STONEHENGE CONSULTATION EXTENDED (APR): If you have not yet had a chance to review the Highways England A303 Stonehenge consultation then we have good news, the deadline for response has been extended to 23 April. This is to allow briefing events to be rescheduled following the extreme weather of the past month. However, it works in our favour, in that more people can now respond.  Our key concern at this stage is to ensure that those responses are as informed as possible. To help to inform people, we have commissioned a special feature on the recent archaeological work in the area surrounding the world heritage site. The feature will also be included in your next issue of British Archaeology - which should be with you next week - so you'll have a print version to refer to.


Saxon barn may be oldest in town.  (APR) An empty barn off Marlborough town centre is now thought to be the town’s oldest surviving building, after research revealed parts of it are 1,000 years old.

Despite its tired look and empty rooms, the owners of the barn behind No.7 Bar, formerly Godots restaurant, in Kingsbury Street have big dreams for the space and want to return it to its former glory.  Owner Simon Wetton wants to create a luxury restaurant covering 5,000 sq. ft for the town and said: “We called in an archaeologist who dated parts of the barn as being 1,000 years old. It is incredibly rare to find a building that wasn’t destroyed by the great Marlborough fires. Read the whole article here.


Building Stonehenge 'may have been ceremonial celebration'. (APR) The arduous task of building Stonehenge may have been part of a ceremonial celebration, claim historians. The circle in Wiltshire was built more than 4,000 years ago using bluestones from south Wales - a decision which has long baffled experts.  Susan Greaney, from English Heritage, said they now believed that Neolithic people did not want to make "things as easy and quick as possible".  Building the monument was as important as "its final intended use," she added.  Read the full article here.


X-ray probe to save Mary Rose cannonballs. (APR) The Mary Rose sank in 1545 and was raised from the sea in 1982. The cannonballs on board are difficult to conserve because chlorine has got into them from being in the sea. The chemical has got in all the way to its core. This means that they start to corrode if they are exposed to the air. Dr Schofield's team has tried to remove the chlorine by soaking some cannonballs in solution. But the researchers found that although they had extracted some they hadn't removed it all. They discovered this when the cannonballs began to disintegrate when they were put on display.  Read the full article here.




Purdue University (MAY)

Ancient horse find in Nile River Valley.  An ancient horse burial at Tombos along the Nile River Valley shows that a member of the horse family thousands of years ago was more important to the culture than previously thought, which provides a window into human-animal relationships more than 3,000 years ago.  The horse is dated to the Third Intermediate Period, 1050-728 BCE and it was found more than 5 feet underground in a tomb. The horse, with some chestnut-coloured fur remaining, had been buried in a funeral position with a burial shroud.

It was clear that the horse was an intentional burial.  Remnants of fabric on the hooves indicate the presence of a burial shroud. Changes on the bones and iron pieces of a bridle suggest that the horse may have pulled a chariot.  Read the full article here.


University of Nebraska (MAY)

Unprecedented wave of large-mammal extinctions linked to ancient humans.  Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and other recent human relatives may have begun hunting large mammal species down to size - by way of extinction - at least 90,000 years earlier than previously thought, says a new study published in the journal Science.  Elephant-dwarfing woolly mammoths, elephant-sized ground sloths and various sabre-toothed cats highlighted the array of massive mammals roaming Earth between 2.6 million and 12,000 years ago. Prior research suggested that such large mammals began disappearing faster than their smaller counterparts - a phenomenon known as size-biased extinction.  But as humans migrated out of Africa, other size-biased extinctions began occurring in regions and on timelines that coincide with known human migration patterns.  Read the full article here.

New York Institute of Technology (MAY)

Professor lends anatomy expertise to solve ancient mystery.  Scientists have long wondered why the physical traits of Neanderthals, the ancestors of modern humans, differ greatly from today's man. In particular, researchers have deliberated the factors that necessitated early man's forward-projecting face and oversized nose.  "The physical variations between modern man and 'cavemen' have caused Neanderthals to be historically characterized as barbarous, dim-witted and generally inferior to the contemporary human in almost every way," said Jason Bourke, Ph.D., assistant professor of Anatomy at NYITCOM and the fluid dynamics expert on the international research team. "Yet, as we learn more about their diet, spiritual beliefs, and behaviour, we realize that Neanderthals were likely more sophisticated than previously assumed, and aside from their facial structure, may not have been so radically different from today's humans. Now the question begs, why they looked so different."  Read the full article here.

