Latest News


Badgers Field, Chipping Campden


A recent excavation in Badgers Field on the south side of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, has provided the first archaeological evidence from the town for Saxon settlement. The excavation, undertaken by our Bristol Office in advance of a proposed residential development off George Lane, also provided evidence for prehistoric activity in the form of flint debitage, some of it Mesolithic, and pottery dating to the Early Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The main features on the site were a series of ditches defining more than one phase of field system, including a trackway. Although poorly dated, at least one of the phases of field system is likely to have been Romano-British on the basis of the recovered pottery, tile and animal bone.
Although only one Saxon feature – a small pit – was identified, it contained 35 sherds of 6th/7th-century AD (Early Saxon) pottery, one body sherd being stamp-decorated with quartered circles. There was also fired clay, animal bone (part of a cattle skull and several sheep bones including a complete horn core), and charred grains of barley and wheat and fragments of hazelnut shell. Together the evidence suggests the presence on the edge of the town of a small rural Early Saxon settlement practicing a mixed agricultural economy.
To find out more about this site read the project page here.
By Andrew Powell, Technical Specialist

Bath Quays Lecture Success


On Wednesday 25 January 2017, Cai Mason from our Bristol office gave a public lecture on our recent excavation at Bath Quays, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. The talk was very well attended, with over 160 people crammed into the hall; many more were unable to get in due to the wide interest in the excavation.
The talk focused on Bath’s medieval defences, the development of its 18th-century quayside, and the city’s notorious Avon Street slum district, which by the late 19th century was known for its poverty, disease, crime and prostitution. Bath has a great collection of historic photographs and maps, and these have been of great use to us in interpreting parts of the site, as well as really helping to bring the archaeology to life for the audience.
There was a lively Q&A at the end of the talk, and people were particularly interested in hearing more about the quayside industries, and how living close to a flood-prone river would have affected the area's 18th- and 19th-century residents.
To find out more about this site read the project page here.

Finds from Larkhill


As a part of the preparations for the building of service family accommodation for the Army Basing Programme on Salisbury Plain, Wessex Archaeology has been carrying out archaeological investigations for over a year at Larkhill. During this work a large array of WWI practice trenches came to light. Under the guidance of our client (Martin Brown of WYG) we have recovered many finds from these trenches. There are many objects still to examine, but what we have looked at has already provided a fascinating insight into life on the base at that time.
The diet of the soldiers included tinned sardines and corned beef, jam, marmalade and golden syrup, condensed milk, Bovril and meat paste, with condiments such as HP Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce to make things more palatable.
Many examples of the standard-issue eating and drinking equipment have been found – plates, bowls and cups in enameled tin or plain white pottery, mess tins and drinking canteens, plus the occasional surprise item such as a nest of jelly moulds.
Life was not all about iron rations though, as we have found many whisky, beer and wine bottles, plus containers for soft drinks such as ginger beer, lemonade and mineral water. There are wine glasses, beer tankards and shot glasses and even a tray for carrying the above!
Besides the obvious activities of eating and drinking we have found plenty of evidence for smoking – pipes, cigarettes, tobacco and cigar tins. Some of these have survived in remarkably good condition enabling brand names to be distinguished. One of the clay pipes is of particular interest as it is Irish.
The most poignant finds have been the personal items and the little touches of luxury that found their way into the harsh reality of training for war.
It is well documented that there were Australian troops at the training camp and one recent discovery has been a tin of toffees from Melbourne, alongside the well-known British makes of Mackintosh and Pascall’s.

Introducing Kirsty Nichol


Wessex Archaeology West is delighted to welcome Kirsty Nichol to our Bristol Office as a Project Manager. Kirsty comes to us with over 20 years’ experience, with expertise in field archaeology and historic buildings. She has a broad commercial background that covers consultancy, fieldwork, heritage and post-excavation; her major projects have included urban-based sites and historic landscape management plans. Kirsty has a curious interest in all things concrete and is rarely happier than when she has spent the day in a bunker or two!
Kirsty also has a strong track record in Community Outreach and Education programmes, and has extensive experience of running community historical events and excavations, alongside managing developer-funded projects.

Introducing Jon Kaines


Wessex Archaeology is delighted to announce the appointment of Jon Kaines as a Project Manager within the WA South fieldwork team. After careers in a building society and a department store Jon graduated from Southampton with a BA(Hons) in Archaeology and began his career washing pottery at Wessex.
Jon turned to fieldwork shortly afterwards and, whilst balancing his childcare responsibilities, has worked for most archaeology companies in the South of England (including Wessex), gaining a wealth of experience in the planning and executing of archaeological projects.  He has worked mainly in Hampshire, Sussex and Wiltshire with occasional forays into Somerset, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire.

