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Archaeocast 4: Ancient Technology with Phil Harding

Phil Harding, one of our archaeologists, and famous for his role on Channel 4’s Time Team, explains the ancient technology of stone tools - how they were made, and how people in prehistory weren’t as primitive as is often believed.

14:00 minutes (12.82 MB)

New volume in the Mary Rose series is out now!

The Mary Rose sank outside Portsmouth on 19th July 1545, as she sailed out of Portsmouth harbour to meet the French fleet. Trapped by netting, or below deck, the crew stood little chance, and their bodies and belongings went to the bottom of the Solent. Excavation of the hull and its contents produced a huge and varied collection of objects, that together make up a detailed and unique picture of what life was like on board a sixteenth century warship.

‘Before the Mast: Life and Death Aboard the Mary Rose’, edited by Dr Julie Gardiner is the biggest and most ambitious of the series of volumes on the archaeology of the Mary Rose, produced by Wessex Archaeology for The Mary Rose Trust. With over 700 pages, and more than 570 illustrations (71 in colour), it is a truly magnificent achievement.

This volume covers all the objects from the ship apart from the weapons (Weapons of Warre: The Armaments of the Mary Rose by Alexzandra Hildred will be published next year). Clothing, tools, personal objects and navigation equipment are all examined in meticulous detail, together with environmental evidence of foodstuffs and other organic materials, insects, pollen and the content of ointment canisters.

The volume contains articles by a most impressive team of experts in their field and will be absolutely invaluable to scholars, students and re-enactors, as well as offering a fascinating insight into Tudor life for the more general reader.

To buy a copy visit the Mary Rose Shop or Oxbow Books

New pages on the Wessex Archaeology website

Earlier this month, the nineteenth century timber granary at Vale Farm, Sutton Waldron was successfully lifted and moved. You can find out more about the background to the project on our new web pages.

WA Coastal & Marine staff on TV

Wessex Archaeology staff feature in the two part series on ‘Heritage’ which will be broadcast on ITV Meridian on Sunday 13th and 20th November at 17:45.

The series covers the work of English Heritage and our involvement is through The Protection of Wrecks Acts project. The wreck is of the Holland no. V submarine.

An uplifting moment!

A second attempt to lift the historic granary in the village of Sutton Waldron was a resounding success. Check back next week to see our video footage and in-depth web pages.

Archaeocast 3: Excavations in Winchester, UK

Archaeocast 3 comes from our excavation at 19-20 Jewry Street in Winchester, UK.
An excavation is being carried out ahead of development on the site by Mr M Bakhaty. The site is in the north-west corner of the historic core of Winchester. This area of the town is known to contain archaeological evidence of Winchester’s medieval, Saxon, Roman and Iron Age past.
The podcast was recorded at the excavation, and we hear from the archaeologists themselves as they excavate, carefully uncovering the layers of the past occupation of the site. Paul McCulloch, the project manager, begins the podcast by explaining about the archaeological significance of this important city, and the developer, Mr Bakhaty, explains about the building project, and how he has some novel plans for the archaeological remains.

15:29 minutes (14.18 MB)

Archaeocast #3: Winchester Excavation Podcast

The latest episode of “Archaeocast”, our archaeology podcast, is now available to download from our Events blog.

Second attempt to move historic granary

Vale Farm, Sutton Waldron, near Shaftesbury, Dorset

Weather permitting, a second attempt is to be made tomorrow (2nd November) to move a 150 year old building by crane and carry it to a new location. The first attempt was made on 20th October, but was postponed due to a technical problem.

The building is a type of granary which was once common across Wessex, but which is now rare. The granary is to be moved to a new site and converted into a holiday cottage. This is a challenging piece of engineering and a mobile crane is needed to move the delicate granary, weighing over 2.5 tonnes, from its current location to its new home.

Instead of having normal foundations, the granary, which was built in 1856, sits on top of large carved stones that resemble mushrooms, known as staddles. These support the building above ground level and were shaped to prevent rats getting into the granary where they could eat the stored grain. Once a common sight around farms, often the staddles alone remain as garden ornaments.

Owners, John and Sarah Drake said ‘we are commercial dairy farmers and also have holiday cottages, but these are so popular that we need more space. This is an excellent way to preserve our heritage by finding new uses for a building that is otherwise redundant and starting to fall down. All it takes to move it is a big crane!’

Bob Hill, a Senior Project Manager with the Conservation Management Team at Wessex Archaeology Ltd, who has managed the whole process, added ‘moving the building in one piece may sound odd, but it really makes life a lot easier and helps to ensure it is brought back into use as soon as possible.’

Roman finds in Winchester

Update! We now have a project homepage for this site with more detailed information.

The latest discovery at Jewry Street has been a row of up to 8 Roman cess pits, running in a line north to south through the middle of the site. They lie half way between two Roman streets and either served a public building or, more likely, lay to the rear of the houses which fronted the two streets. The pits are cut 5-6 metres deep into the underlying chalk and only one other like them has been found in Winchester.

The pits are an exciting source of evidence: as well as degraded human waste, they contain fragments of pottery, building materials and many animal bones.

Small items have been found: bronze finger rings, a fine bone pin, tweezers and coins accidentally dropped into the pits nearly 2,000 years ago.

The most valuable information may well come from the smallest finds of all - the remains of mineralised seeds, fruit stones and insects, which will give us more evidence of the diet and way of life in Roman Winchester.

Lifting of Historic Building postponed

The proposed lifting of a Victorian granary in the Dorset village of Sutton Waldron has had to be temporarily postponed due to technical difficulties. A new lifting date has yet to be confirmed, but once the new date is set it will be posted here on Wessex Archaeology’s website.

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