Events Blog


Opening the Doors to the Public

1174 WA environmental archaeology department

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!

Festival of Archaeology 2013


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.
For more information click here
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.
For more information click here
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. 
For more information click here
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.
For more information click here
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.
For more information click here
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.
For more information click here
To find out about other FBA events near you click here

Behind the Scenes at Wessex Archaeology

Have you ever wanted to learn more about archaeology?


On Wednesday 17th July, Wessex Archaeology is offering you an exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes at our head office in Salisbury as part of the Festival of British Archaeology 2013. Tour the building, a former RAF base, see the specialists at work and get hands on with artefacts.
Tours are free but spaces are limited so booking is essential. Tours will start at 10am, 12.30 and 3pm on Wednesday 17th July and will last for approx 1.5 hours.
Book a Place
Find out more and book your place now by contacting Laura Joyner, Community & Education Officer, on or 01722 326867.
Find out about other Festival of British Archaeology activities near you by clicking here.


Summer Work Experience Placements with Wessex Archaeology


Wessex Archaeology is thrilled to be able to offer two additional summer work experience placements this year.
These placements will run from 29th July – 2nd August and will be specifically based in the finds department in our head office in Salisbury. They will be offered to local GCSE and A-Level students.
The two students selected will work together to sort a range of archaeological artefacts and design a new teaching collection. These students will work alongside two of our senior post-excavation supervisors and will have the chance to handle and learn about artefacts from a wide variety of periods and sites.
To apply please contact Laura Joyner, Community & Education Officer, on or 01722 326867.

Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group

986 Mortlake Ware

Wessex Archaeology will host the Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group's Spring meeting at its Salisbury office on Saturday 11th May 2013 (10.30-4.00)The theme is pottery from Wessex and the South-West with an opportunity to hear about new research and recently excavated sites (Lyde Road, Somerset, Salisbury Plain and Amesbury), view and handle material of Neolithic to Iron Age date. 
Speakers will include George Kirke (University of Bristol), Grace Jones (University Bournemouth) and Matt Leivers, Rachael Seager Smith and Alistair Barclay from Wessex Archaeology.

Kingsmead Exhibition Proves Popular with the Public

On Saturday 27th April 2013 we held an open day for the public and local residents to learn more about the exciting discoveries made at the CEMEX UK run Kingsmead Quarry, Horton near Wraysbury. 

The exhibition contained a selection of the most fascinating finds with experts on hand to answer questions and explain the significance of the artefacts. This was an opportunity for local people to see some of the brilliant discoveries that have been made over the 10 years of excavation at Horton.
Of course Phil Harding’s demonstration of flint knapping and Jackie McKinley’s skeleton stand proved extremely popular. 

976 Wraysbury Primary School

Children had the chance to have a go at several different activities including making their own ‘prehistoric’ pots. These were inspired by the amazing Beaker burial that was discovered at the site. 

977 Jesus Gonzalez and Colin Rayner

We are delighted that over 500 people took the opportunity to visit the event on Saturday and we received extremely positive feedback. 
‘One of the most interesting things I have seen in my 50 years in Wraysbury’
‘Fascinating exhibition. Well worth the trip’ 
The exhibition was formally opened on the Friday morning by Jesus Gonzalez, President CEMEX UK, who gave a welcome address, followed by Cllr Colin Rayner, the Worshipful Mayor of Royal Windsor and Maidenhead and Fiona Macdonald, Principal Archaeologists, Berkshire Archaeology.
Classes from three local schools: The Hythe School, Staines, Datchet St Mary’s and Wraysbury Primary took the opportunity to learn about the discoveries, do the activity trail, make a pot and watch Phil knap flint. Later in the afternoon the exhibition was opened to the staff from CEMEX UK and in the evening over 50 people attended a public lecture by Gareth Chaffey and Alistair Barclay.

