As 2019 draws to a close, we can be proud of the successes we’ve had across our 40th anniversary year.

We came together as an organisation to celebrate in the summer, with parties across our regional offices and ‘archaeocakes’ that made the British Archaeology winner’s list. We reflected on our top 40 ‘star sites’ across the year that have helped define us and develop our leading reputation. We welcomed visitors to our offices, offering walks, tours and inspiration for arts and crafts, and we held a public excavation which attracted visitors from across the globe.

Our special 40th publication marked the culmination of our decade-long excavations at Barrow Clump, a project in conjunction with Operation Nightingale which used archaeology as a recovery aid for injured ex-service men and women. Last month, we sponsored the archaeology community’s annual CBA Conference in London – themselves celebrating a milestone at 75 years – and discussed our approach to delivering on public benefit and social prescribing into the future.

It has been a special year in many other ways too. We marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day with some remarkable work, including the poignant investigation of wrecks which fell victim to a tragic practise exercise, codenamed Exercise Tiger, off Slapton Sands on behalf of Historic England. Our recovery of the rare WWII Fairey Barracuda bomber with Historic England and the Fleet Air Arm Museum was also a symbolic discovery during this year of remembrance.

More widely, our project work has seen innovative combinations of traditional and technological approaches work seamlessly together to provide our customers with more efficient, targeted solutions. We are steadfast in our aim to provide a professional and high-quality service and have developed our technological capability in line with this – including UAVs (drones) for survey, sophisticated photogrammetry recording techniques, and 3D and VR experiences for end users.

Our community engagement activity has been the icing on the cake, with new, meaningful metrics in place to record our impact and demonstrate communal legacy. We’ve had a big presence at major STEM events around the country, offering our ever-popular ‘chocolate geoarchaeology’ activities and digitising the ancient world into interactive virtual learning experiences.

As ever, the sustainable management of the environment remains a core focus for us, and we have been leading members within industry networks to ensure that we play our part in developing solutions to the climate crisis.

Our Christmas card this year is once again digital to save unnecessary waste. It was designed by our in-house 3D modeler, Cameron Bichener, and is a glimpse into the development and feel of our newest VR experience in an Anglo-Saxon house.

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, supporters, volunteers and people who contributed to such a monumental year.

Chris Brayne, Wessex Archaeology CEO

Our offices are now closed until Thursday 2 January 2020. We wish everyone a wonderful festive period and a happy new year.