University of Montreal (MAY)

Surviving climate change, then and now.  Trade and social networking helped our Homo sapiens ancestors survive a climate-changing volcanic eruption 40,000 years ago, giving hope that we will be able to ride out global warming by staying interconnected, a new study suggests.  Analysing ancient tools, ornaments and human remains from a prehistoric rock shelter called Riparo Bombrini, in Liguria on the Italian Riviera, archaeologists at Université de Montréal and the University of Genoa conclude that the key to survival is cooperation.  Home sapiens had been living in the region for about 1,000 years when a "super-eruption" in the Phlegraean Fields in southern Italy, west of present-day Naples, devastated much of Europe. "It used to be thought that this wiped out most of the early Homo sapiens in Europe, but we've been able to show that some were able to deal with the situation just fine. They survived by dealing with the uncertainty of sudden change."  Read the full article here.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MAY)

First human migration out of Africa more geographically widespread than previously thought.  Researchers conducting archaeological fieldwork in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia have discovered a fossilized finger bone of an early member of our species, Homo sapiens. The discovery is the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa and the immediately adjacent Levant and indicates that early dispersals into Eurasia were more expansive than previously thought. Prior to this discovery, it was thought that early dispersals into Eurasia were unsuccessful and remained restricted to the Mediterranean forests of the Levant, on the doorstep of Africa. The finding from the Al Wusta site shows that there were both multiple dispersals out of Africa, and these spread further than previously known.  Read the full article here.

Australian National University (APR)

Archaeologist discovers Cornish barrow site.  The site dates back to around 2,000 BC and was discovered by chance when ANU Archaeologist Dr Catherine Frieman, who was conducting geophysical surveys of a known site outside the village of Looe in Cornwall, was approached by a farmer about a possible site in a neighbouring field.  "He told us about a 'lump' on his land and that nobody knew what it was, so he asked us to take a look at it," said Dr Frieman.  Read the full article here.

University of Washington (APR)

Decade of fossil collecting gives new perspective on Triassic period, emergence of dinosaurs.  A project spanning countries, years and institutions has attempted to reconstruct what the southern end of this world looked like during this period, known as the Triassic (252 to 199 million years ago). Led by palaeontologists and geologists at the University of Washington, the team has uncovered new fossils in Zambia and Tanzania, examined previously collected fossils and analyzed specimens in museums around the world in an attempt to understand life in the Triassic across different geographic areas.  Read the full article here.


Binghamton University (APR)

New technology reveals secrets of famous Neandertal skeleton La Ferrassie 1.  The adult male La Ferrassie 1 Neandertal skeleton was found in 1909 in a French cave site, along with the remains of an adult woman and several Neandertal children. All of the skeletons were interpreted as representing intentional burials, and the finds sparked much public interest at the time regarding just how human-like the Neandertals were. The La Ferrassie 1 skeleton, in particular, has been highly influential in Neandertal studies since its discovery.  Now, researchers have applied some of the latest technological approaches to reveal long-held secrets in the skeleton of this iconic individual.  Read the full article here.


University of Utah (APR)

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline.  An international collaboration, including the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah, have discovered that early humans in eastern Africa had--by about 320,000 years ago--begun trading with distant groups, using colour pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These newly discovered activities approximately date to the oldest known fossil record of Homo sapiens and occur tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence from eastern Africa.  Read the full article here.


University of York (APR)

Compassion helped Neanderthals to surviveThey have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.  The study, by the University of York, reveals that Neanderthal healthcare was uncalculated and highly effective - challenging our notions that they were brutish compared to modern humans.  The researchers argue that the care provided was widespread and should be seen as a "compassionate and knowledgeable response to injury and illness."  It is well known that Neanderthals sometimes provided care for the injured, but new analysis by the team at York suggest they were genuinely caring of their peers, regardless of the level of illness or injury, rather than helping others out of self-interest.  Read the full article here.