978 Lecture by Gareth Chaffey and Alistair Barclay

Further talks to community groups will be taking place over the coming months, and school visits and workshops are planned.
For more information about our work at Kingsmead Horton click here

Extracting the Past

963 Phil Harding flint knapping

Have you been reading about rare Neolithic houses and a Beaker burial containing a ‘prehistoric princess’ recently? These discoveries were made during our excavations at Kingsmead Quarry, Horton. 
Saturday 27th April 2013, we are holding a FREE open day to showcase some of the amazing finds from these excavations. The event will be held in Wraysbury Village Hall, Berkshire (TW19 5NA) 10.30 am to 3.30 pm
The exhibition is open to all and explores the discoveries from the site as we present the hidden past beneath Horton’s landscape and uncover the imprints left by farming and ritual activity.
Learn about the interesting and unique evidence
Meet the archaeologists
View the artefacts
Examine a skeleton
There will also be a number of activities for children including pot making and example excavations. 
Practical demonstrations will be given by two of Time Team’s regular presenters – Phil Harding will be flint knapping and Jackie McKinley will be examining the human skeleton. 
To explore the Kingsmead Quarry excavations further click here.
966 Wraysbury Village Hall - TW19 5NA

Exploring Buckler's Hard

In the summer  the New Forest National Park Authority and Wessex Archaeology teamed up for a week-long excavation at Buckler’s Hard. This happened during the Council of British Archaeology's Festival of British Archaeology.

The dig was part of a wider Heritage Lottery Funded project called "New Forest Remembers: untold stories of World War II".  Check out our Events blog for stories of the excavation and how it went.


We also gave Naomi Brennan, Wessex Archaeology staff heading up the excavations, a camera to record what volunteers and visitors thought about the excavation.  You can watch the final result below.


Young Archaeologists Club reporting

Today we had the South Wiltshire Young Archaeologist’s Club onsite, as one of our Project Florence events.  They were meant to come out before this to help with the excavations, but it was cancelled due to bad weather.

As a consolation, we invited them in their school holidays for a site visit, getting one last look at the site before it closes for this season.  This meant they could not get their hands dirty, we have a lot of recording to do before Saturday and new discoveries are no longer welcome.

605 Young Archaeologists asking lots of questions about the site

Instead, we got them filming, using our head camera, Ipad and working with the film-maker, Simon Davison. Simon was on site to film the lifting of one of the most significant burials we have found yet.  This skeleton belongs to a female, who had a considerable number of finds buried with her including a cosmetic brush, ring and beads.

The club members quizzed our CBA Community Archaeology Trainee, Angus Forshaw about what he was doing, as he lifted the skeleton. They also reported on events around the site and explained on camera about some of the discoveries.

606 Female Anglo-Saxon burial with grave goods

We will be showing of the results of their hard work soon.  Today, read about what Rebecca thought of the site, and view Harry talking about one of the discoveries made in the burial.

I’m Becca and I am 14.  I came to the site with YAC. We’ve been learning about the history of the site, which I think is really interesting.  I like the skeleton, which we filmed them lifting.  It is particularly great because of the finds we saw with the burial.  It is sites like this that make me want to get into archaeology as a career.


To return to the main Project Florence blog,, click here.


Explore Archaeology Family Fun Day

On Saturday 21st July, Project Florence gave local residents the chance to explore archaeology at an open day on the Barrow Clump site.

Visitors were given tours of the trenches by the Op Nightingale soldiers and volunteers, and got to witness the excavation of an interesting Saxon burial containing a range of grave goods. Young guests crafted their own Saxon pottery, chatted to a Saxon warrior and dove enthusiastically into the sandpit digs!

There was also a display by Devizes Museum of replica Saxon artefacts to compare to our finds from the excavation, and flint knapping demonstrations by Phil Harding.

The day was a huge success with over 200 visitors to the site, who gave some excellent feedback: 

Brilliant. The amount of times we have walked here and never known what’s below us until now!

Excellent! Such an interesting day, well organised and informative. Well done!

It was good to hear from the soldiers how effective and beneficial this project has been.

601 Young visitors creating their own pottery to Saxon designs with Angus Forshaw, Wessex Archaeology

To find out how you can get involved in Project Florence visit

To return to the main Project Florence blog,, click here.

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