NEWSLETTER - OCTOBER 2003

Venue for meetings
Please remember that the venue for the next three meetings (Oct. to Dec. inclusive) is St Catherine’s Hall, Wimborne where we used to meet. For new members’ information, the hall is at the rear of St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, which is at the junction of Leigh Road and Lewens Lane in Wimborne. A map will be enclosed only with the Newsletters that are sent out after the meeting (on the basis that the members who attend already know where the Hall is!)

Now that members (including quite recent ones) have had a chance to try out both Allendale House and St. Catherine’s Hall, we would like you to let us know which you prefer. Allendale House has better equipment, and we do not have set up the chairs and clear up the cups, but there is less space to mill around in the tea break. In St Catherine’s we have to set up the equipment and chairs, and clear up after tea break but there is more ‘lecture space’ and also adjacent parking space. (If we vote to stay at St Catherines then we must have more volunteers to help wash up, etc, as it is not fair for the same few to do it every time.) You will find a form in with this Newsletter. Alternatively you could e-mail your editor (grahamadams@clara.net) with the title EDAS Venue, and state which one you prefer (or if you don’t mind).

Twenty Years of EDAS
Dear Members
Della and I were stunned at the gift of the engraved glass bowl that we were presented with at the September meeting. It was an admirable recognition of twenty years of EDAS, and we are very grateful.

EDAS could not function without members of the past and present whole member-ship to make the society the success it has been, and hope-fully will continue to be so. While we accept the bowl as a personal gift we are anxious to see it as encompassing everybody.

We have enjoyed the past twenty years and look forward to many more to come, both in the activities of archaeology and in the company of a grand group of people.
Thank you very much,
John & Della Day

Personalia
We are pleased to announce that two EDAS members, John Winterbottom and Diane Hall are getting married to each other.

Sunday 19 October 2003 - Visit to Clarendon Palace and Old Sarum with Mandy Richardson
(Amendment to published programme) Mandy will take us on a guided tour of Clarendon Palace and we will look at other features in Clarendon Park near Salisbury. After a picnic lunch and time permitting, we will then visit Farley where we will look at the large Wren style church. Afterwards, we go on to Old Sarum. Mandy will say a few words about its relationship with Clarendon Palace before we go in and take the audio tour. Meet at Clarendon Palace by following the directions below and the accompanying map. Old Sarum EH £2.50\ Concessions £1.90. Any queries please contact Peter Walker 01425 471326 or email him at peterdwalker@dsl.pipex.com

(Many congratulations to Mandy, who just been awarded her PhD and is now Dr. Richardson).

Directions to Clarendon Palace
1. Go in through the gate at Pitton and keep straight ahead.
2. When you reach a large stone sculpture on the right hand side of the road (marked S on map), turn left.
3. Drive between Beechey Dene Copse and Great Netley Copse.
4. Keep driving until you come to some speed humps where you will see signs for Clarendon House and turn sharp right to travel roughly north-west.
5. Follow signs for King Manor house.
6. Turn left toward the Rearing Field and when you reach the Rearing Field (opposite a pretty cottage) drive up the hill between it and Chalk Road.
7. Toward the top you will see Salisbury Cathedral on your left.
8. When you are in front of King Manor house turn hard right and in under 100 yards you will see the Palace site on your left where there is plenty of parking.

RECENT EVENTS

September EDAS Lecture
At our first lecture of the new season Dr. Charly French of Cambridge University gave us a talk on New Glimpses of Prehistoric Landscape changes in the Upper Allen Valley. Charly’s work on Cranborne Chase was based not on ‘traditional’ excavation methods, but on a very detailed analysis of the geology and ecology of the immediate sub-soils.

Standard text book archaeology says that after the retreat of the last Ice Age, land was heavily forested until part-way through the Neolithic. The ground-breaking work (no pun intended!) undertaken by Charly and his team showed that this was just not true. The usual explanation in this situation is that there is overlay by washdown from nearby hills. This also was thoroughly discounted by two separate techniques: detailed contour examination of prehistoric flood levels (determined by stereoscopic aerial photography), and the results of ecology from bore holes that were placed over the landscape in a regular grid.

The reasons for this untypical land history were still unclear, and Charly and his team will need to do more work to explain it. Possible reasons are very early clearing by man or grazing by animals. Not enough of the social and land use customs of the period are currently known to help in deciding. However, during the lengthy and very interesting discussion after the lecture, another possible reason (only partially tongue-in-cheek) was suggested. The land in question belongs to Martin Green, and nothing there seems to follow the normal rules!

This type of archaeology, which is effectively a completely new discipline, is much cheaper and less intrusive than ‘standard’ methods. It holds out the promise of finding much about prehistoric land use, and could challenge the received wisdom.

We thank Charly and his team (many of whom were also at the lecture, including some EDAS members) for a very interesting and thought provoking lecture indeed. We look forward to hearing more in the new future.