University of Cape Town (APR)

Modern humans flourished through ancient supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago.  Imagine a year in Africa that summer never arrives. The sky takes on a gray hue during the day and glows red at night. Flowers do not bloom. Trees die in the winter. Large mammals like antelope become thin, starve and provide little fat to the predators (carnivores and human hunters) that depend on them. Then, this same disheartening cycle repeats itself, year after year. This is a picture of life on earth after the eruption of the super-volcano, Mount Toba in Indonesia, about 74,000 years ago. In a paper published this week in Nature, scientists show that early modern humans on the coast of South Africa thrived through this event.  Read the full article here.




"Hillforts and the Durotriges" A geophysical survey of Iron Age Dorset  by Dave Stewart and Miles Russell. Published by Archaeopress price £30.  Miles is Senior Lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology at Bournemouth University and a Trustee of CBA Wessex.

"50 Finds from Hampshire" finds of PAS from Amberley Press.  £13-15

"Winchester: An Archaeological Assessment" by Patrick Ottaway will be available shortly from Oxbow Books.  £40

"Arthur and the Kings of Britain" by Dr Miles Russell.  Published 15 March 17: £20. Pre-order now through Amazon.

"50 Finds from Hampshire: Objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme”  by Katie Hinds (Hants PAS officer).  Available from Amazon from £6.55 plus postage

 Thames Valley Archaeological Services Publications.  New monographs:

Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon occupation and Bronze Age burial at Ibsley Quarry, Ibsley, Ringwood, Hampshire.

Roman occupation at Chapel Farm, Blunsden, Swindon, Wiltshire (Lower Widhill Farm), Excavations 2004-2012.

Archaeological excavations at Latton Quarry, Wiltshire.  Click here for website


"Neolithic Horizons: monuments and changing communities in the Wessex Landscape".  Dave Field and Dave McOmish.  From £10 on Amazon

Iron Age Hillfort Defences and the Tactics of Sling Warfare by Peter Robertson. 2016.  £25.00. eBook £19.00 from Archaeopress.

Exploring Avebury the Essential Guide by Steve Marshall with 400 photographs, maps and diagrams. Price around £15.

Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape. Francis Pryor. Available mid-July £16.99

Gardens & Gardeners of the Ancient World: History, Myth & Archaeology.  Tracing the beginning of gardening from Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia to the Minoans, Greeks and Romans right up to the Middle Ages. £25 Oxbow Books

 “Rescue Archaeology: Foundations for the future”, edited by Paul Everill and Pamela Irving, published by RESCUE The British Archaeological Trust, as part of the celebrations of RESCUE's 40th anniversary.  Examines current challenges faced by archaeologists in Britain.  Full details from RESCUE.

"Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery".Parker-Pearson, Pollard, Richards & Thomas.  £14.  Oxbow Books.



Click here for the full Salisbury Museum programme.


Click here for full programme and joining details



(Members of U3A are welcome at all these events although there may be a small charge for non-members of CBA Wessex) Contacts for bookings, expression of interest and further details:   

Study days, Wessex Weekend & Conference - Andy Manning   events@cba-Wessex.org.uk : Tel.  03303 133406.  C/o Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, SP4 6EB

Walks: Steve Fisher: walks@cba-wessex.org.ukTel. 02380 227191

or book through the new website  http://www.cba-wessex.org.uk/

CBA Members can now benefit from a 15% discount on outdoor clothing, footwear, books, maps and equipment from Cotswold Outdoor. For details of how to claim your Member's discount and all of our other member offers go to our offers and discounts page.



Study Days:


2017/18 PROGRAMME - all meetings take place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm in St Catherine’s Church Hall, Wimborne.  Click here for more details.




All meetings are held on Mondays at the Methodist Church, St Edmunds Church Street, Salisbury. Doors open at 7.00 pm and the meeting starts at 7.30 pm. Non-members are welcome to attend.



MEETINGS: 7.30 pm at Ann Rose Hall, Greyfriars Community Centre, Christchurch Road, Ringwood BH24 1DW  (Members £2.00, Visitors £3.50; annual subscription: adult £10.00, full-time Student £5.00.  Enquiries to: - The Chairman, Mark Vincent 01425 473677 or use the Contact Us page on the website: https://avonvalleyarchsoc.wordpress.com/


Seminars:  All seminars are on Thursday evenings in the John Wymer Lab Building, 65a Faculty of Humanities Avenue, Campus Southampton SO17 1BF. All welcome.




BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY The Fusion Building on Talbot Campus