Last EDAS AGM and Evening Lecture
Following our recent AGM, John Gale of Bournemouth University spoke to us on his ongoing investigations into the Knowlton Prehistoric Landscape. The recent research follows on from that undertaken during the 90s and has been aimed at understanding the landscape of the prehistoric Allen valley as a whole. A large number of round barrows had been known from aerial photography and some upstanding remains (approx 170, interestingly all on the east bank of the river Allen) but following geophysical survey which revealed previously unknown features, this estimate has been increased. Students from Bournemouth University have undertaken test pitting, test trenches and subsequent area excavations over several seasons, notably at High Lea Farm. Additional geophysical survey and subsequent trial excavation at Great Higher has revealed Roman remains, thus possibly requiring a change to the project title! Work is ongoing and further excavations will be undertaken this year with opportunities for volunteer involvement (see web site for details). We thank John for a very interesting and well presented talk and wish him every success in his future work at Knowlton.

The March visit to Christchurch was attended by a large number of members who were not disappointed with the day. It was a very informative trip, the morning made all the more interesting because of the earlier lecture by members of the Christchurch Antiquarians on the history of the Constables House and the Castle. David Eales of the Antiquarians was very lively with information and obviously has done considerable research. We were introduced to the architectural history of both monuments in some detail and learnt that the chimney of the Constables House was probably the earliest of its kind. The platform associated with the Castle and amply illustrated in the previous lecture were probably put there during the Civil War as platforms for guns. The huge mound on which the Castle stands obscures the footings of the walls, which may well be sunk down to a considerable depth.

In the afternoon we were given a tour of the Priory by Mike Beams and his wife, who are members of EDAS and Church Wardens of the Priory. Once again we had leaders who were very knowledgeable on their subject and it was invaluable to be able to go up the tower and in the museum. Ecclesiastical services have taken place on this site for more than 1,300 years, the present building having stood for over 900 years. The misericords and stone sculptures were as ever seen with interest.

Such was the extent of the information we were treated to in the morning and afternoon that it is impossible to do justice to the day and our leaders, to whom we give our hearty thanks.

John Day

Eight members of EDAS spent the best part of a fortnight in Home Farm helping Nancy Grace of the National Trust sorting, marking and bagging artefacts from several excavations around Kingston Lacy. It was a very interesting time in which we improved our knowledge of identifying finds, large and small, under the strict supervision of Nancy. We learnt much about the right and wrong way of marking, bagging and storing. Nancy put herself out to instruct us and it was not only an informative experience but also an enjoyable one. Tea, coffee, doughnuts and biscuits were supplied and much appreciated.

Della Day

New Wreck Uncovered
A 17th century wreck, thought to be from the Civil War period, has been found on the shifting sands,  just out of Poole Harbour - now designated a Protected Wreck.  Said to be  40m long, over twice that of Studland Bay wreck, which is in same area, and much better preserved. That will present a headache for someone if a recovery operation is planned.  Will Poole want it??

Alan Hawkins

Points from the Dorset Archaeological Committee
Many issues are addressed at the DAC meetings. However, as your representative on the Committee, I thought Members might be interested in two major matters of concern that arose at the last meeting, on 17 March.

The first concerns the recording of archaeology in Roman Dorchester. Currently, there are two activities within the 'walls' of the town; replacement of a gas main along the High Street, and building works in Edwards Street. The trench for the former cuts through what Peter Woodward  believes to be the forum, whilst the latter has revealed what Bill Putnam believes is an Iron Age/Romano British trench which could be part of the fort, as yet unrecorded. No provision had, apparently, been made for recording the archaeology of these two sites.

The second issue is the disappointing number of entries for the biannual DAC Awards. In the past several Members have won awards, including Ted Bestow, Penny Copland-Griffiths, John Day and Lilian Ladle. Unfortunately, very recently the entrants have been very few. Steps are to be taken attract more interest, including wider and earlier publicity and more guidance on the submissions.

