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Restoration of Grade II Listed Cross at Leigh, Dorset

Leigh Village CrossLeigh Village CrossIn 2008 Wessex Archaeology was asked by Philip Hughes Associates to make scaled plans and elevation drawings of the damaged Grade II Listed stone cross at Leigh in Dorset.

The measured drawings were used to piece the cross back together and villagers celebrated the restoration of their cross at a blessing by Bishop George Browning on 14th August 2009.

Further information about the cross can be found on the Leigh village website and Dorset Vol. I – West, A Survey and Inventory by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments published 1952.

Plans and elevation drawings of Leigh Cross produced by Wessex Archaeology's Graphics Office

Use the controls below to zoom and pan about the drawing.

New book - Hill Hall: a singular house devised by a Tudor intellectual

Cover: Hill Hall: a singular house devised by a Tudor intellectualCover: Hill Hall: a singular house devised by a Tudor intellectualWe are pleased to announce the publication of "Hill Hall: a singular house devised by a Tudor intellectual" by Paul Drury and Richard Simpson. The project was funded by English Heritage, and managed and co-ordinated by Wessex Archaeology, who also produced the illustrations and provided the archaeological contributions.

This is the complete history of a building that began as a hunting lodge late in the eleventh century, to its rebuilding in the French-influenced classical style in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Smith, to the building's use as a prison four centuries later, its gutting by fire, and subsequent restoration beginning in the 1980s.

Find out more in our Books section.

Plans, sectional elevations and period plans of Hill Hall can be downloaded from the Archaeology Data Service.

Wessex Archaeology will undertake the Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey of the South East

Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys (RCZAS) aim to determine the nature and extent of archaeological remains within the coastal landscape. The RCZAS programme is particularly important when the effects of coastal erosion and the impact of development, which are causing irreparable damage to the coastal heritage, are considered. This highlights the importance of thoroughly recording each monument or feature and undertaking the associated research prior to this landscape alteration. Furthermore, the assessments aim to serve as a basis for understanding landscape change and development, and contribute towards improved management of the coastal historic environment in the future.
Dover CastleThe study area that Wessex Archaeology will investigate is located in the south-east of England, and is one of the last Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys (RCZAS) to be initiated. Along with the other RCZAS completed for other areas of the UK coast, this project has been commissioned by English Heritage, who intend to complete a full archaeological survey of the entire English coast by 2013. The area that we will investigate covers a distance of over 200 miles of coastline from Redbridge at Totton in Hampshire in the west to White Ness, Kingsgate in Kent in the east. It extends seaward to six nautical miles and inland to either one kilometre or to the five metre contour line (dependent on which has the furthest distance from the coastline). The project is split into two separate phases. Phase 1 encompasses the desk-based assessment of the area, which includes not only the compilation and analysis of known archaeological sites in the area, but also the analysis of relevant aerial photographs held in the English Heritage archives at the National Monuments Records. The scanning of these photographs and digitising of apparent archaeological features will feed into the National Mapping Programme, providing an extensive amalgamation of the UK’s archaeological/military remains that are visible from the air. Phase 2 consists of the field assessment and aims to ground truth and supplement the results from the initial phase. This phase will also conclude with the compilation of the final report. Using aerial photographs, historic maps and charts, existing archaeological and historical records, analysis of some ground elevation data called LiDAR, together with a walkover survey of the area, we hope to build up a comprehensive catalogue of the types and extents of archaeological remains that exist along this extremely diverse and culturally interesting coastline.
Wreck of the Amsterdam Several external sources will provide us with existing archaeological, historical, and military information already known to lie within our study area, including the National Monuments Record (and the National Mapping Programme), local Historic Environment Records and Sites and Monuments Records, and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. And in turn, the results that we will generate from the project will be given back to these sources to supplement and enhance their records. This is an excellent means of gathering and sharing locally, nationally and potentially internationally important data that can be accessed by all. From the 500,000 year old human remains at Boxgrove to the intense military activity in and over the Straits of Dover during World War II, it is likely that all archaeological and historical periods will be represented on the South East coast by a huge variety of archaeological features. We will be regularly updating Splash with news on the project’s progress, so be sure to watch this space!

