Last EDAS Lecture

At our last EDAS lecture Julian Richards gave us a talk entitled "Blood of the Vikings". Julian told us first how he had started his career. Although finding history a bit ‘dry’, he was fascinated by archaeology, and linking people in prehistoric society with our own modern lives. He was fortunate enough to get involved in a television series that was recreating prehistoric technology. Since then he has been very aware of how modern scientific and forensic techniques might help to explain the past, and also bring it vividly to life. Two examples of this which he covered in his presentation were the ‘Meet the Ancestors’ series and ‘Blood of the Vikings’. As a demonstration of how powerful these modern techniques could be, this latter project had shown quite conclusively that the Scandinavian peoples had discovered and temporarily settled in America. This is a question that had been debated for many years. Julian also brought along some of his books for members to buy, and these, of course, could be signed on the spot by the author! Julian did not ask for a lecture fee, but requested that EDAS make a donation to a charity of his own choice. At the meeting many members also made their own separate donations. We thank Julian for a very interesting and enjoyable talk that brought in a very large audience for our first lecture of the season.

Afterwards, Julian sent the following message to Steve, our Programme Secretary:

I enjoyed my visit to EDAS and was glad you liked the talk. Thanks also for the donation which when I counted up the bundle of notes etc when I got home came to £110.00 - very generous so please thank your members at the next meeting and tell them that although I said that it would go to Save the Children I was so moved by the reports the next day on the ongoing famine in Niger that the money was sent to the Niger Appeal.

Sunday 25 September - Walk led by Steve Smith around Bere Regis

Eight members (including one who had only joined EDAS a few days earlier) met Steve in Bere Regis for an easy 5 mile walk. Our first stop was at the beds on the edge of Bere Regis where watercress has been grown since the early 1800s. Watercress used to be a staple part of the working class diet, most often eaten for breakfast in a sandwich.

We then walked along a lane, which has medieval origins, to Black Hill, part of Hardy's Egdon Heath. As well as barrows we saw the Devil's Stone, a large sarsen stone standing on a small mound. After discussing to what purpose the stone was put, we descended to Turners Puddle, a very small hamlet with a redundant church, Holy Trinity. Much of the church dates from c.1500 but was restored in the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, the church was locked so we were unable to see the interior.

After lunch we continued our walk which took us through the picturesque hamlet of Shitterton and then back to Bere Regis. We then had the opportunity of visiting St John the Baptist Church. This has a magnificent carved and painted oak roof given by Cardinal Morton in about 1485. Morton, who was born in nearby Milborne St Andrew, is thought to have given the roof in memory of his mother, who was a Turberville. The roof is unique and is well worth seeing. We thank Steve for an interesting walk.

Peter Walker

Poole Harbour Heritage Project Ltd (a registered Charity)

Several members have been involved in activities with the project, from excavations on Green Island to beach walking. Those who were at the seminar in April will have had a taster of what the Project is doing, but there is much to be done and research will continue for many years.

Those who attended the seminar will shortly be receiving a booklet with reports from the various speakers that day. Further copies can be purchased (about £5) but only a short print run is planned so if you want a copy do not delay.

Many areas of research are planned and if you would like further information contact me – Alan Hawkins Tel 01202 668178


Wed 12th October - Next EDAS lecture

Talk by Professor Bruce Bradley of Exeter University: "Top of the World, Zhokhov, A Mesolithic Site in Polar Siberia".

Sat 15th October 2:30pm "The Anglo Saxon Invasion of Dorset".

A talk by Dr. Bruce Eagles at the County Museum, Dorchester. Entrance is free.

Sat 23rd Oct - EDAS Walk "OLD WEYMOUTH" with Karen Brown

See separate sheet for details.

Sat 19th Nov - Iron Age to D Day. Military Activities in the Harbour Over the Ages.

A half day session of lectures is being held on Saturday 19th November 1.30 – 6pm at the Poole Habour Commissioners’ North Terminal. Tickets £12.50 from Poole Maritime Trust, 6 Western Road Canford Cliffs, Poole, BH13 7BN. Send SAE.

Sat 18th. March 2006. Day School.

Pits, Pots and People - 10,000 years at Bestwall, Wareham. Dorchester Museum, £14. This promises to be quickly oversubscribed, hence the early advertising. A host of excellent speakers. Application form from Dorchester Museum, also some will be brought to the next EDAS meeting.

Sat 23rd Oct - EDAS Walk "OLD WEYMOUTH" with Karen Brown

What comes to mind when you think of Weymouth? Sandcastles, tourists and candy floss; or perhaps the venue for the next Olympics?

Think again. Think back to its origins. Back to a time when our Neolithic ancestors sat on the shore making tools from Portland chert. Back to a time when Bronze Age barrows dominated the landscape in the area. The Romans too played their part in the area, sailing up the River Wey and building their villas on the high ground above the turbulent waters.

Its history has been varied and far from the tranquil scene you see today. Here the pressgangs lurked, pirates frequented the local inns and terrible feuds between the rival towns of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis brought death and destruction to its inhabitants and properties.

We must not forget that it was through this port that the Black Death entered England. Weymouth provided ships to fight the French and much later King George III added to its notoriety by making it the favoured place to ‘take the waters’. Even Thomas Hardy cited it in his novels and gave it the name of Budmouth

Do you want to know more? Step back in time and join Karen and Pauline and discover the side to this resort that others seldom see. Wander around the ancient port and narrow streets. Hear about its past and see some of the treasures still to be seen incorporated into the buildings. We will regale you with tales of dastardly deeds and, of course, the inevitable ghost story.

One of the highlights of the day will be a personal guided tour for EDAS of the intact and fully furnished TUDOR HOUSE on the harbour-side

This is a day not to be missed. We have endeavoured to make it interesting, amusing and accessible to all. It will be leisurely and, because of the walk’s structure, it is also possible to partake in just a half a day if preferred. We will start at 10.30 with coffee in the Green Room in Weymouth Pavilion, with its panoramic views of the Georgian sea front. We look forward to seeing you. Further details - Karen 01305812876

Parking is available at the rear of the Pavilion but there is a charge. You can park free of charge in some side streets on the edge of town. Please phone me if you would like details of the best places. There are plenty of inns/restaurants to have lunch, but if you prefer you can picnic on the lovely sandy beach, or in the gardens overlooking the harbour. As this walk can be adapted to suit the weather please don’t be put off if a spot of rain is forecast.


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.


Sat 15 Oct

"The Anglo Saxon Invasion of Dorset", a talk at 2:30pm by Dr. Bruce Eagles at the County Museum, Dorchester. Entrance is free.

Sun 23 Oct

Walk with Karen Brown. See earlier for more details.

Wed 9 Nov

EDAS lecture: "The men of Stonehenge: the Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen", with Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology.

Sat 19th Nov

Lecture "Iron Age to D Day - Military Activities in Poole Harbour Over the Ages". See earlier for more details.

Wed 14 Dec

EDAS lecture: "Shillingstone Roman Villa", with Jon Valentin of AC Archaeology.


Wed 11 Jan

EDAS lecture: "The Origins and Development of Saxon Wimborne", with Dr David Reeve of EDAS

Wed 8 Feb

EDAS lecture: "Shaftesbury and its Abbey", with Dr John Chandler.

Wed 8 Mar

EDAS lecture: "Romano-Celtic Religion in Wessex", with Professor Tony King of University College, Winchester

Sat 18 Mar

A series of lectures: "Pits, Pots and People - 10,000 years at Bestwall, Wareham". Book early to avoid disappointment. See earlier for more details.