Phil Roberts

Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty : 2005 Annual Forum on 6th April

Members may be aware of AONBs, of which there are about 25 in England and Wales. As your representative at the above event, entitled "Evolving Landscapes - Trends and Opportunities", I thought I would write a brief note on the proceedings.

During the morning, lectures were given on the range of topics to be discussed in the afternoon. Group sessions were then held on four topics: Arable, Rivers, Grazing (Grasslands) and Woodlands, all within this AONB. Many issues were discussed, but the most important recommendations were: more farmers and landowners should be engaged in future discussions and decisions, an initiative should be taken by the AONB to set up a market selling produce from local farmers within the AONB (3 other AONBs have already done this), and communication and networking should be improved within the AONB. Although new measures brought in by the Government this year should help to protect the archaeology, there are risks to the latter, if certain changes to farming practice should occur. This is a scanty report on an important and interesting Forum - for further information, contact me.

Phil Roberts (01929 400 507

17th April - Walk to two Deserted Medieval Villages with Phil Roberts

A 6-mile walk to Higher Melcome and Bingham's Melcome, which once used to be in the same parish. We will be taking in other sites including a Romano-British settlement. Meet outside the Fox Inn at Lower Ansty (ST 765 032), at 10.30am. Bring a packed lunch. Any queries to Phil on 01929 400 507.


The dates for EDAS events are underlined. The monthly evening lectures start at 7.30pm.

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 13 Apr Talk by Nancy Grace of the National Trust. The talk is entitled ‘"A Feast of Finds"
Sun 17 Apr Walk with Phil Roberts. See earlier for more details.
Wed 11 May Lilian Ladle, an EDAS member and also leader of the Wareham Group gives a talk on‘Bestwall: The final Frontier’

EDAS AUTUMN EXCAVATION 2005 - Henge Excavation
In the February Newsletter, I announced our intention to return to Tarrant Monkton to excavate the henge, originally found by Martin Green on an aerial photograph. The area of Higgins Field in which the henge appeared was geophysically surveyed, at Martin's suggestion, using a resistivity meter, by Jeremy Webster (a postgraduate student). The plot showed a clear anomaly, indicating the presence of a Class 1 or Class 2 henge (There were also other, unexplained, anomalies).

The excavation will be directed by David Parry. He is a member of the Society and is a professional field archaeologist, currently working for the Wessex Trust. Some members will know David - he has dug extensively with Martin and with Lilian Ladle at Bestwall, also doing post-excavation work on the latter. David will be supported by Martin, as archaeological adviser, and by myself as manager (Oh! alright - gofer, then!). David's availability is not clear, at present, but hopefully will be by June. Jeremy is keen to be involved and will probably carry out further geophysical surveys of the "unexplained anomalies", in advance of the excavation.

In the meantime, it would be very useful to know Members' interest in working on this dig. This will help us to plan the investigation. To this end, I would be grateful if each member interested in taking part could complete the form below and give it to me, or send it to me.

Excavation will probably start on Monday, 19th September and carry on until Friday, 30th, including the middle weekend. Some participation will be needed during the 1st and 3rd weekends. If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to 'phone me on 01929 400 507 or e-mail me on Please note that there are no obligations, on either side, at this stage. There will be no charge to members who take part.

Phil Roberts


Please tick the dates below as appropriate,  adding  'P' alongside ticks for preferred days.

I / we would be interested in taking part in the dig and have marked my availability against the dates, below.

Name(s): Tele. no:

Address: e-mail address:








Sat 17


Sat 24


Sat 1


Sun 18


Sun 25


Sun 2


Mon 19


Mon 26




Tue 20


Tue 27




Wed 21


Wed 28




Thu 22


Thu 29




Fri 23


Fri 30




Any comments:


Please give this to Phil Roberts, or send it to him, by 31st May at:

Wilton Cottage, West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5SA.