A few members of staff from Wessex Archaeology, Salisbury had a busy day at the RAF Centenary Celebration held at the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection on Old Sarum airfield on Saturday 26 May 2018. A variety of stall holders including ourselves were housed in one of their incredible World War I hangars alongside their vast collection of aircraft including interactive cockpits that you can climb in to (not just for kids)!

Throughout the day, we were visited by a number of adults and children who enjoyed handling the range of archaeological finds we had brought along. In keeping with the theme of the day, our objects comprised a selection of aircraft artefacts including fragments that had been reported through the Marine Aggregate Industry Archaeological Protocol. Our most talked about find of the day was the Merlin 45 Supermarine Spitfire propeller recently reported through the Marine Antiquities Scheme (MAS). There was also a lot of interest in the Junkers Ju 88 engine that Wessex Archaeology donated to the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection in 2017. The volunteers there have worked tirelessly to conserve and restore the engine, and it was a pleasure to be able to show it to visitors and discuss its history.

our stand at the RAF centenary event Merlin 45 Supermarine Spitfire propeller

We also gave out material including the latest issue of the Marine Aggregate Industry Protocol’s newsletter, Dredged Up, along with MAS leaflets, and Wessex Archaeology goodies. Thank you to all the children who brightened up the stall by colouring in pictures of divers and aircraft. And lastly thank you to those who came to say hello and to the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection for organising such a fantastic day.

By Lowri Roberts, Maritime Archaeologist