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Archaeocast 5: National Archaeology Week

This week is National Archaeology Week.

Archaeocast 5 is now available for download.

You can get a flavour of the music and activities at the Archaeology Day organised by Wessex Archaeology and Salisbury Museum.

To mark National Archaeology Week, the 24 Hour Museum named Wessex Archaeology’s site, website of the week.

National Archaeology Week runs from 15th-29th July. More detail of other events on the Council for British Archaeology’s website.

Mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site

On Thursday 13 July 2006, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced that the mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, following a decision by the World Heritage Committee.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the mines of Cornwall and West Devon produced much of the world’s tin and copper. Substantial contributions were made to the British Industrial Revolution; technological innovation was central to mining. One of the most notable contributions was the development of powerful steam engines to pump out water and allow mining deep underground. Many of these innovations changed mining technology across the world, influencing global cultures and economies.

The engine houses can still be seen today, standing monuments to the mining of tin and copper, and the people whose livelihoods depended upon it.

Tessa Jowell said:

I am delighted that the World Heritage Committee has recognised the outstanding universal value of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and its important contribution to national and international industrialisation. This historic area and its people have significantly influenced the development of mining and engineering culture, not just in the UK, but across the rest of the world.

To many, World Heritage status calls to mind such famous monuments as Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. But it is important to realise that sites like the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape are as deserving of recognition and protection as their more well-known companions on the World Heritage List.

Ten areas have been identified as best representing the many different facets of Cornish mining: St Just; Hayle; Tregonning; Wendron; Camborne-Redruth; Gwennap; St Agnes; Luxulan-Charlestown; Caradon; and Tamar-Tavistock.

For further information, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.

New downloadable activities for children

Teachers and pupils can now download nine new activities from the Wessex Archaeology website. There are few resources available for primary age pupils who are studying prehistory as part of their local history study unit, so these new PDFs should be a help for teachers at Key Stage 2. The work involved in producing some of the activity sheets has been part-funded by English Heritage.

Visit the resources page in our learning section to find out more.

National Archaeology Day 2006 at Salisbury Museum

Come and join Wessex Archaeology on Saturday 15th July when we celebrate National Archaeology Day!

We will be joining forces with Salisbury Museum, the Wiltshire Conservation Centre and Salisbury Cathedral.

There will be hands-on activities with a medieval theme for all the family, so you can make your own heraldic shield, create your own medieval tile, take part in a mini-dig and find out more about the sights, smells and bugs of medieval England!

Enjoy meeting some pleasant peasants as they prepare food in their kitchen, and while you are there, listen to the music of a medieval musician.

This is also a great opportunity to visit the Wiltshire Conservation Centre before it moves from Salisbury.

National Archaeology Day is at Salisbury Museum, The Kings House, 65. Cathedral Close, Salisbury. For travel directions visit their website:

Prehistoric farm found in Somerset

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,500 year old prehistoric farm near Huntworth, south of Bridgwater, in Somerset. The remains of two Iron Age houses have been found, along with compounds and fields on an island of higher land.

The excavations were done in advance of the building of a new dairy and a cattle market by Mead Realisations. Katherine Wetherall said ‘as a farming family it is fascinating to think that over 2000 years, farmers could have been taking their cows down to lush low-lying pastures. Some things don’t change!’

Read more about the site.

Exploring Shipwrecks

We have just updated our ALSF Wrecks on the Seabed website to cover round two of the project. You can find out about how we survey wrecks, our diving operations, and see underwater photos and videos from the wrecks themselves.

The Wrecks on the Seabed project tests ways of assessing and evaluating wreck sites. The work will help us understand the effects of marine aggregate dredging on shipwrecks. The project is funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainabilty Fund (ALSF).

You can find out about the 14 wrecks that we have dived on. These are mainly of 19th and 20th century date and lie off the south coast of England. You can also find out about the methods we used to survey the wrecks.

You will need the free QuickTime player to view the movies, and a broadband connection is recommended. There is some fantastic footage filmed by our divers and by an “ROV” - a small remote controlled submarine. They can be found on the wrecks pages, which are linked from the map.

A Late Saxon Pottery Kiln at Michelmersh, Hampshire

The quiet village of Michelmersh, near Romsey in Hampshire, has an intriguing hidden history. Archaeologists have found kilns that once produced pottery which was used as far afield as Wiltshire and West Sussex. Visit our web pages to find out more.

Training Dig 2006: Places still available

Practical Archaeology Training Course at Down Farm, Sixpenny Handley

September 4th-8th and 11th-15th

Do you want to take part in a real archaeological excavation? We still have a few places left on our 2006 Practical Archaeology Course, for both weeks. You’ll learn all about the skills of excavation, surveying, recording the site, how to look after artefacts, as well as workshops and lectures covering other archaeological specialisms.

To find out more or book your place, visit the course website.

Photos, Archaeology and Flickr

At Wessex Archaeology, we’ve been working hard to build up a photo gallery which shows some of our most interesting projects and finds. We are pleased to announce that we now have over 200 photos online, with many more on the way. You can see them on the gallery section of our website.

The gallery has always been one of the most visited parts of our website. Thousands of people look at it each week, and we know from their comments that people love to see what life is like on an excavation, and to look at pictures of what has been dug up. In the light of its popularity, we have taken a different approach to a ‘traditional’ gallery.


We attach keywords or ‘tags’ to each of our photos. This helps us organise photos and helps you find more photos similar to the ones you have found interesting. In the example below, clicking on “excavation” will take you to a list of other photos of people doing just that, excavating!

Or you can see a “tag cloud” and explore our photos by associated words, just for fun!


Our photos are hosted by Flickr, an online photographic sharing community, owned by Yahoo! Inc, whose aim is to “help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them”. The emphasis is also on the word community. People who use Flickr are able to comment on each other’s photos, ask questions and join special interest groups.

So, you can now get to our photos in two ways. You can browse them at leisure on our gallery, or you can view them on our Flickr homepage. If you’ve got a Flickr account (they’re free, although you’ll need to sign up for a free Yahoo! ID) you can comment on our photos and add us as a contact (and we’ll add you as one back!) to keep a track of when we upload new ones.

Keeping track: our Photos and RSS

RSS Feed Icon If you’ve never heard of RSS before, or have heard of it but want to know more, the BBC have a fantastic guide to what it is and how it can help you to keep up with the things you are interested in on the internet. Basically, it’s a way of ’subscribing’ (for free) to specific information on the internet to help ease the ever-growing tide of information.

Flickr offers RSS feeds for just about everything. You can subscribe to our photos in your favourite RSS reader with the link and you can even subscribe via RSS to photos about specific things, using the tags we attach to each image.


If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below.

Well, hello world!

We are the IT Section of Wessex Archaeology. We are a mixed team of technologists, archaeologists, managers and practitioners who work together to support the rather varied computing needs of a large archaeology practice and its even more varied clients. As well as the usual geeky obsessions, our interests include database and web development, mobile computing, multimedia, GIS and survey technology as well as theoretical issues.
The postings here are designed to allow us to share our thoughts about the work we do. We will, of course, boast horribly about our successes but we will also complain about our frustrations and let you in on some of our (more realistic) plans for the future. Perhaps we will even persuade you to help us out.
This blog has now been combined with our main News blog
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