NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2003

Venue for meetings
Please remember that the venue for the next meeting (December) 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 was enclosed with the last Newsletter).

PERSONALIA
Members will recall that Trevor Stepto, Chairman of the Avon Valley Archaeological Society received serious injuries in a car crash. We are pleased to say he 's now home and, although not as fit as he would like to be, he is making good progress. We wish him well.

Our member Pat Mariesh. who has not been well, has decided to emigrate to Southern Spain to open up a B&B establishment in the most archaeological rich area she can find Watch this space. She will shortly be leaving but before doing so has donated part of her extensive library to EDAS. (In her searches she has already come across a house that has an unexcavated Roman villa in the garden and another that includes caves with wall paintings'!) Thank you Pat; we wish you well.

RECENT EVENTS
At our last monthly lecture Dr Mike Allen of Wessex Archaeology gave us a talk on Archaeology of the Intertidal Wetlands - some muddy examples'. This was a presentation on the work that he had undertaken at Langstone Harbour near Portsmouth. Apparently Roman and other archaeological artefacts had been found in the 40s and 50s by an inquisitive schoolboy called Barry Cunliffe!

Work is only possible when the tide is out, and Mike started by showing us slides of the typical wetland surface - mud deepening away from the shore until it reached he water's edge. We were surprised when he started describing conventional techniques such as 'field walking', and using auguring to determine historical ground levels. Mike had started the work on the basis that these techniques were just as applicable for wetland sites, and his presentation showed us convincingly that these were indeed very effective here.

Prehistoric flint-flake scatters on slightly raised ground near the high tide level created the initial impression that people were coming down to the sea shore to hunt and prepare fish However, there was also evidence that the surface archaeology was very strictly arranged - the further out from shore, the earlier the artefacts, ranging from roman to prehistoric. Finally, the penny dropped that there had been continuous sequence of shoreline habitation that had crept north as the sea level rose. The earlier deposits were of the original prehistoric woodland that had covered the site when there was only a narrow sea-way between the mainland and the Isle of Wight.

The anaerobic mud and sheltered waters had proved very good at preservation, and wooden hafts, shoes and other artefacts that did not survive on land were unique finds.

Mike showed what an untapped resource such wetlands are as undisturbed time- capsules that also offer the possibility of very good preservation. We thank Mike very much indeed for this very interesting (and for your editor 'eye-opening') lecture.

Walk around Ibberton and Bulbarrow Hill
Sunday 28 September saw a dozen or so members join Steve Smith on a glorious autumn morning at the view point car park near Bulbarrow Hill.

Having admired the wonderful view across the Blackmore Vale we moved on to the first point of interest, the bronze age round barrow on Bulbarrow Hill. Unfortunately the barrow was covered with dense undergrowth and one felt that had it been closer to home a work party from EDAS would have quickly reduced the excessive growth. Then on to the dramatic Rawlsbury Camp Hillfort, again with outstanding views of the immediate and distant landscapes. From here we headed towards Woolland via Stoke Wake where we were pleased to wander round the outside of the well kept little church. We were disappointed to find it locked but a quick peep through the windows revealed that it was now privately owned and was in fact a gymnasium! Strolling across the fields we arrived at Woolland with its interesting collection of houses of different styles and dates together with its church, unusually without a dedication. It was designed by Gilbert Scott and consecrated in 1856. Parts of the chancel are ornamented with columns of Devon and Purbeck marble the latter containing some incredible fossils.

By now we were all ready for our lunch which was taken at Ibberton, and by some of us in the garden of the Crown Inn. Here we were joined by an athletic group of all ages who claimed to be a "Drinking Club with a Running Problem"! From this point the walk was all uphill, but the climb up 50 steps to the church was well rewarded with superb views from the churchyard across the Blackmore Vale. The church was dilapidated by the end of the 19th century but was restored in 1903 maintaining it's original features including walls which lean at bizarre angles and some Tudor stained glass set in the windows in the North Aisle. Also in the North Aisle was a large earthenware pitcher, believed to be Verwood Pottery, dating back to the early 19th century. At Christmas time the bellringers carried it around the local farms to be filled with cider, which was then consumed by them in the belfry! I expect they also had a running problem after that. Incidentally the pitcher is currently on loan to the Verwood & District Potteries Trust and was on display at the recent Heathlands Exhibition in Salisbury Museum.

From here we walked slowly and gently back to the cars enjoying the opportunity to stand and stare at the views and engage in conversation which was one of the many enjoyable features throughout the day which concluded for some of us with afternoon tea at Milton Abbas.

Thank you Steve for a most enjoyable and memorable day.
Geoffrey Brown

Sunday 19 October 2003 - Visit to Clarendon Palace and Old Sarum with Mandy Richardson

The October visit brought 18 of us following Mandy Richardson and partner to Clarendon Palace. Mandy has been excavating there and so was able to relay the history in some detail.

