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.

Mesolithic settlement near Stonehenge: excavations at Blick Mead, Vespasian’s Camp, Amesbury (MAR) – the full archaeological report can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking 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 analysed 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 Neanderthal 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 Neanderthal 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 Neanderthals were. The La Ferrassie 1 skeleton, in particular, has been highly influential in Neanderthal 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 super volcano 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.


University of Southampton (MAR)

Earliest cave paintings were made by Neanderthals.  Scientists have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals made cave paintings, indicating they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own.  A new study led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that paintings in three caves in Spain were created more than 64,000 years ago – 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe.  This means that the Paleolithic (Ice Age) cave art – including pictures of animals, dots and geometric signs – must have been made by Neanderthals, a ‘sister’ species to Homo sapiens, and Europe’s sole human inhabitants at the time.  It also indicates that they may have had a similar artistic sense, in terms of thinking symbolically, to modern humans.  Read the full article here.


University of Exeter (MAR)

Research into the family tree of today's horses sheds new light on the origins of the species.  The earliest known domesticated horses are not at the root of today's modern breed's family tree, as had previously been thought, new research has shown.  It had been suggested that that Botai horses, from Kazakhstan, were the progenitors of all modern domesticated breeds found worldwide.

However, a pivotal international study has drawn on groundbreaking genetic and archaeological evidence to show that the Botai didn't give rise to today's equines, but are instead themselves ancestors of the 'wild' Przewalksi horses, native to the neighbouring Mongolian region.  Read the full article here.


University of Wyoming (MAR)

New research sheds light on prehistoric human migration in Europe.Two major migrations passing through south eastern Europe were confirmed by the means of archaeo-genetic studies.

The first migration was the early Neolithic Period - 6,000 BCE - when the first farmers, from Anatolia -- Asia Minor -- spread through Europe. The second migration occurred during the early Bronze Age (3,000-2,500 BCE) when the so-called "steppe population," from the Eurasian steppe, replaced much of northern Europe's previous population.  The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through south eastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding.  Read the full article here.


University of Cambridge (MAR)

Micro to macro mapping -- Observing past landscapes via remote-sensing.  Remotely detecting changes in landforms has long relied upon the interpretation of aerial and satellite images. Effective interpretation of these images, however, can be hindered by the environmental conditions at the time the photo was taken, the quality of the image and the lack of topographical information.

More recently, data produced by photogrammetry and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) models have become commonplace for those involved in geographical analysis - engineers, hydrologists, landscape architects and archaeologists.  In new research published this week in the journal Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Cambridge archaeologists present a new algorithm, Multi-Scale Relief Model (MSRM), which is able to extract micro-topographic information at a variety of scales employing micro-, meso- and large-scale digital surface (DSM) and digital terrain (DTM) models.  Read the full article here.


University of York (MAR)

Rapid land changes forecast for East African savannahs.  A study, presenting a 5000-year environmental history of the popular tourist destination, Amboseli National Park in Kenya, has shown that the impact of climate change on land is more rapid than previously thought.

Over the period, environmental changes surrounding the savannah and wetlands occur within decades, revealing a dynamic eco-system that is constantly evolving and responding to climate change.  The study suggests that further considerations over how strictly National Park boundaries are managed are needed in order to keep pace with the changing environment.  Read the full article here.


University of Bristol (MAR)

Radiocarbon dating reveals mass grave did date to the Viking ageA team of archaeologists has discovered that a mass grave uncovered in the 1980s dates to the Viking Age and may have been a burial site of the Viking Great Army war dead.

Although the remains were initially thought to be associated with the Vikings, radiocarbon dates seemed to suggest the grave consisted of bones collected over several centuries. New scientific research now shows that this was not the case and that the bones are all consistent with a date in the late 9th century. Historical records state that the Viking Great Army wintered in Repton, Derbyshire, in 873 A.D. and drove the Mercian king into exile. 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 7.00pm and the meeting starts at 7.30pm. Non-members are welcome to attend.



MEETINGS: 7.30pm 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