Archaeologists make discoveries on day one of Dorset museum dig (AUG)  Archaeologists found Roman pottery and a centuries-old vase on their first day at the site of a planned extension to Dorset County Museum.  Richard McConnell of Context One Heritage and Archaeology said he anticipated the team would be there into August, depending on what was found.  He said: "There is a known Roman Road that runs through the site, although most of it is under buildings. We also have all the post-medieval intrusion. "The pot is quite modern - 18th or 19th Century. We are in the very upper layers at the moment so we have to take it in chronological order. "There's quite a lot of Roman material like pottery, but it's very mixed."  Read the full article here.

Traces of Roman and Medieval Industry Found in England (AUG).  The Bournemouth Daily Echo reports that excavations near Poole Harbour in southern England have uncovered traces of past industrial activity in what is now an area noted for its natural beauty. A kiln and other workshops dating to the Roman period and a saltworks dating to the medieval period are among the discoveries.  Read the full article here.

Soldiers find skeleton of Saxon warrior on Salisbury Plain (AUG).  Afghanistan war veterans helping out with archaeological dig on military grounds found scores of Saxon burials complete with weapons and jewellery. On the last day of an excavation by soldiers within the military training lands on Salisbury Plain, they found a comrade in arms: the grave of a 6th century Saxon warrior, buried with his spear by his side and his sword in his arms.  His bones and possessions, which included a handsome belt buckle, a knife and tweezers, were remarkably well preserved despite his grave lying under a military trackway on which tanks and massive military vehicles have been trundling across the plain. Pattern welded swords, high status objects, are rarely found intact: his was lifted in one piece, complete with traces of its wood and leather scabbard.  Read the full article here.

Last dig season for Ice Age site (AUG).  AN archaeological site in St Saviour that has yielded thousands of artefacts which throw light on the Island’s ancient history is being excavated for the last time this summer.  Eight years of excavations in Ivystill Lane, off Les Varines, have unearthed stone implements, preserved animal bone, pits, hearths, paved areas and early artwork in the form of engraved stones.  The team of experts from the UK and local archaeologists have been led by Dr Matt Pope, a senior fellow of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. They have established that the site was a camp for hunter-gatherers 14,500 years ago, when Jersey was still connected to France and giant Ice Age animals, such as mammoth and rhinoceros, would have roamed the surrounding plains. Read the full article here.

Declaration of Independence found in Chichester archives (AUG).  One of the most important documents in American history has been rediscovered.  The United States of America declared independence from the British Empire on July 4 1776. Only two parchment manuscripts of The Declaration of Independence remain.  One is housed in the National Archives in Washington DC and the other had lain relatively unknown in the archives at West Sussex County Council in Chichester.  Read the full article here.

Chichester Priory Park dig unearths 'Roman hot tub' remains (AUG).  The remains of a hot tub big enough to hold four people have been uncovered by archaeologists in Chichester.  After the remains of three near-complete Roman buildings were found under Priory Park last year, experts suspected they would find a bath house. A second dig has now uncovered what experts have described as a "luxurious tub made from mortar, tiles and bricks".  Read the full article here.

HMS Invincible shipwreck's latest artefacts revealed. (JULY) More artefacts from a warship that was wrecked in the Solent in 1758 have been brought to the surface.  HMS Invincible - built by the French in 1744 and captured by the British in 1747 - is believed to be one of the most significant warships ever built.  A second excavation is being carried out on the wreck site near Portsmouth.  Among the finds are a gunpowder barrel, swivel guns, woodworking tools and a sandglass used in calculating the ship's speed.  Jessica Berry of MAST said some of the items retrieved from the seabed over the past month, during the second phase of the excavation project, were "absolutely immaculate".  "Digging right down, the objects are in perfect condition - it's like they're in an antique shop. Every day on site is hugely exciting and brings us something new."  Among the finds are six swivel guns, complete with their mounting. The team now believes the ship carried a complement of 12.  Read the full article here.

Stonehenge builders used Pythagoras' theorem 2,000 years before Greek philosopher was born, say experts. (JULY). A new book, Megalith, has re-examined the ancient geometry of Neolithic monuments and concluded they were constructed by sophisticated astronomers who understood lengthy lunar, solar and eclipse cycles and built huge stone calendars using complex geometry.  One contributor, megalithic expert Robin Heath has even proposed that there exists a great Pythagorean triangle in the British landscape linking Stonehenge, the site from which the Preseli bluestones were cut in Wales, and Lundy Island, an important prehistoric site. Read the full article, with pictures, here.