Archaeologists tackle impacts of climate change

Wave action on the south east coastWave action on the south east coastThe effects of climate change, including rising sea level and coastal erosion, as well as other factors such as coastal development and shoreline management initiatives, constantly threaten archaeological sites along our coast. The destructive power of the sea is at its most visible during heavy storms when archaeological sites can be rapidly revealed or buried in thick sediment. However, steady change, such as the gradual erosion of the cliffs of Dover, can also bury, reveal or destroy archaeology. From 500,000 year old hand-axes to military aircraft lost during the Second World War, the archaeology of the coast of England is likely to represent every period and theme in archaeology.
A new study commissioned by English Heritage will examine archaeology along the south east coast of England, from Totton in Hampshire to Kingsgate in Kent. This Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey, conducted by Wessex Archaeology, will produce a detailed review of archaeology on the coast, in order to determine the sites most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Coastal sites are particularly important, as some site types are unique while others exhibit levels of preservation not generally found in terrestrial equivalents. Data will be collated from the National Monuments Record, the relevant county and local Historic Environment Records and Sites and Monuments Records, along with various other local and national sources. As part of this assessment, tens of thousands of aerial photographs will be analysed, and visible archaeological sites will be digitised to contribute to the National Mapping Programme. Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys have already been undertaken in many other areas around the coast of the UK as part of a wider English Heritage initiative. While the South East is one of the last areas to be studied, English Heritage expects all of the archaeological surveys around the coast to be completed by 2013.
Fieldwork in Chichester HarbourFieldwork in Chichester HarbourAn understanding of known sites will be combined with a review of coastal change from the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago to the present in order to identify coastal areas with archaeological potential. Armed with this knowledge, archaeologists will review models of future coastal change to identify the archaeology at risk. The results of this study will provide a sound basis for developing management priorities, such as areas requiring further survey, and will be incorporated into Shoreline and Estuary Management Plans.
A project Liaison Group has been established to bring together representatives from stakeholder organisations, including English Heritage, the Environment Agency and the National Trust, as well as archaeologists from the Hampshire, East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent County Councils and the Southampton, Portsmouth and Chichester City Councils.

Developers to present Wessex Archaeology book to Library

Cambourne New Settlement front coverCambourne New Settlement front coverThe Wessex Archaeology book about the extensive excavations at Cambourne New Settlement near Cambridge will be formally launched on Saturday 27th June.

Neville Stebbing, Project Director of the Cambourne Consortium, which comprises Bovis Homes, Bryant Homes and George Wimpey, will formally present a copy of the recently published book to Cambourne Library.

Commenting on the report Neville Stebbing said ‘we commissioned this study to ensure that no archaeological remains would be destroyed when we started to develop the site. The project revealed far more than we ever imagined. The fact that the area has been inhabited from as far back as the Bronze Age is proof that Cambourne has always been a popular place to live.’

Lesley Noblett, Head of Libraries for Cambridgeshire County Council added ’we are very pleased that this important historical document has been presented to the local library.’

Before the formal presentation of the book Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology will give a short illustrated talk about the discoveries and their significance. There will also be posters and a display of some of the finds discovered in the excavations at Cambourne. Copies of the book will be also be available on the day at a special discount price.

The event will be at 1.30pm, Saturday 27th June at Cambourne Library, Sackville House, Sackville Way, Great Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6HL. Telephone: 0345 045 5225.

Festival of British Archaeology 2009

The Festival of British Archaeology (formerly National Archaeology Week) is your unique chance to discover and explore the archaeological heritage of the United Kingdom. During this two-week archaeological extravaganza, which will run from Saturday 18th July to Sunday 2nd August, you can take part in excavation open days, hands-on activities, family fun days, guided tours, exhibitions, lectures, ancient art and craft workshops and much, much more.

The aim of this annual event is to encourage everyone, including young people and their families to visit sites of archaeological/historical interest or museums, heritage and resource centres, to see archaeology in action and to take part in activities on-site.

