In 1983 the Wessex Archaeological Committee became the Trust for Wessex Archaeology Ltd (WA), a registered charity and limited company. That year also saw a change of Director, with Andrew Lawson succeeding Ann Ellison.
Approaches to archaeology were gradually changing too. The pace of development was starting to pick up and, as a consequence, so was the threat to archaeological sites. The archaeological response needed to be quick and appropriate, but this was not always easy to achieve. Government funding was limited and developers were not always in a position or willing to fund archaeological excavations.
It became apparent, for instance, that development of the Abbey Wharf site in Reading was going to be on a much bigger scale than was foreseen when the 1981 excavation was planned. The potential and preservation of archaeological deposits on the site were known to be excellent. Development on a larger scale would mean the loss of more archaeology. Something needed to be done. A decision was made to fund the excavation by means of a public appeal, which was undertaken jointly with the Berkshire Archaeological Trust. Although nerve-wracking, the appeal allowed the excavation to go ahead. The site was opened for public viewing, with over 4000 people visiting between 14th December and 11th February 1984. Not only was the appeal a good publicity and public relations exercise, it also began to focus local planning authorities on a more positive attitude towards archaeology.