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Down the Microscope

Environmental Archaeology

Come and see how environmental archaeology works at our Open Day on 4 July 2015.
 
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We will have examples of cores for you to see and come and have a take a look down our microscopes at some real samples!
 
For more information follow this link
 
Marie Kelleher - Heritage Consultant, London & SE

 

Over Here – American Soldiers in the Salisbury Plain Area, Wiltshire

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Situated as we are geographically, right on the edge of Salisbury Plain, alongside the wonderful prehistoric archaeology we find many examples of the activities of the modern military custodians of the land.

Amongst the finds we have uncovered in recent years there have been obvious remains of WWII mess kitchens, such as spoons and plates, bottles of sauce and camp coffee, tins of cooking oil and even what appeared to be a block of lard!
 

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This week, as our American friends celebrate their Independence Day, we can show evidence of US military presence on Salisbury Plain and the surrounding area. The state of preservation of some of the US issued provisions goes to show how well made they were.
 
We found a rare hoard of tins of US Army sun cream – still with the contents intact. 
 
Sadly there were no contents left in these tins of sliced bacon!
 
By Sue NelsonFinds Supervisor
 
 

Congratulations to Thomson Ecology

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Congratulations to our ecology partner Thomson Ecology for winning the ‘Company Innovation of the Year’ award for their online GIS-based TIM system at Tuesday’s Construction News Awards 2015. Our Chief Executive Chris Brayne was delighted to be with Thomson Ecology on the evening at Grosvenor House Hotel to celebrate their success, well done to everyone.
 
By Andy Crockett - Regional Manager, South
 
 

Publication of Wessex Archaeology Projects in Yorkshire

Various projects in Yorkshire, carried out by our Sheffield office in 2014, are reported in the new volume of the Council for British Archaeology’s FORUM Yorkshire. The new edition of the journal (volume 3) contains summaries of all of our recent projects in the area and a longer article about our extensive investigations within a cropmark landscape near Rossington in South Yorkshire. 
 

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The work at Rossington was carried out between 2011 and 2014. A combination of geophysical survey, excavation and environmental analysis showed that woodland was cleared during the 1st century AD in preparation for building fields enclosures which were occupied from the 2nd to 4th centuries. Apart from the ditched boundaries we also found a cremation burial, five waterholes and a working hollow. Artefacts were generally scarce but waterlogged conditions allowed for the survival of fragments of a leather shoe, unworked wood and environmental remains..
 
We are also pleased to support CBA Yorkshire’s open access policy which means that FORUM Yorkshire volume 2 is now available to read and download on the FORUM Yorkshire webpage. Volume 2 contains summaries of our Yorkshire projects from 2013 and an article about our investigations at All Saints Cathedral, Wakefield, West Yorkshire by Diana Mahoney Swales and Andrew Norton.
 
Volume 3 will become open access upon publication of the next edition, volume 4, in 2016.
 
By Andrea Burgess, Post-excavation Manager
 
 

Hot Trailwalker News

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Not put off by what is looking to be the hottest day of the year, Dave Norcott set off this morning from our Salisbury office to walk to Winchester. The walk, a mere 28 miles (45 km), is part of his training for the much longer Trailwalker 2015 on 25 July (100 km!).
 
The Wessex Team is raising money for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust, so please give generously.
 

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By Karen Nichols - Graphics Manager

Magna Carta in the Castle

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Last Saturday saw the first of several Conservation Days at Pontefract Castle which Wessex Archaeology is helping to deliver as part of its Key to the North project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This event also celebrated the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. In 1215 John de Lacy, the lord of Pontefract Castle, was one of the barons who forced King John to sign the charter, and in recognition of this he attended The Magna Carta in the Castle event in person, and gave the crowds a lively talk about the Bad King John. 
 
As well as John de Lacy, Wessex Archaeology's Alexandra Grassam and Alix Sperr were also in attendance, directing our 'sandpit excavation' which provided children (and some adults) the opportunity to dig for real archaeological finds. Other activities included a pottery jigsaw challenge and a chance to make and decorate your own pot. In addition, everyone was given a flyer, designed by Wessex Archaeology's graphics team, which provided facts about the history of the castle, and other fun activities to do.
 

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Further Conservations Days will be held on 4th July, 1st August and 12th September 2015.
 
For a full list of activities at Pontefract Castle please follow this link.
 
by Alexandra Grassam - Senior Heritage Consultant
 
 

Roman in the Office?

2426 Alfie the Roman!

In advance of a Community Engagement event at Summerfields School, Oxford, provided by Senior Fieldwork Manager Andy Manning, Alfie, youngest son of Regional Manager Andy Crockett, road-tests the Roman armour that will be on show for the school children to try on – hot work on such a beautiful day, but well worth the effort. Alfie’s thoughts afterwards – “it’s hot, but it’s protective!”.
 
by Andy Crockett - Regional Manager, South
 
 

Mystery Object!

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Can you guess what this find might be?
 
Come and find out at our Open Day next weekend at our London & South East Office in Rochester on 4 July 2015.
 
by Marie Kelleher
 
 

Trailwalker 2015 - Team Update

Major changes again to the Trailwalker team with only four weeks to go! Vi Pieterson has stepped in to join the walking team. Vi is one of our Heritage Consultants based in Salisbury and like most of the rest of us is ideally placed to undertake this daunting challenge – having spent most of her life behind a desk! And joining our support team is Rob De’Athe a Project Manager from our London & South East Office. 
 
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Hopefully this will be the final line-up as its getting really close now! With only four weeks to go it would be fair to say it’s time to get serious! I still haven’t achieved a walk of even half the distance (although ‘even half the distance’ is still 31 miles!). This week, as a radical change, I have decided to try walking poles, which amongst other things (according to someone on you tube) are useful for fending off bears. I am sure you will agree they are essential kit for an event on the South Downs.
 
Andy Crockett and Chris Brayne have taken training for the support team to heart and are getting exceptionally good at driving to a shop and buying cakes.
 
We are getting closer to our target of £1500 but all money collected goes to an excellent cause so please do consider donating.
 
By Mark Williams - Regional Team Leader, London & South East
 

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

 

Free Beer and Wine

...will unfortunately not be available at our Open Day in Rochester, but there will be a lots of things to see and do!
 

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Entry is FREE on 4 July 2015, there will be:
  • Displays about sites we have worked on in Kent;
  • Try your hand at finds processing and marking;
  • See what environmental evidence looks like under a microscope;
  • Some of the artefacts we have excavated (including this arrowhead);
  • Sand-box excavation, colouring, dressing up, and a heritage trail for children;
  • Find out what goes on in the ‘back room’ where some of the less well-known processes take place, such as Desk Based Assessment;
  • and more...
Come along and chat to one of our archaeologists who can explain what life is like working for a modern archaeological company, and you will find it is exactly like an Indiana Jones movie!
 
 
By Mark Williams - Regional Team Leader, London & South East
 
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