Our involvement

We are helping to organise an event for the Festival of British Archaeology:

Fabulous Food and Gruesome Grub
Saturday 18th July 10.00-16.00
Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

Free activities and demonstrations. Explore the world of eating and drinking from the Bronze Age to the Victorians. Bring your artefacts to be identified. Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum with Wessex Archaeology and Salisbury Cathedral.

Telephone: 01722 332151 Email:

Wessex Archaeology opens new office in Maidstone, Kent (since moved to larger premises in Rochester)

Due to the success of our office in Maidstone, in December 2010 we moved to much larger premises offering our full range of archaeological services in Rochester, Kent.

Original article (June 2009):

Wessex Archaeology is delighted to announce the opening of a new office in Maidstone, North Kent. We have a long track record of working in the South East of England and our aim is to build on that success.

Covering the counties of Essex, Kent and East Sussex, the initial focus of the Maidstone office will be on evaluation and excavation work. However, the complete range of services will be available covering historic buildings and landscapes, excavation and publication, coastal and marine: the full spectrum of archaeological and heritage consulting and contracting.

The new office signifies a strengthening of the strategy of regional centres providing professional and community services with local delivery and critically, access to the extensive resource base that size can bring.


Helen Glass, Regional Manager, Maidstone (Email:

European Maritime Day

Trajan\'s ForumWessex Archaeology marked European Maritime Day by attending the Stakeholder Conference organised by DG Maritime Affairs of the European Commission. The conference in Rome included a special workshop on Raising awareness of common maritime heritage as a cultural pillar of the integrated maritime policy.
European Maritime Day shows the importance of the sea and oceans in everyday life throughout Europe. The wide-ranging papers presented at the workshop covered many different aspects of maritime heritage. Key points of discussion concerned the role of heritage in re-connecting society with the maritime industries upon which it depends, and maintaining a broad definition of 'marine environment' that encompasses its historic features and landscapes.
Wessex Archaeology has produced a flyer on our role in integrating heritage with marine industry.

Wessex invest for the future

[Update] Due to the continued success of our Maidstone Office, we have moved to new, much larger premises offering our full range of archaeology services in Rochester.
Wessex Archaeology is delighted to announce the opening of a new office in Maidstone, North Kent. We have a long track record of working in the South East of England and the aim is to build on that success.
Wessex Archaeology has been operating for 30 years and has an enviable track record. It is the only company to offer a comprehensive archaeological and heritage service covering above ground, below ground and underwater projects. We have a well deserved reputation for quality, flexibility, expertise, delivery, risk management and client care.
The new office signifies a strengthening of the strategy of regional centres providing professional and community services with local delivery and critically, access to the extensive resource base that size can bring. We believe that investment now, in such a network of regional centres, will ensure we are well placed for our existing and new clients as the economy recovers.
The initial focus in the new office will be on evaluation and excavation work. But the complete range of services will be available covering historic buildings and landscapes, excavation and publication, coastal and marine: the full spectrum of archaeological and heritage consulting and contracting.
The Maidstone office will initially cover Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
Email or call us on 01622 739381.



Wessex Archaeology
The Malthouse
The Oast
Weavering Street
ME14 5JN

Email: Richard Greatorex:


New podcast: Archaeocast 12 - Exploring the wreck of the paddle steamer Iona

Archaeocast logoIn March 2009, at the request of Historic Scotland, Wessex Archaeology’s dive team investigated the wreck of the Iona I, a paddle steamer lost in 1862 in the Inner Clyde Estuary near Greenock, Scotland.

As part of our ongoing series of podcasts, this edition of Archaeocast was recorded at sea by our coastal and marine archaeologists during exploration of the Iona. You will hear about the story of the steamer, how it was involved with the American Civil War, and hear from divers exploring the Iona's remains on the seabed.

Listen to Archaeocast 12 online, or subscribe to Archaeocast with iTunes (this link opens iTunes if you have it installed) to download the latest editions automatically.

Read more about our Coastal and Marine archaeology work.
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