Thursday, 1 December 2011

Marden Field Walking - 4 December

This will be the final day so one last big push will finish the job. We have already picked up some interesting finds.

The main aim is to look for traces of prehistoric settlement in the Vale in the area surrounding the Henge at Marden. When a similar exercise was undertaken to the north of Stanton St Bernard in 2009 the big surprise was the amount of Romano-British pottery that was found.

If you are interested just turn up at the Meeting Point (SU084566) on the day or phone Jim Gunter on 01793 731974 for more details. Come for the day or part of the day.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Yatesbury fieldwork - 7/8 October

The beans are now in and the dig/field walking in the trench and POW camp areas delayed from 2 weeks ago is set for this weekend 7/8 Oct.

Meet at the village hall car park 10:00 Saturday and Sunday.

This coincides with the WANHS AGM and lecture on the Saturday and the Downland walk in memory of Shaun Ogbourne on Sunday. It means that for once there is plenty of choice to suit everyone's tastes so I hope everyone will come out to at least one of these events.

If you wish you can go to Yatesbury for just a morning or one day or both that will be fine. If you are going please let Dan Miles know by email:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Sunday 9 October. As a memorial to Shaun Ogbourne who had identified many blocks of sarsen on the Marlborough Downs that appeared to have been humanly modified, with cup marks, possible polissoirs, and even carvings, it would be fitting if his work was continued. A walk has, therefore, been organised across the Downs to give everyone the chance to look at, examine, and comment on the individual stones as well as taking in other sites along the way. It is intended to have the walk in conjunction with members of Shaun’s family and his Wessex Dowsing Society. This is the start of Rock Art Wiltshire, an ongoing project to fully document and publicise all such stones identified anywhere in the county.

Date: Sunday 9th October.
Time: 10:30 – 16:00 (bring lunch and appropriate gear for the weather)
Venue: Manton car park (directions – see map below)
Map Ref: SU159699
Contact: Jim Gunter on 01793 731974 or

A map is available on request -

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Yatesbury fieldwork postponed

The fieldwork planned for this weekend (24/25 September) at Yatesbury has been cancelled as the farmer has still not been able to get his crop in! Watch this space for details of the rearranged date - or subscribe to the afg e-mail newsletter - contact and include AFG in the subject line.

We had a great turn out last week and lots of fun - the RAF Yatesbury Society has already put some photos on their website.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Kennet Valley Mesolithic study

Abby George has started the fieldwalking, augering and test pitting in West Overton (North Farm) as described in an earlier email. Work is being interrupted by rain so will continue this week and into next week (w/c 19th September).
Contact: Abby on 07919 230721 or
Date: from 12th September 2011
Time: 10:00 – 16:00 each day
Venue: North Farm, West Overton
Map Ref: SU133685

Stanton St Bernard - sorting and analysing finds

Following the successful weekend excavation of the post-medieval buildings at Home Cowleaze conducted jointly with members of the SSB History Society now comes the task of sorting and analysing the many finds. This has been planned to be a joint exercise again with the local society.
Contact: Brian Clarke on
Date: 24th September 2011
Time: 10:00 – 16:00
Venue: Stanton St Bernard village hall
Map Ref: SU092624

Yatesbury WW1 Airfield

Slight change of plan/dates.

The target area covers 2 huge WW1 airfields. The original plan was to start in one part of the eastern airfield where what looks like training trenches – but might actually be target practice trenches for aircrew - and a POW camp. Later we were going to move to another part where there were hangars, recreation areas and target practice areas.

However, due to bad weather the farmer has been unable to bring in the crop in time for the 17th September in the first area. The plan now is to start in the hangar area but only on 17th September. The farmer is confident that he will clear the first area before the following weekend. The work in that area is now reprogrammed for the weekend of 24th and 25th September.

Members of the Yatesbury History Group and the RAF Society will be joining us.
Contact: Jim Gunter on 01793 731974 or
Dates: 17th and 24th/25th September 2011
Time: 10:00 – 16:30 each day
Venue: Yatesbury village hall, The Avenue (next to the church)
Map Ref: SU064716

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Archaeology at Yatesbury WW1 airfield

With the Centenary of the outbreak of World War One approaching there is a rising tide of interest in the archaeology of the period. Research by WANHS members Dan Miles and Richard Broadhead (with MoD archaeologists) has identified Yatesbury as a very important site. It was the training base for aircrews from UK, NZ, Australia, Canada, South Africa and even included some pre-revolution Russian crews and later some US crews. It was a vast operation with 2 airfields next to each other.

Two specific areas have been identified for an initial weekend of work. One, based on aerial photos seems to have the only known straight line trenches left in Britain. These were training trenches probably dug just before the outbreak of hostilities. They were quickly found to be death traps when attacked and zigzag trenches very quickly superseded them in the field. Our plan is to geophys the area to identify these trenches, one of which will then be excavated.

The second area is the site of a large POW camp. As we only have the one weekend this area will be geophysed, fieldwalked and metal detected all
in the same grids. If you have a metal detector bring it along.

There is some speculation that the straight trenches were backfilled in 1918 with material from the POW camp, which make fir plenty of finds.

It is planned that the AFG will take the lead on this site but (hopefully) involvement by the Yatesbury History Group and the RAF Society. Based on this one weekend’s results it should be possible to plan a much bigger project for 2012 (and beyond).

The exploratory work will be over the weekend of 17/18 September 2011. If you are interested in taking part please contact us.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bedwyn Brails: the continuing hunt for a Tudor Mansion

Bank Holiday weekend - Saturday 27 to Monday 29 August.
Come along to assist with the continuing hunt for this Tudor Mansion.
Meet at Hill Barn Farm at 9.30. Finish 4pm.

