NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2004

PROGRAMME CHANGE for the November Lecture
Unfortunately John Gale has to go into hospital the day before he is due to speak to us so won't be able to make it.  Martin Green has kindly agreed to speak to us instead about "Digging the dirt: more researches on Cranborne Chase". This means that there will be a ‘knock-on’ change for the AGM speaker. We will let you know the new details soon.

PERSONALIA
Congratulations to Simon Meaden who has been awarded the Otter Prize, for the best conservation on a working farm in Dorset.

RECENT EVENTS
Last EDAS Evening Lecture

At our last lecture Dr Keith Wilkins of University College, Winchester, talked on Later prehistoric and Romano-British landscapes of the Quantock Hills, Somerset, 2000-2004. Somerset had previously undergone a campaign of non-intrusive investigation (aerial photography and geophysics) that had dramatically increased the number of known sites. Keith and his students found themselves in the fortunate position of being offered, over a number of years, the opportunity to investigate some of these sites for the very first time. Although he is a professed prehistorian, Keith’s lecture soon revealed that he had also added to the record of significant Roman sites in Somerset, including a possible Roman Invasion Signal Station, and a prestigious Roman Villa. Keith’s talk was extremely informative and thought-provoking about the ‘new-found’ potential of archaeology in Somerset, and we thank him for a very interesting lecture.

Walk on Sunday 24 October 2004 led by Barry Perratt
Six members joined Barry on a walk over Martin Down and Tidpit Down. Barry first took us to a square banked enclosure and explained that the area had been excavated by General Pitt-Rivers, who found many finds but no trace of any dwellings. We next moved to a large mysterious circle of ground ivy. Why did it occur? Did it indicate that there is a feature below ground? Barry did not know the answer and perhaps we need Steve Smith with his resistivity meter to see if it reveals any anomaly.

Further on our walk we saw Grim's Ditch, a Bronze Age boundary ditch which runs for several miles, and which is thought to have been for the containment of livestock. This joins the Iron Age settlement at Tidpit Down where we observed that the defensive ditches did not appear to completely enclose the settlement, perhaps leaving it open to attack from the rear.

Our walk then took us along an old coach road, where we saw one of the original milestones. Our return journey to Martin Down car park followed Bokerly Dyke, the imposing bank and ditch system that is still the county boundary between Hampshire and Dorset. Barry explained that it was originally a Bronze Age boundary that was later strengthened after the departure of the Romans to protect Dorset from the Saxon advance.

As usual with a walk led by Barry, it was most illuminating, not only about archaeology, but also flora and fauna. We thank Barry for a most interesting day

Peter Walker

Field Trip
Please find enclosed some information from Gill and Alan Broadbent about next year’s EDAS Field Trip to the Lake District. Book early to avoid disappointment!

DORSET ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMMITTEE (DAC)
The DAC is the committee of the Dorset Natural  History and Archaeological Society. It meets five times a year and I am currently the EDAS representative. Its stated purpose is "to seek to ensure that Dorset's archaeological heritage is recognised and secured, well researched, effectively managed, interpreted and promoted as an educational and amenity resource". The membership of the committee is comprehensive, including any organisation or person that may have an involvement or influence in the County's archaeology.

Among its regular and more important responsibilities are the granting of funds for archaeological work and study in Dorset, and the selection of work and projects for the biennial Dorset Archaeological Awards. The latter include the Ian Horsey Memorial Award, which was presented to John Day in 2002 for his exceptional services to Dorset archaeology. Other members of the Society who have received awards include Lilian Ladle in 1998 for her remarkable work at Bestwall Quarry, and Ted Bestow for leading the restoration of 15th centuary stone statuary found in Shaftesbury. This year another member, Penny Copland-Griffiths, was honoured with the Ian Horsey Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to the work of the Verwood Potteries Trust. The Society has benefited from grants from the DAC for research investigations. The Committee's funds are augumented mostly by donations from the County Council and some local authorities.

Other topics which are regularly addressed by the DAC include Dorset Archaeological Days, which are organised by the Committee's secretary Claire Pinder; publications, especially the DNHAS Proceedings which are now edited by Catherine Barker; and ongoing review of archaeological work in the county by both professionals and volunteers.

Of necessity, this has been a somewhat sketchy review of the DAC's activities. If any members would like to know more, you are most welcome to contact them personally, or 'phone me on 01929 400 507, or by e-mail on philroberts@connectfree.co.uk

Phil Roberts

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 10 Nov Change to the Programme. See above for more details.
Wed 8 Dec Our Chairman, John Day, talks on ‘EDAS – Past’ and probably a talk on the last Field Trip by Peter Walker
2005  
Wed 12 Jan ‘Past from Pots: advances in the scientific analysis of ancient pottery’, with Dr Kevin Andrews of Bournemouth University
Wed 16 Feb Davina Freedman of EDAS on ‘The Rock Art of Mid Argyll: An Archaeological Investigation’.
Wed 9 Mar Roger Hills of Christchurch Antiquarians talks on The Archaeology and History of Christchurch Castle’