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…and the winner is..!

A big thank you to everyone who took part in our online survey. The names of all who did were entered in a prize draw to win a replica handaxe made by Phil Harding. Phil is one of our senior archaeologists, famous for his role in ‘Time Team’, but also an expert flint knapper.

The winning name was pulled from Phil’s famous hat - and the winner is W Lewis. Congratulations! Thanks again to all of you who took part in the survey, and to Phil for making the handaxe! We already know over 26,000 of you visit the site each month, and the information from the survey will tell us what you think of it and help us develop and improve it in the future.

Win a replica Stone Age handaxe!

Fill in our online survey in August and you could win a replica handaxe.

Our website is big. It now has over a thousand pages. To help us decide our future direction we have put together a short user survey. Tell us what you think of the site today, and what you would like to see in the future. There is a prize draw.

If you leave your email address when you complete the survey, you will be entered into a competition to win a replica handaxe made by Phil Harding. Phil is one of our senior archaeologists, famous for his role in ‘Time Team‘, but also an expert flint knapper.

The survey runs until August 31st and Phil will pick the lucky winner on Friday September 1st. The winner will be contacted by email.


Medieval Mayhem on National Archaeology Day

Saturday’s National Archaeology Day at Salisbury Museum was the best yet.

The theme of the day ‘Medieval Mayhem’, was obvious from the start. Visitors arriving at the museum which is next to the magnificent medieval Salisbury cathedral were played in to the sound of a pipe and tabor.

Minstrels and re-enactors helped visitors travel back in time. And activities started at the front door: with a medieval kitchen; and an armourer!

One of the most popular activities was a visit to the Apothecary’s Stall. Here herbs were pounded and pomanders made. Other activities ranged from making medieval tiles to making medieval shields. Children enjoyed the ever popular mini-digs and revelled in the chance to dress up in medieval costume.

A talk on ‘Jetties and Jambs’ showed people how to identify old buildings and then put this skill into practice with a guided tour of the historic Museum buildings. There was also chance for visitors to find out if any of the objects they had brought along with them at the Portable Antiquities Scheme stall.

A group of Salisbury’s heritage bodies clubbed together to welcome over 1,000 visitors. Salisbury Museum, which also houses the Wiltshire base for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Salisbury Cathedral, the Salisbury based Wiltshire Conservation Centre and Wessex Archaeology joined forces for the popular annual event.

Many visitors come every year, but for many others National Archaeology Day 2006 was a new experience, an exciting opportunity to find out what makes archaeology so interesting and enjoyable.

Despite the title of the day, it wasn’t mayhem. But it was medieval. And it was memorable.

(Some photos from the event, taken by a visitor, can be seen on Flickr)

Archaeocast 5: National Archaeology Week

This week is National Archaeology Week.

Archaeocast 5 is now available for download.

You can get a flavour of the music and activities at the Archaeology Day organised by Wessex Archaeology and Salisbury Museum.

To mark National Archaeology Week, the 24 Hour Museum named Wessex Archaeology’s site, website of the week.

National Archaeology Week runs from 15th-29th July. More detail of other events on the Council for British Archaeology’s website.

Mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site

On Thursday 13 July 2006, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced that the mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, following a decision by the World Heritage Committee.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the mines of Cornwall and West Devon produced much of the world’s tin and copper. Substantial contributions were made to the British Industrial Revolution; technological innovation was central to mining. One of the most notable contributions was the development of powerful steam engines to pump out water and allow mining deep underground. Many of these innovations changed mining technology across the world, influencing global cultures and economies.

The engine houses can still be seen today, standing monuments to the mining of tin and copper, and the people whose livelihoods depended upon it.

Tessa Jowell said:

I am delighted that the World Heritage Committee has recognised the outstanding universal value of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and its important contribution to national and international industrialisation. This historic area and its people have significantly influenced the development of mining and engineering culture, not just in the UK, but across the rest of the world.

To many, World Heritage status calls to mind such famous monuments as Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. But it is important to realise that sites like the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape are as deserving of recognition and protection as their more well-known companions on the World Heritage List.

Ten areas have been identified as best representing the many different facets of Cornish mining: St Just; Hayle; Tregonning; Wendron; Camborne-Redruth; Gwennap; St Agnes; Luxulan-Charlestown; Caradon; and Tamar-Tavistock.

For further information, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.

New downloadable activities for children

Teachers and pupils can now download nine new activities from the Wessex Archaeology website. There are few resources available for primary age pupils who are studying prehistory as part of their local history study unit, so these new PDFs should be a help for teachers at Key Stage 2. The work involved in producing some of the activity sheets has been part-funded by English Heritage.

Visit the resources page in our learning section to find out more.

National Archaeology Day 2006 at Salisbury Museum

Come and join Wessex Archaeology on Saturday 15th July when we celebrate National Archaeology Day!

We will be joining forces with Salisbury Museum, the Wiltshire Conservation Centre and Salisbury Cathedral.

There will be hands-on activities with a medieval theme for all the family, so you can make your own heraldic shield, create your own medieval tile, take part in a mini-dig and find out more about the sights, smells and bugs of medieval England!

Enjoy meeting some pleasant peasants as they prepare food in their kitchen, and while you are there, listen to the music of a medieval musician.

This is also a great opportunity to visit the Wiltshire Conservation Centre before it moves from Salisbury.

National Archaeology Day is at Salisbury Museum, The Kings House, 65. Cathedral Close, Salisbury. For travel directions visit their website:

Prehistoric farm found in Somerset

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,500 year old prehistoric farm near Huntworth, south of Bridgwater, in Somerset. The remains of two Iron Age houses have been found, along with compounds and fields on an island of higher land.

The excavations were done in advance of the building of a new dairy and a cattle market by Mead Realisations. Katherine Wetherall said ‘as a farming family it is fascinating to think that over 2000 years, farmers could have been taking their cows down to lush low-lying pastures. Some things don’t change!’

Read more about the site.

Exploring Shipwrecks

We have just updated our ALSF Wrecks on the Seabed website to cover round two of the project. You can find out about how we survey wrecks, our diving operations, and see underwater photos and videos from the wrecks themselves.

The Wrecks on the Seabed project tests ways of assessing and evaluating wreck sites. The work will help us understand the effects of marine aggregate dredging on shipwrecks. The project is funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainabilty Fund (ALSF).

You can find out about the 14 wrecks that we have dived on. These are mainly of 19th and 20th century date and lie off the south coast of England. You can also find out about the methods we used to survey the wrecks.

You will need the free QuickTime player to view the movies, and a broadband connection is recommended. There is some fantastic footage filmed by our divers and by an “ROV” - a small remote controlled submarine. They can be found on the wrecks pages, which are linked from the map.

A Late Saxon Pottery Kiln at Michelmersh, Hampshire

The quiet village of Michelmersh, near Romsey in Hampshire, has an intriguing hidden history. Archaeologists have found kilns that once produced pottery which was used as far afield as Wiltshire and West Sussex. Visit our web pages to find out more.

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