Elizabeth House Social Centre


Instead of sending traditional Christmas cards last year, we made donations to a number of charities. Project Manager Damian De Rosa was pleased to present Elizabeth House Social Centre with a cheque for £188 yesterday, which also included a share of the money raised by our Christmas raffle!





Excavation on a small scale


My name is Emma Robertson and I have been a member of the field staff since September last year. Through November I was sheltering from the ever colder days excavating urned cremation burials recovered by the Kent office. Excavation in miniature took a couple of days to adjust too but it has been an interesting and useful experience. From dealing with the finer details of formation processes, to adjusting to in-office working, I have gained valuable skills and knowledge, as well as the enjoyment of working with a side of funerary archaeology that most university lectures seem to shy away from. 
Going from the field to the office was not as big a change of pace as expected. Being surrounded by so many specialist minds created a great atmosphere, with conversations and discussions about many different processes, finds, and periods of history. Plus easy access to cups of tea makes a work day that much more manageable. It has been interesting to observe and deal with material and paperwork from a post-excavation position. This has reinforced just how important clarity and ticking the right boxes out on site can be. 
Working in the office has been a different experience, and I am excited  about having further opportunities to work and learn alongside Osteoarchaeologists Jackie and Kirsten. This training has opened up new opportunities to learn and pass on my newly learnt knowledge to others, such as the chance to help Project Supervisor Phoebe Olsen get to grips with urned cremation burials as we swap places. Now it is time to brave the cold and rescue my abandoned trowel from the depths of my tool bag. 

Protocol Finds on GIS

Archaeological finds reported through marine industry protocols are now available online here.
The Crown Estate has made data generated from the Marine Aggregates Industry and Offshore Renewables Protocol available online in WGS84 Lat/Long format, and is committed to periodically updating these datasets for the next three years. 
Only those records that the developers have agreed to release into the public domain are included in these datasets.
There are three ways to use the datasets:
1. You can simply view them through a browser here.There’s no need to have a Geographic Information System (GIS) programme to view the data this way. All of the finds from the industry protocols are geographically positioned on the map. For those who are interested in a particular find type, it is possible to filter the data by find type, for example, cannonballs, mammoth teeth, aircraft fragment or whatever else is of interest.
2. You can open them using ArcGIS software by selecting ‘Open in ArcGIS for Desktop’ located in the right-hand menu, which also includes the metadata for the layers. Once ArcGIS has opened the shapefiles can be exported.
3. Or, you can add the ArcGIS server to your mxd so the datasets will always be up to date. 
In ArcCatalog:  
click ‘GIS Servers’ in the Catalog Tree
Double-click ‘Add ArcGIS Server’
Click ‘Next’
Click ‘Finish’. 
The layers appear in the GIS Servers section of ArcCatalog and can be added to the mxd. Other useful layers will also be visible including offshore aggregate and windfarm areas, territorial waters and continental shelf, but be aware they’re in British National Grid (BNG). 
These datasets will be useful for developers and planners, researchers and archaeologists when investigating areas of seabed for archaeological studies or development. Or they could be of interest to the curious beachwalker or diver who wants to know what’s been discovered off their local coastline. 

Christmas Raffle 2016


The staff at the Salisbury head office entered into the Christmas spirit this year by buying raffle tickets for the corporate gifts. There were over 20 lovely prizes included: spirits, wines, biscuits and other festive goodies, all of which had been kindly given to us by our clients and suppliers. 
The draw was yesterday and there were many happy winners! But the big winners this year will be The Refugee Mission and Elizabeth House who will share the the money raised by the raffle – an amazing £188! 

Books for Christmas!


As Christmas draws closer, it’s time to reflect on a busy and productive year: we’ve published a number of reports on excavations ranging from multi-period landscapes at Imperial College Sports Ground and RMC Land, West London; an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Collingbourne Ducis, Wiltshire guidance on Port and Harbour developments for Historic England, a medieval manor at Longforth Farm, Somerset,  and the Stonehenge and Avebury Research Framework, Avebury Resource Assessment and Research Activity in the Stonehenge Landscape 2005−2012 (you can download the documents here). In addition, we have published a number of articles in journals on a wide variety of sites and subjects; for further details, please visit our publications list
Our publications are available from Oxbow Books including the latest ebooks.
A number of other publications are planned for 2017, so watch this space!
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