Saint Petersburg State University (AUG)

Study reveals the Great Pyramid of Giza can focus electromagnetic energy.  An international research group applied methods of theoretical physics to investigate the electromagnetic response of the Great Pyramid to radio waves. Scientists predicted that under resonance conditions the pyramid can concentrate electromagnetic energy in its internal chambers and under the base. The research group plans to use these theoretical results to design nanoparticles capable of reproducing similar effects in the optical range. Such nanoparticles may be used, for example, to develop sensors and highly efficient solar cells.  Read the full article here


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

Homo sapiens developed a new ecological niche that separated it from other hominins.  A new study argues that the greatest defining feature of our species is not 'symbolism' or dramatic cognitive change but rather its unique ecological position as a global 'general specialist'.  Growing archaeological and palaeo-environmental datasets relating to the Middle and Late Pleistocene (300-12 thousand years ago) hominin dispersals within and beyond Africa, demonstrates unique environmental settings and adaptations for Homo sapiens relative to previous and coexisting hominins such as Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus. Our species' ability to occupy diverse and 'extreme' settings around the world stands in stark contrast to the ecological adaptations of other hominins and may explain how our species became the last surviving hominin on the planet.  Read the full article here.


University of Cambridge (AUG)

Making thread in Bronze Age Britain.  A new study published this week has identified that the earliest plant fibre technology for making thread in Early Bronze Age Britain and across Europe and the Near East was splicing not spinning. In splicing, strips of plant fibres (flax, nettle, lime tree and other species) are joined in individually, often after being stripped from the plant stalk directly and without or with only minimal retting - the process of introducing moisture to soften the fibres. Read the full article here.


University of Exeter (AUG)

Ancient farmers transformed Amazon and left an enduring legacy on the rainforest.  Farmers had a more profound effect on the supposedly "untouched" rainforest than previously thought, introducing crops to new areas, boosting the number of edible tree species and using fire to improve the nutrient content of soil, experts have found. The study is the first detailed history of long-term human land use and fire management in this region conducted by archaeologists, paleo-ecologists, botanists and ecologists. It shows how early Amazon farmers used the land intensively and expanded the types of crops grown, without continuously clearing new areas of the forest for farming when soil nutrients became depleted.  Read the full article here.


University of Cambridge (AUG)

Barley heads east - Living plant varieties reveal ancient migration routes across Eurasia.  The emergence of agriculture is one of the most important transitions in the development of human societies, as it allowed the establishment of settled communities, specialization of labour and technological innovation. One centre of agricultural origins is the Near East, where barley was domesticated around 10,500 years ago, along with wheat and a number of other crops. Archaeological evidence shows that barley cultivation spread to its ecological limits in Europe, North Africa, and Central, South and East Asia, over a period of approximately 6,000 years.  Read the full article here.


University of York (AUG)

The origins of pottery linked with intensified fishing in the post-glacial period.  A study into some of the earliest known pottery remains has suggested that the rise of ceramic production was closely linked with intensified fishing at the end of the last Ice Age. Scientists examined 800 pottery vessels in one of the largest studies ever undertaken, focussing mainly on Japan- a country recognised as being one of the earliest centres for ceramic innovation. A three year study led by researchers at the University of York, concluded that the ceramic vessels were used by our hunter-gatherer ancestors to store and process fish, initially salmon, but then a wider range including shellfish, freshwater and marine fish and mammals as fishing intensified. Read the full article here.


University of Copenhagen (AUG)

Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years.  At an archaeological site in north-eastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago. It is the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.  Read the full article here.


University of Basel (AUG)

Mystery of the Basel papyrus solved.  Since the 16th century, Basel has been home to a mysterious papyrus. With mirror writing on both sides, it has puzzled generations of researchers. A research team from the University of Basel has now discovered that it is an unknown medical document from late antiquity. The text was likely written by the famous Roman physician Galen.  One of these papyri was regarded until now as unique in the world of papyrology. With mirror writing on both sides, it has puzzled generations of researchers. It was only through ultraviolet and infrared images that it was possible to determine that this 2,000-year-old document was not a single papyrus at all, but rather several layers of papyrus glued together. A specialist papyrus restorer was brought to Basel to separate the sheets, enabling the Greek document to be decoded for the first time.  Read the full article here.

University of York (AUG)

Ancient bones reveal 2 whale species lost from the Mediterranean Sea.  Two thousand years ago the Mediterranean Sea was a haven for two species of whale which have since virtually disappeared from the North Atlantic, a new study analysing ancient bones suggests. The discovery of the whale bones in the ruins of a Roman fish processing factory located at the strait of Gibraltar also hints at the possibility that the Romans may have hunted the whales.  Read the full article here.


Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz (AUG)

Neandertals practiced close-range hunting 120,000 years ago.  An international team of scientists reports on the oldest unambiguous hunting lesions documented in the history of humankind. The lesions were found on skeletons of two large-sized extinct fallow deer killed by Neandertals about 120,000 years ago around the shores of a small lake near present-day Halle in the eastern part of Germany. It demonstrates how Neandertals obtained their prey, first and foremost in terms of their much debated hunting equipment while also shedding light on their hunting skills.  Read the full article here.


Kiel University (AUG)

Special-purpose buildings bring together earliest Neolithic communities.  The advent of food production took place in the Near East over 10,000 years and sparked profound changes in the ways human societies were organized. A new study demonstrates that specialized buildings regularly featured in the world's earliest agricultural villages and were key to maintaining and enhancing community cohesion.  Read the full article here.


Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz (JULY)

Neandertals practiced close-range hunting 120,000 years ago.  An international team of scientists reports the oldest unambiguous hunting lesions documented in the history of humankind. The lesions were found on skeletons of two large-sized extinct fallow deer killed by Neandertals about 120,000 years ago around the shores of a small lake (Neumark-Nord 1) near present-day Halle in the eastern part of Germany.  With an innovative experimental ballistic setup including state-of-the-art motion-sensor technology, the researchers were able to reproduce the specific form of one of the lesions. The results prove the use of a wooden thrusting spear that was impacted with low velocity. This suggests that Neandertals approached animals very closely and thrusted rather than threw their spears at the animals, most likely from an underhand thrusting angle. Such a confrontational way of hunting required careful planning and concealment as well as close cooperation between individual hunters. Read the full article here.


University of Seville (JULY)

Crucial new data on the origin of the Dolmens of Antequera, a World Heritage Site.  A study has been done of the 'Abrigo de Matacabras', a small cave, which is home to cave paintings in the schematic style of the beginning of the 4th millennium BC.  This small cave has a first-class visual and symbolic relationship with the Menga dolmen, establishing landscape relationships that are possibly unique in European prehistory. The Abrigo de Matacabras is set deep in the northern sector of the Peña de los Enamorados, which, due to its shape, is reminiscent of a sleeping woman. Read the full article here.

Kiel University (JULY)

Special-purpose buildings bring together earliest Neolithic communities.  The advent of food production took place in the Near East over 10,000 years and sparked profound changes in the ways human societies were organized. These buildings provided a focal point for the community, a place where everyday mundane activities such as preparing food and making tools could have been undertaken by several people simultaneously.  What we are also seeing here at Beidha is a really interesting example of how societies deal with managing new issues of how to access and control ownership of plant and animal resources, which might have become more contested within these increasingly populous settlements. Read the full article here.

University of the Witwatersrand (JULY)

Cranium of a four-million-year-old hominin shows similarities to that of modern humans.  A cranium of a four-million-year-old fossil, that, in 1995 was described as the oldest evidence of human evolution in South Africa, has shown similarities to that of our own, when scanned through high resolution imaging systems. The cranium of the extinct Australopithecus genus was found in the lower-lying deposits of the Jacovec Cavern in the Sterkfontein Caves, about 40 km North-West of Johannesburg in South Africa.  Through high resolution scanning, the researchers were able to quantitatively and non-invasively explore fine details of the inner anatomy of the Jacovec specimen and to report previously unknown information about the genus AustralopithecusRead the full article here.

European Society of Human Genetics (JULY)

New technique provides accurate dating of ancient skeletons.  A critical aspect of tracing migration events is dating them. However, the radiocarbon techniques, that are commonly used to date and analyse DNA from ancient skeletons can be inaccurate and not always possible to apply. Inspired by the Geographic Population Structure model that can track mutations in DNA that are associated with geography, researchers have developed a new analytic method, the Time Population Structure (TPS), that uses mutations to predict time in order to date the ancient DNA. TPS has already shown that its results are very similar to those obtained with traditional radiocarbon dating. (but) radiocarbon technology requires certain levels of radiocarbon on the skeleton, and this is not always available.  Read the full article here.


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

Oldest bubonic plague genome decoded.  A pair of 3,800-year-old skeletons buried together in Russia test positive for a strain of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis that is ancestral to the strain that caused the Black Death.  The strain identified by the researchers was recovered from individuals in a double burial in the Samara region of Russia, who both had the same strain of the bacterium at death. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that this strain is the oldest sequenced to date that contains the virulence factors considered characteristic of the bubonic plague, and is ancestral to the strains that caused the Justinian Plague, the Black Death and the 19th century plague epidemics in China.  Read the full article here.


Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters (JULY)

When did animals leave their first footprint on Earth?  Recently, an international research team reported discovering fossil footprints for animal appendages in the Ediacaran Period (about 635-541 million years ago) in China. This is considered the earliest animal fossil footprint record. Bilaterian animals such as arthropods and annelids have paired appendages and are among the most diverse animals today and in the geological past. They are often assumed to have appeared and radiated suddenly during the "Cambrian Explosion" about 541-510 million years ago, although it has long been suspected that their evolutionary ancestry was rooted in the Ediacaran Period. Until the current discovery, however, no fossil record of animal appendages had been found in the Ediacaran Period.  Read the full article here.


