Lying beneath the waves to the south of the Isle of Wight is the wreck of the Mendi , a Liverpool steamship which sank in 1917 with the loss of over 600 lives.
Most of the dead were men of the South African Native Labour Corps on their way to France to support Allied troops on the Western Front.
The loss was quickly forgotten in war weary Britain and suppressed in South Africa during white rule. Nearly 100 years later, the sacrifice made by the men on board has emerged to become a South African icon of equality, hope and reconciliation.
On Wednesday 10 December 2014, Coastal & Marine’s Graham Scott will be telling the story of the Mendi, and explaining how the archaeology of the wreck is now being used by the South African National War Memorial to honour and tell the story of the men on board.
The talk starts at 17.30 at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Building 65 B, Avenue Campus, Southampton University (SO17 1BF), and all are welcome.
As part of the Festival of Archaeology this summer, discover the amazing archaeology at Barrow Clump, a Bronze Age burial mound and Saxon cemetery being excavated by injured Service personnel and veterans as part of Operation Nightingale.
Saturday 19th July 2014
11am - 4pm
No need to book, all ages welcome
- Witness the archaeological excavation
- Come face to face with Saxon warriors
- Handle replica Saxon artefacts with Wiltshire Museum
- Meet Channel 4's Time Team favourite Phil Harding
- Take part in activities for the whole family
- Plus lots more to see, do and discover!
For more details contact Laura Joyner
How to find us
Drive north on the A345 from the Amesbury junction of the A303, crossing one roundabout. Turn right at the 'C' tank crossing and follow signs to the parking area. Please note that the site is a 15-minute walk from the parking area. Limited spaces are available at the site for those with walking difficulties.
Are you looking for something fun to do this half term?
Then look no further than the prehistoric half term club at the Beeches Community Centre in Bulford. Come and join the team and take part in games, bush craft activities, Stone Age cookery and much more!
This club is for children aged 7-11
and is completely FREE.
It will run from 10am-12pm on:
and is completely FREE.
It will run from 10am-12pm on:
Monday 28th October
Tuesday 29th October
Wednesday 30th October
If you have any questions, or to book a place for your child, please contact Amy Pugh, from the Army Welfare Service, on 07785 357065. Early booking is advisable.
This innovative and fun event is being organised by the Army Welfare Service, English Heritage and Wessex Archaeology.
This Autumn, 8-12 year olds are invited to explore the history of Bulford and tread in the footsteps of people from the past.
The Bulford Now and Then project will recreate archive photographs taken in the 1970s to see how the town has developed over the last 40 years. Meetings will take place on:
Saturday 19th October 10.30am-12pm
Saturday 9th November 10.30am-12pm
Saturday 7th December 10.30am-12pm
All sessions are free and you do not need to be able to attend all sessions to take part. We will be meeting at the Beeches Community Centre (Bulford Road, SP4 9BT) and walking to the locations, so please wrap up warm!
For more information please contact Laura Joyner on
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01722 326867.
email@example.com or 01722 326867.
This project has been organised in association with the Army Welfare Service and kindly funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Preparations are underway for the second year of the Tinsley Manor Project, a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Your Heritage’ project being undertaken by Wessex Archaeology’s Sheffield team in partnership with Heeley City Farm and Tinsley Junior School. The education and community project is investigating the possibility that the remains of a medieval manor house may survive beneath the school. The ‘Old Manor House’ farm was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the school.
The first season has been a great success with the children many of whom are learning English as a second language and learning about archaeology for the first time. They have explored the history of the local area, taken part in archive research, map regression, geophysical survey, test-trenching and finds processing. The project is also engaging the community through a new volunteer group focusing on archival research and collating oral histories, but also training in survey techniques. The local history society, church coffee morning group, local library and community forum have been spreading the word, collecting old photographs and memories.
At the end of the summer term four trenches were located on the school playing fields in relation to the results of map regression and resistivity survey and three revealed stone and brick foundations and surfaces. The Year 5s converted their classroom into a site hut for the duration of the fieldwork. The site was open to the whole school community and visitors included the local history group, parents, school governors, the local press and the Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts who called in to check on progress. Finds recovered from the trenches included a sherd of medieval 12th to 15th century pottery along with post-medieval pottery, clay tobacco pipe, glass, brick, slate and animal bone.
Wessex Senior Project Manager Richard O’Neill will be talking about the Tinsley project at a forthcoming ‘Archaeology in Partnership’ workshop at Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum on 22th October.
Last week our Community & Education Officer, Laura Joyner, travelled to Gosport for the 20,000 Leagues under the Solent event at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.
The event was organised as part of the museum’s Sammy Sardine Summer School and provided an insight into the underwater world of diving and marine archaeology. Our display featured a variety of mystery marine artefacts, our latest Dredged Up magazine and a make-your-own-boat activity sheets. The day proved popular with both children and parents alike!
