Twenty Five years of Wessex Archaeology
2004 marked the 25th Anniversary of Wessex Archaeology, and also saw the appointment of a new Chairman, Dr. Geoff Wainwright. Dr Wainwright is an influential figure within British archaeology, and helped bring about immense changes to the profession during his time as Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage.
To celebrate, a major exhibition, Changing Places, was hosted at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum in the historic heart of the city, and close to the original offices of the formative Wessex Archaeological Committee. The title of the exhibition was a nod to the many and varied changes that WA had experienced throughout its first 25 years.
To cope with the changes, the company has itself had to change, expand and open up whole new areas of expertise. Throughout, the aim has always been to contribute to a greater understanding of the past, the environment, and the development of society as a whole.
With these targets always in view, the busy fieldwork programmes continued, both from its base at Old Sarum and at its office in London. Ongoing work continued at Horton and Boscombe Down, whilst other large-scale projects included evaluations at Lydiard Park, Swindon and Temple Mills, Bristol, whilst the Coastal and Marine team undertook excavation of a wreck in the Princes Channel, which uncovered cannons belonging to Sir Thomas Gresham, a prominent Tudor merchant and financial advisor to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth I. The wreck was discovered in 2003 by the Port of London Authority in a busy channel on the approach to the River Thames, and offered a unique insight into a technique called 'furring' whereby the ship is rebuilt to increase the breadth of the vessel.