"The Hidden Bones" is an archaeological novel by Nicola Ford (aka Dr Nick Snashall - National Trust archaeologist for Stonehenge & Avebury WHS).  £19 from Allison & Busby.

“Megalith” is published by Wooden Books.

"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

· Tuesday, 25th September 2018 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Lecture: The South Wiltshire Roman Temple and an update on fieldwork in the Verlucio area by Dr David Roberts.  This lecture presents our results from our central case study, an exceptional late Roman temple and its landscape. The temple has produced a very large assemblage of material culture, including nationally unique objects and an unparalleled assemblage of miniature iron objects. In this lecture we will consider the regional context of the site, the sequence and use of the temple, the finds assemblages from the site, and the domestic and industrial landscape within which it is set.  £7 (£4.50 WANHS members).  Book online here.

·  Saturday 27th October 2018  9:30 am - 4:30 pm  Conference: Industrial Archaeology – Buildings.  Devizes Town Hall£15 (£13 WANHS members).  The ticket price includes morning coffee and afternoon tea, but not lunch. There are many cafes, pubs, restaurants and sandwich bars in the town where lunch may be taken. For those bringing their own lunch Hillworth Park is 400 yards away up Long Street.  No parking at the Town Hall or Museum.  Long stay parking – Station Road car park – at the very far end, Pay and Display. Book on-line here

Saturday 10 Nov 2018, 14:30. LECTURE: Taking Sides.  Scandinavian Flint Axe type in Britain by Dr Katharine Walker.  Neolithic connections between Scandinavia and Britain have been largely dismissed in recent years, and characteristic rectangular-sectioned axe-heads have been written out of accounts of prehistory as modern collectors’ losses. An axe-head from Julliberries Grave non-megalithic long barrow, Chilham, Kent, is cited as one of the few ‘credible’ examples. This talk is a presentation of the evidence and the detective work needed to ascertain the credibility of the axe-heads, and situates it in the ‘bigger picture’ of cross-sea connections.  Book on-line here.

Saturday 24 Nov 2018, 14:30.  LECTURE: Recovering Lost Music in Medieval Wiltshire by Graham Bathe.  A detective story unravelling how early medieval musical manuscripts became used as covers for manorial court records in Wiltshire. They include a piece of music from the 1200s hitherto unknown in England.  This is an onion-layer sequence of detection, with recorded examples of the music once performed at Old Sarum, and not heard in 800 years.  Book on-line here.

Saturday 8 Dec 2018, 14:30.  Lecture: Return to the Antikythera by Phil Short. 



(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:

Both days led by pottery and finds expert Lorraine Mepham 10.30am to c 4pm  at Wessex Archaeology, Old Sarum Park Salisbury. SP4 6ED.  Price: Members £25, non-members £30.  Places limited to 14. Book onlineemail Andy Manning:  call Andy on 03303 133406



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.


PROGRAMME - all meetings take place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm

  • 12 Sept

Blick Mead Mesolithic site - key to the Stonehenge landscape? by David Jacques of University of Buckingham

  • 10 Oct

The Honour of the Nation - black prisoners of war at Portchester Castle by Abi Coppins of English Heritage

  • 14 Nov

The Lost Soldiers of Fromelles - naming the dead by Professor Margaret Cox, Osteoarchaeologist

  • 12 Dec

Chess - Air war over Britain and Germany by Phil Judkins of University of Buckingham


  • 9 Jan

Please note that the programme leaflet has an incorrect date. Neolithic Imports or Collectors? - Continental axe-heads in Britain by Kath Walker, Visiting Research Fellow at Bournemouth University and Project Officer at the New Forest Centre

  • 13 Feb

Orkney and Beyond by Ben Buxton, Archaeologist

  • 13 Mar

AGM followed by Andrew Morgan and Geoff Taylor on the 2018 EDAS Field Trip to S E Wales

  • 24 April


  • 8 May

Once upon a Hill - a study of Dorset hillforts by Dave Stewart, EDAS member



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.



Wednesday 12 September 7.30pm.  DISCUSSION: The Legacy of Alfred: the Anglo-Saxons and the birth of England.  Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry St, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8SB

Saturday 20 October 9:30 am-5:15 pm LECTURE: Winchester: Early Medieval Power and Faith.  The King Alfred Conference Chamber, Guildhall, The Broadway, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9GH.  Cost £45 - £65.  Book on-line here.


BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY The Fusion Building on Talbot Campus