Range of activities:
One area has already been geophysed and some targets identified which might be the foundation trenches. These will be excavated – on the hard “clag” with the aid of a digger; test pits would be dug in the cultivated areas; another area will also be geophysed and processed overnight to identify further possible targets for excavating on Sunday. Use will be made of the digger to continue following the line of the pipe found coming out of the Conduit House.
Monday will be used to finalise any “interesting” trenches and for fieldwalking – Bronze Age, Roman and Medieval pottery was found whilst geophysing.

(contact Jim Gunter 01793 731974;

Test Pits in the Kennet Valley

Volunteers are being sought to assist with the Kennet Valley Mesolithic Environment project. Please contact Abby George if you are willing to help with digging test pits at West Overton in the next few weeks.
Contact Abby on 07919 230721

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Moot Project

We are holding a 'moot drop in' on Saturday 16 July at Wiltshire Heritage Museum from 2-4pm. Come along for a chat, compare note and 'hopefully' get some advice.

Summer Digs

This year we have two excavations planned one at Stanton St Bernard and another at Bedwyn Brails.

Home Cowleaze, Stanton St Bernard - Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August (9.30am to 4.30pm). This site is now pasture but early maps indicate that properties were here. The project was initiated by the Stanton St Bernard History Group but this dig will be undertaken jointly with the AFG. The project will use test pitting to locate any buried remains of two of the properties and recover any evidence which may indicate the use and date of these buildings. Please contact or if you would like to get involved.

Bedwyn Brails - Bank Holiday weekend 27-29 August. Further details will be posted when available.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Castle Elusive exhibition at Calne Heritage Centre

Find out about the Castle Elusive exhibition now on at Calne Heritage Centre. A newsletter all about the exhibition is now online.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Castle Elusive exhibition opens

An exhibition about the Archaeology Field Groups work to locate Calne castle has opened at Calne Heritage Centre and runs until 8 May.

More information, including opening hours, is available here.

Castle Elusive exhibition opens 1 April

Come along to Calne Heritage between now and 8 May to learn more about the archaeology field group's efforts to locate the site of Calne Castle. On display will be artefacts found during the excavations on Castle Hill and also photographs of many more.

Calne Heritage Centre is located on New Road, Calne and is open Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 2pm to 4pm. Entry is free.

Saxon Moot Project - 2 April

Meet at Bouverie Hall carpark, Pewsey at 9.45am, from where we will travel to the moot site. We should be back in Pewsey in time for lunch!

One from each team should attend this event if possible, where there will be an opportunity to ask Paul Tubb questions about the project.

If you are not in a team and interested in the project, please come along too.

If the weather is forecast to be wet - please bring suitable clothing!

See you Saturday.

Friday, 4 March 2011


The surveys scheduled to take place on Sunday 6 and Sunday 13 March, have unfortunately been cancelled. See you all again later in the month.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Castle Hill, Calne - further excavations

Advance notice - further excavations to take place from 5 to 8 May 2011.

Planning is under way for a further dig on Castle Hill in Calne and details will be sent out as soon as possible. The excavation is to investigate one of the ditches that surround the top of the hill. Its goal is to determine if the ditches are ramparts from the Iron Age, or Medieval defensive structures, or 18th/19th century garden embellishments. The dig using trowels and spades only (no Time Team - type JCBs) will take place from 5 to 8 May 2011.

West Woods Survey - 13 February

Cancelled - to enable everyone to take part in the woodland survey at Tidcombe Gate, Great Bedwyn on 12 February instead!

Monday, 7 February 2011

12 February - Woodland Survey

Tidcombe Gate - south of Great Bedwyn, Bedwyn Brails, next to the area where the conduit house was discovered. Meet 10am - car parking in the field behind Hill Barn Farm.

There are lumps and bumps in the woods next to the conduit house which could be buildings concerned with building the house, then again could be earlier, a survey will give us a clue!

Car Park 281619, drive through the farm to the field behind.

Beginners welcome.

Bring lunch and wet gear, unless it's a monsoon the survey will take place!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Fieldwalking in the Upper Kennet Valley

Abby George is organising fieldwalking in the upper Kennet Valley as part of her investigation into the Mesolithic of the upper Kennet Valley.

Stage one is fieldwalking by Swallowhead Springs near Silbury Hill and a map giving a better idea of the plan is available on request (

More detailed information to come, but dates are planned now for throughout February.

Abby would really appreciate any help that people are willing to give. If anyone is interested, please would they email or telephone Abby to let her know if they are coming (tel 07919 230721 and

Regular reminders will be posted.



Friday, 21 January 2011

Sat 29 Jan - Landscapes of Governance project

On Saturday 29th at 10:00 in the lecture room at Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Dr Paul Tubb will give a presentation on the Landscapes of Governance project. WANHS intends to join in on this country wide project which hopes to research and identify the moots (assembly sites) in England. More information about the project can be found on the UCL website.

This will be primarily a research and landscape investigation and there is plenty to do, so if you haven't a clue what this is about (and even if you do), see you at the lecture hall.

The centuries after the Roman Empire collapsed has been a poor relation in archaeological research, time to do something about it!

I won’t say beginners welcome, as this is a subject to which most of us are beginners.

Afterwards Lynn will have some finds with her for sorting if some would like to stay and help.

Please come along, even if this project isn't for you, it will be interesting and Jim will make you a cuppa.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sat 15th Jan - Finds Sorting and Recording

There is a finds sorting day this Saturday - 15th January - starting at 10 am in the Museum’s lecture room. We'll be working on the Stanton St Bernard assemblage. Come, keep warm, enjoy the company and hopefully learn a little. Beginners are most welcome.