Sunday 20 July - EDAS Walk around Tollard Royal with Mike Beams
On a fine day, Mike led a party on a roughly circular walk starting and finishing on the Ox Drove, near Rotherly Down. Our first port-of-call, going south toward Tollard Royal was an archaeological site on Rotherly Down, where Pitt-Rivers excavated an area of Romano-British earthworks. On the site was a memorial with brief details of the finds recorded, including a number of burials. On reaching Tollard Royal, we visited the Parish Church of St Peter ad Vincula. This much renewed church still has two late c.13 windows and contains a 1900 Neo-Elizabethan marble tablet commemorating General Pitt-Rivers. Alongside the church stands King John's house which like the church has many phases of development. The general public are now unable to enter this remarkable building, the centre of which dates to c.1240, although when General Pitt-Rivers owned the property, public access was permitted.

We then made our way, via the Rushmore Golf Course, to Woodcutts Common. Here, we had our picnics and explored the second major archaeological site on the walk. Believed to be a single farmstead, this complex of Late Iron Age and Roman earthworks was first excavated by J H Austen in 1863. Pitt-Rivers excavated the site in 1884-5 and C F C (Christopher) Hawkes interpreted the latter's archive, some seventy years later. Three phases of development, but with continuous occupation, have been determined: c.1 AD, late c.2 and early c.4. A delightful stroll through woodland took us back to the Ox Drove, thereby ending a most enjoyable walk. We are very grateful to Mike Beams for researching and leading the walk and, particularly, for giving up his Church duties for the day.

Sunday 24 August - EDAS Walk 'A Purbeck Stroll' with Len Norris
Our walk started from West Creech car park and proceeded eastwards. Our first stop was at the Grange Arch, built as a folly about 1745 by Denis Bond, the then owner of Creech Grange, and now owned by the National Trust. Shortly after, we had our first diversion of the day and struggled through the undergrowth to Creech Barrow. This is a conical hill of tertiary formation and now comprises the footings of a stone tower and associated banks. A geological investigation had shown that inside the walls was a layer of black humus 2 feet thick containing C16th and C17th potsherds.

Our next diversion was to a putative Roman road, which Len had assisted Norman Field in surveying. Our walk continued eastwards until we stopped for lunch overlooking Corfe Castle.

Our return leg took us back along the same route to the car park, where Len, to celebrate his birthday that day, bought us all ice creams! We had good weather and marvellous views and thank Len for this interesting and enjoyable walk.
Peter Walker

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Dorset Archaeological Days
The Dorset County Council’s Archaeology Section has organised a series of Archaeology Walks throughout the summer. The cost is £3 per adult and £1 per child. For some walks prior booking is essential, and these are marked accordingly below. You can get full details from the County Council. The remaining walks for October are as follows:

Sat 11th Oct 2 pm - Bill Putnam
Dorchester Roman Aqueduct. Meet at the entrance to Poundbury Hill Fort, at the kissing gate adjacent to Hillfort House (SY 683 910). Chance afterwards to drive in own cars to the source at Frampton. 1½ miles, 2 hours. (For preliminary reading consult www.roseivy.demon.co.uk)

Sun 19th Oct 11am – Penny Copland-Griffiths, Verwood and District Poteries Trust
Verwood Potteries – a medieval and later industry. Meet in Blandford to view a private collection of Verwood pottery, and re-assemble at Drusilla’s Inn, Horton for Lunch (not included) and a tour of the pottery sites. (ST 853 112). 6 hours in own car.

Sat 25th Sep 11 am – Phil Roberts, East Dorset Antiquarian Society
Holworth and East Ringstead deserted medieval villages. 5 hours, 6½ miles. Meet at the National Trust Car Park overlooking Ringstead Bay (SY 758 824). Picnic lunch required. (Phil informs members that this is the same walk that he has already done for EDAS)

Sat 25th Sep ??? – Alan Bailey, Defence of Britain Project
World War II Studland: anti-invasion defences and decoys around Poole Harbour. 1½ hours, 1½ miles Meet in front of the National Trust Car Park at the Knoll car park (SU 034 836). (No meeting time was given, so you would be wise to ring the County Council to find out).

EDHT Talks
The following EDHT talks, which may be of interest to EDAS members, are being held at the Council Chambers, EDDC, Furzehill. Tickets are £4 Friends of EDHT, £5 non-Members unless otherwise stated.

1. Thursday 30 October 7pm Blood of the Vikings by Julian Richards.
2. Monday 3 November 7pm New Light on Roman Dorchester by Christopher Sparey-Green.
3. Thursday 6 November 7pm History of the Court Leet by Hugh Elmes. (Tickets £2 Friends of EDHT, £3 Non-Members.)
4. Wednesday 19 November 2pm Bucklers Hard: The Highs & Lows by Michael Lees.
5. Wednesday 17 December 2pm Medieval Music & Instruments by Jonathan Weeks.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

The dates for EDAS events are underlined. Walks and field visits usually meet at 10.30 am at the published Grid Reference. Ring the leader if the weather is doubtful or if more details are required.

Sat 18 Oct DNHAS Day School: Roman Dorchester. See an earlier Newsletter for details.
Sun 19 Oct Guided tour around Clarendon Palace with Mandy Richardson and tour of Old Sarum. See earlier for details.
Wed 12 Nov EDAS Lecture: 'The Salisbury Museum Archaeological Res-earch Group (SMARG) and its contribution to archaeology in South Wiltshire' with Martin Wright of Salisbury Museum. **This lecture is at St Catherine’s Hall**
Sun 7 Dec EDAS will again be participating in a Carol Concert at Gussage St. Andrew Church. More details to follow.