NEWSLETTER - APRIL 2004

Membership Renewal
Would you please note that if you have already sent a standing order form to Peter Walker it is not necessary to complete the standing order attached to the membership renewal form, but simply tick the method of payment. The form should then be sent to Della Day.

RECENT EVENTS
At our last evening lecture Teresa Hall, who is a long-term member of EDAS, gave us a talk on ‘Early Religion in Wessex’. She told us of the possible continuity of Christianity from the late Roman period until Anglo-Saxon times. The early ‘organised’ church took the form of monasteries with associated hermits who spent most of their time in isolation, often in places such as the disused hillforts. Celtic Christianity in Britain got stuck in a ‘time-capsule’, while in mainland Europe more up-to-date customs had been adopted. The most obvious difficulty was the new Gregorian Calendar, which meant that Easter was celebrated at quite different times! The Synod of Whitby was called in 664 to resolve these differences, and as a result the new Roman dating was eventually adopted throughout. In later Saxon Britain, many Minsters were built or converted from previous buildings so that everybody would be able to worship locally. The land of these Minsters usually had a distinctive oval outline, and these can be identified in the ground plans of many towns today.

Saxon Minsters were the subject of Teresa’s recent M.Phil thesis, and she is an acknowledged authority on the subject. We thank her for a very interesting and informative lecture.

Sunday 28 March - Walk around Hambledon Hill with Gill and Allan Broadbent
Nine members (including 2 who had not been on previous walks) plus one dog enjoyed our first walk of 2004. We started at Shroton, otherwise known as Iwerne Courtney, where Gill told us about several of the older cottages. We then proceeded out of the village and climbed up to Hambledon Hill. Misty weather prevented us from enjoying distant vistas, but as we walked around the hillfort, Gill gave us a history of its occupation. Earnest discussions took place as to whether it was used only in emergencies when the locals were being attacked, or whether it was occupied all the year round. We questioned the latter option as we considered a lack of water supply would have made living there permanently rather difficult. However, Barry Perratt explained that the water table 2,000 or more years ago was much higher than today, so there could have been springs providing sufficient water.

We then descended back down to Shroton passing through a number of field gates. One of our number, who shall remain nameless, showed off her prowess in vaulting each gate! We visited St Mary's church to view its interior before repairing to the Cricketers where we enjoyed a hearty lunch and further erudite discussions. Many thanks to Gill and Allan for putting on this walk.
Peter Walker

FORTHCOMING EVENTS
Sun 25 April: Walk around Turnworth and Ringmoor with Alan Hawkins.

Practical Archaeology
The Badbury excavation has been greatly oversubscribed. A list of attenders and dates will be sent to the relevant people within the next two weeks if they are not available at this Wednesday meeting. We have not been able to allocate places to some people and most have had their requested dates curtailed. This has been unavoidable even though Martin Papworth has agreed to accept more of us than originally requested on the understanding that the trenches will not be very large and trowelling will be rationed, but there is an expectation we will share other tasks, surveying, artefact processing and guiding visitors (it will be a very public experience). Nancy Grace is anxious to get a team to not only help with artefact processing during the Badbury dig but also with an accumulation of finds she already has and will take a long time to sort out. This will be of particular value to inexperienced people and new members. I will supply details about this in the near future

Lilian Ladle is looking for experienced diggers at Bestwall. If you are interested, and we hope that some are as this is an important national site, please see Janet Bartlet.

It is hoped to do a few exploratory trenches at Race Farm this summer. Allan Hawkins will give more information about this as decisions are finalised.

Christopher Sparey Green will shortly be looking for members to help with the processing and illustrations of the Minchington finds.
John

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

The dates for EDAS events are underlined. The monthly evening lectures start 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.

Wed 14 Apr EDAS Lecture: 'Poole Harbour - England's First International Port of Trade' with Eileen Wilkes of the School of Conservation Sciences.
Sun 18 Apr Walk with Alan Hawkins.
Wed 12 May EDAS Lecture: 'Pyrolithic Technology: A new look at burnt stones' with Trevor Steptoe.
Sun 23 May Walk with Mike Fryatt around Corfe Castle and the Purbeck Ridge. More details later.
Sun 20 Jun Walk with Peter Walker. More details later.
Sat 3 Jul EDAS Summer Barbecue, organised by Hadyn and Wendie Everall and hosted by Martin and Karen Green at Down Farm. More details to follow.
Sun 18 Jul Walk with Len Norris. More details later.