give you a taste of what we have been up to.
Forthcoming events involving the Edinburgh team will be posted here and on the Wessex Archaeology Edinburgh Events page. Do check back to see what's coming up.

SEP 6, 2010

Northumberland Windfarm Conference – which highlighted windfarms and cultural heritage in England and Scotland. WA's Head of Coastal and Marine, Antony Firth, presented. The event was sponsored in part by WA

Marine Renewables


OCT 14 2010

Historic Scotland: Continued Professional Development (CPD) lecture to staff entitled Cultural Heritage and the Marine Environment – given by Jonathan Benjamin



OCT 21-22, 2010

Marine Alliance/Marine Renewables Workshop (Orkney) – Jonathan Benjamin presented a Paper: Cultural Heritage and the Marine Environment: Research, management and cooperation with Industry

Marine Renewables


NOV 3, 2010

RenewableUK 2010 Conference (Wave & Tidal Event) - Conference exhibition held by Antony Firth and Jonathan Benjamin

Marine Renewables


NOV 24 2010

ALGAO Scotland Geophysics Training Day: WA's Geophysics Manager, Paul Baggaley, gave a talk to the local authority archaeologists from around Scotland

Archaeology - Scotland


FEB 1-2, 2011

Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conference: Conference exhibition held by Jonathan Benjamin, Candice Hatherley and Antony Firth.

Marine Renewables


MARCH 30 – APRIL 3 2011

Society for American Archaeology Conference, California.  Session – of Shorelines and Ships: Coastal Archaeology.  Jonathan Benjamin – Managing submerged prehistoric archaeology: Research objectives and cooperation with industry

Academic conference

Sacramento, USA

APRIL 11 – 12  2011

Jonathan Benjamin chaired a session at the international SLASHCOS meeting, funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, held in Berlin.

Academic conference


APRIL 19 2011

Uncharted waters: steering your development through the new marine licensing system – participate in this seminar run by Brodies LLP (planning solicitors).  Other speakers included Jim McKie, Head of Planning and Licensing at Marine Scotland and representatives from Brodies LLP.

Marine Renewables


May 9 2011

Submerged Prehistory off Scotland; a speculative study – a public lunchtime lecture presented by Andrew Bicket (with an introduction by Jonathan Benjamin) to the RCAHMS.  A copy of Submerged Prehistory was presented to the RCAHMS library by Wessex Archaeology Edinburgh



156 Antony Firth manning the stand at Renewable UK 2010 Conference – Wave and Tidal

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