Find out about future archaeology events like this one by following us on Twitter (@wessexarch) or liking us on Facebook.
Archaeological excavations at Cannington Court, Somerset were opened up to the public last week for a unique ‘behind the scenes’ viewing. Local residents were invited to see the excavation area and artefacts, whilst Wessex Archaeology staff were on hand to provide information and answer questions.
Sponsored and organised by EDF Energy, the open afternoon came at the end of a five-week excavation on the site of Cannington Court, originally a 12th century Benedictine priory. Archaeological work, carried out by Wessex Archaeology, revealed several medieval features including wall foundations, two lined culverts and a cobbled floor surface. These features may be contemporary with the original priory, although dating evidence was very limited with only one sherd of 10-12th century pottery found.
EDF Energy are sensitively refurbishing the historic buildings to produce a state of the art training centre for their staff. Find out more about the Cannington Court development here.
Wessex Archaeology’s volunteers were treated to an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ tour at Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum last week as part of a Volunteer Together event. Organised by the Stonehenge Learning & Outreach Coordination Group (SLOCG) this event was open to everyone who volunteers within the Stonehenge landscape for either English Heritage, the National Trust, Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum and of course Wessex Archaeology.
The afternoon featured updates by the five SLOCG members on their current volunteering opportunities, a tour of the museum’s new gallery space and a special viewing of some of the rare artefacts that have been temporarily removed from the display cases. There was also plenty of time to network and chat over tea and cake! The event was attended by over 80 volunteers and was enjoyed by all.
To find out more about volunteering with Wessex Archaeology please contact our Community & Education Officer, Laura Joyner.
On Wednesday 17th July 2013, Wessex Archaeology opened the doors of our head office in Salisbury for a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into the diverse nature of our work.
As part of the Festival of Archaeology 2013, members of the public were given the opportunity to learn more about all aspects of archaeology by speaking to a range of specialists and touring our unique building, Portway House (RAF training centre, and medical block), built in the 1930s as part of the airfield complex.
Tour groups visited our environmental archaeology department, drawing office and finds lab and were shown around each area by the relevant experts. They also heard talks about the history of Portway House, archaeological conservation and terrestrial and marine geophysics.
The day was a great success and enjoyed by all. Positive feedback included:
“Brilliant open day! Very informative.”
“Very interesting building and experts within.”
“Fascinating – lots more please!”
Wessex Archaeology is organising several events to take place during the Festival of British Archaeology 2013. We will also be displaying information and activities at several local archaeology events. Below is a summary of these events and links to find out more details.
Saturday 13th July 10am-4pm
Longforth Farm Archaeology Day
Wessex Archaeology is organising a free open day in Wellington, Somerset, on the site of a newly discovered medieval complex of buildings.
Sunday 14th July 11am-4pm
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
Join us at the Archaeology and Conservation Fair where you can meet 20 local organisations involved in archaeology and find out about fieldwork opportunities, careers, courses, clubs for children, local societies and museums. There will be something for everyone including: fun activities for children; a chance to handle objects from local museums; a fascinating programme of 10 minute talks; advice on careers and work experience; volunteering opportunities; tours of the conservation labs and demonstrations of the new Historic Environment Register.
Wednesday 17th July 10am-4:30pm
Behind the Scenes at Wessex Archaeology, Salisbury
Book a free tour of our Salisbury office, a former RAF base near Old Sarum. A chance to meet the specialists and see some of our rare artefacts.
Saturday 20th July 10am-4pm
Barrow Clump Open Day
Free day out. Discover amazing archaeology and spectacular artefacts at Barrow Clump, a Bronze Age burial mound and Saxon cemetery being excavated by injured soldiers and Wessex Archaeology as part of Operation Nightingale. Experience a real archaeological dig site; witness the discovery of Saxon burials; meet archaeologists and learn about our work; view some fascinating artefacts from the excavation; handle replica Saxon artefacts from Wiltshire Museum; get hands on in our ‘mini digs’; make and decorate your own clay pot; meet Channel 4’s Time Team favourite Phil Harding.
27th July 10am-4pm
Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum Archaeology Day
Archaeology for all: discover whether you have the skills to be an archaeologist; meet our Anglo-Saxon ancestors with living history group Centingas; activities for all the family.
Sunday 28th July 11am-4pm
Rockbourne Archaeology Day
Free day out at Rockbourne Roman Villa. In 1942, Rockbourne Roman Villa was discovered by a ferret and a farmer, 70 years on and its your turn! Join us for a celebration of the area's archaeological heritage. Find out more about our HLF funded project, The RockDam Community Project, and explore the site with Musa, the villa's mistress. There will be lots to see and do for all ages at this unique and fascinating archaeological site.
To find out about other FBA events near you click here