Clarendon is some 3.5 miles east of Salisbury, situated on a remarkable site on the hill side overlooking a wide expanse of land that held a Deer Park, woodlands, major roads and New Sarum itself.

It is first recorded as a royal residence in the first part of the 12th century in the reign of Henry I, though visited earlier by William I and was probably a hunting lodge in the late Saxon period. Henry II decorated it with bright colours and marble columns, but it reached its peak in the time of Henry III, who enlarged it to a point that made it, after the Palace of Westminster, the finest in the land.

In the 14th century it continued to have royal interest with the inclusion of a Deer Park and hunting lodges. During a stay there Henry VI had a psychotic episode, which prolonged his visit.

The Palace was out of use in the 16th. century and gradually fell into disrepair, until today, though showing evidence of its previous grandeur, it is in ruins. English Heritage has a five year consolidation plan. The results of this will be plain to see from the Clarendon Way, which runs close by.

Our visit included a look at the post medieval Clarendon House, which is no longer lived in and is showing signs of decay. This is a pity because it is an imposing building but the expense of rehabilitation is extremely expensive.

The visit to Clarendon was made particularly enjoyable by riding through the very large estate in sunny weather which showed the autumnal covering of the trees in a glorious colour.

After lunch we went to Parley village, seeing the Church and Hospital. The village reflects what England is famous for, thatched houses and delightful gardens, a pub and cricket ground making it a place that must be seen. The lost medieval church is a brick built structure, standing on the site of a medieval chapel. It is Wren built and its construction was supervised by Alexander Fort, his master mason. Unusual for the late 17th century when it was built the plan is of a Greek cross.

The founder of the church was Sir Stephen Fox, born in a woodcutter's family in the village. He became Charles II trusted servant and fled to France with him, becoming Keeper of the Privy Purse and later Paymaster to the army. The eldest of his four children of a second marriage became Lord llchester, who married into the Strangeway family. Not only did Sir Stephen sponsor the building of the church but also the 'hospital'. It is situated opposite the church and built in bricks reflecting the style of the church, making for an attractive area within the village. It comprised twelve separate almshouses. Parley Hospital continues to be used as was originally intended.

The day was initiated by Peter Walker who chose well in asking Mandy to lead us. We thank her for a most enjoyable and instructive day.
John Day

PRACTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
A Watching Brief was undertaken to meet the requirements of PG16, during the construction of foundation trenches for a house at Bloxworth. The house was being erected close to a Holloway marking the course of a medieval road to Wareham. Evidence of post-medieval drainage ditches was revealed and three shards of Verwood pottery recovered.
John & Della

Time Team
Time Team's project at Myncen Farm was a huge success. They uncovered a plunge bath on the villa site and eight burials in Goldfields. This will be televised sometime from January to March of next year. Also, there will be a special Time Team programme over Christmas which will include an excavation in Dorchester.

Myncen Farm
Regrettably the planning Committee turned down the proposed Archaeological Centre at Myncen Farm.
John

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Carol Concert- Sun 7th December
On 7" December at 3pm there will be a Carol Concert at Gussage St. Andrew Church in support of Church funds and also EDAS. Tickets are 5 each, and include mulled wine and a mince pie. For more information and tickets contact Simon Meaden on 01725552715, or Phil Roberts on 01929 400507.

Dewlish Roman Villa, starting 13th January

On Tuesday 13 January the first in a series of eight weekly evening-class lectures on the Dewlish Roman Villa starts, given by Bill Putnam. The course takes place in Stretton Village Hall and is arranged by Bristol University. It costs 40 per person, and can be booked by ringing 0117 928 7165 and quoting course no. D03J011RP.

Phil, Marion and I attended the previous two years of these courses (Roman Roads, and Roman Towns) and as you would expect from Bill they were excellent.

EDHT Talks - 19th Nov and 17th Dec

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. Wednesday 19 November 2pm Bucklers Hard: The Highs & Lows by Michael Lees.
2. Wednesday 17 December 2pm Medieval Music & Instruments by Jonathan Weeks.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

The dates for EDAS events are underlined. Lectures are at 7.30 pm. 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.

Sun 7 Dec EDAS will again be participating in a Carol Concert at Gussage St. Andrew Church. More details to follow.
Wed 10 Dec EDAS Lecture: 'Medieval Uses of Chalkland Flowers and Herbs' with Barry Perratt of EDAS.
Tue 13 Jan First in a series of eight Tuesday evening-class lectures by Bill Putnam on the Dewlish Roman Villa. See earlier for details.
Wed 14 Jan EDAS Lecture: Talk by Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology. Subject to be announced.
Wed 11 Feb EDAS Lecture: 'Aspects of Dorset's Medieval Archaeology' with lan Hewitt of Bournemouth University