We told you last week that our Salisbury office was raising money for the Trussell Trust by holding a festive gift raffle and Christmas tree auction, and we won’t keep you in suspense any longer! Both events took place yesterday and the grand total raised was…
We’re delighted with this result and would like to thank our staff for being so generous, and our clients, partners and friends for donating such tempting raffle prizes!
Our wonderfully enthusiastic volunteer team got into the festive spirit this week at our annual Volunteer Christmas Mingle!
The Mingle is one of the ways in which we are able to say a big thank you to our volunteers for all their hard work. This year the team has cleared the backlog in our archives, supported our librarian and processed the artefacts from several community projects, including Digging War Horse, the Jon Egging Trust’s work at Chisenbury Midden and Op Nightingale’s excavation at Barrow Clump.
The event was an excellent opportunity for staff and volunteers to have a chat and a laugh, and the festive buffet was enjoyed by all. We look forward to another successful year of the volunteer programme in 2015.
To find out more about volunteering with us contact our Community & Education Officer.
By Laura Joyner
A winter’s scene, produced by our Graphics Team, showing one of the Neolithic houses from our Kingsmead, Horton excavations. This site has been nominated for Current Archaeology Rescue Dig of the Year 2015.
This Christmas, Wessex Archaeology has wished clients and colleagues seasonal greetings with our own festive e-card. Sending e-cards instead of traditional Christmas cards has enabled us to make donations to several charities. The charities supported by our different departments and regional offices this year are the RNLI, Mind, Salisbury Hospice, Bristol & Wales Cat Rescue, Shelter Cymru, Scottish Fishermen's Trust, and Kent Search & Rescue.
Thank you to everyone we have worked with this year – we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
With the blustery winter season bringing sites to a close and archaeologists indoors, Wessex Archaeology is investing their time in the office to train their field staff, adding yet more strings to our bows.
My day has been filled with courses including photography, CAD and even metal detection! Being given the chance to better myself and establish a clear understanding of the professional standard expected of us is not only crucial, but also inspiring. The metal detection course, run by Mike Dinwiddy, has given me practical skills that are rarely used with other professional archaeological companies, and has moved me to question well-established conceptions of metal detection. We learnt that in the correct professional hands, it could be a useful addition to our archaeological tool kit.
The CAD training for me was also particularly useful. Ruth Panes and Benjamin Cullen kindly took the time to teach the basics of how to correct and map out data collected in the field. Establishing skills like this not only creates a better appreciation of the process and painstaking significance of surveying mistakes, but it has also armed me with skills for my future progression within Wessex Archaeology.
By Bianca San Martin
Wessex Archaeology pioneered the controlled use of metal detectors within archaeological practice in 1999. Since then metal detectors have become more user friendly.
Our recent purchase of four new Tesoro detectors has allowed new members of staff to learn, and our existing fieldwork teams to re-train and brush up their metal detecting skills. Staff have been developing the ability to discriminate between ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and sharpening up their pinpointing skills.
In August 2011 45 pieces of aircraft wreckage were dredged from the seabed during work to deepen the shipping channel in the Thames Estuary. Subsequent investigations by Wessex Archaeology, for developer DP World London Gateway, including geophysical survey, diving, record searches and finally the lifting of the wreckage to the surface, have revealed the fascinating history of these scattered remains.
The aircraft was an experimental prototype, a Junkers Ju 88 T, which was flown by veteran test pilots from a secretive Luftwaffe unit. On April 20 1943, while on a reconnaissance mission to Chelmsford in Essex, it was shot down by a decorated Norwegian fighter ace, and for the last 70 years it lay in the darkness of the estuary.
This story has been told for the first time in Archaeology from the Sky: The Air War over the Thames Estuary, a DP World London Gateway and Wessex Archaeology publication which is now available online.
To find out more about this project follow this link.
This year the staff at the Salisbury head office are entering into the Christmas spirit by bidding on the lovely Christmas tree that stands in the reception hall. The bidding (for staff only) currently stands at £12.00 – seems like a bargain to me!
We are also selling raffle tickets – at a rate of knots! – for all the corporate gifts, including spirits, wines, biscuits and other festive goodies, that have been kindly given to us.
All the proceeds will go to The Trussell Trust, a local charity working to combat poverty and social exclusion. We would love to beat last year’s total of £145, and we are hoping that everyone will dig deep.
Over the last week we have been putting some of our company drivers through an eco-driving package. This is a style of driving that not only improves road safety, but also causes less damage to the planet and the air we breathe by reducing vehicle emissions. Transport currently accounts for 20% of all air pollution emissions worldwide.
Eco-driving is not about going slower, but about making more efficient use of the gears, and avoiding the unnecessary acceleration and braking which waste fuel. It involves improving one’s skills in defensive driving and hazard perception, requiring better awareness, anticipation and planning.
Staff who have completed the eco-driving package (part of our continuing investment in staff training) have noticed a real difference resulting from their improved vehicle control and better route planning. Most of them increased their fuel efficiency from under 50mpg before the training, to over 60mpg after it, which makes a very positive impact on our Co2 footprint.
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.
Geoarchaeological training workshop
GeoServices are very pleased to welcome a new member to the Geoarchaeology and Environmental team: Holly Rodgers. Holly’s background includes field archaeology, geomorphological mapping and other GIS work, which together with a Master’s degree in Geological and Environmental Hazards has given her a very useful skillset to apply to geoarchaeological projects.
Here is Holly with Richard Payne (right), one of our experienced geoarchaeologists, during a two-day GIS and deposit modelling workshop which we’re running this week. They are exchanging ideas with the Geomatics team in the form of GIS supremo Richard Milwain (left), and developing innovative ways of interrogating and presenting geoarchaeological datasets using state-of-the-art software packages.
All our training at Wessex is now logged via our HR systems, with records being freely available to each member of staff on request. This is particularly useful if staff need to produce CPD logs, or to take evidence of training with them to employment elsewhere.