Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society Programme 2015

9 December, 2014 (All day)




All meetings at Church Cottage, Basingstoke, 7.30 pm. Visitors welcome, £3.



David Baker                                                          

These excavations took place a long time ago and are only just about to be published in a monograph by the Hampshire Field Club. David Baker has done sterling service by bringing all the information up to publication standard. Basingstoke has a special connection with the priory as it used to be patron of our church, responsible for providing priests and maintaining the chancel in return for the income from church lands. It is recorded that the priory repaired and improved the chancel in 1464-5. Our splendid timber roof which miraculously survived the 1940 bomb dates from this time. The priory was closed quite soon after this major expense  – but I don’t think there was a connection!


12th February  SETTLEMENT AND MONUMENTALITY IN THE AVEBURY LANDSCAPE                                                    Dr Josh Pollard, University of Southampton

There has been a lot of attention on Stonehenge in recent years, with the major archaeological project involving several universities, and of course the new visitor centre, but the very much larger stone circle at Avebury is also the centre of a number of sites and monuments and of similar significance in the Neolithic landscape. Dr Pollard is involved with the current research at both Stonehenge and Avebury, where he has made a particular study of the Avenues and lesser known features of the site.


12th March  THIRST FOR POWER: WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE ANCIENT WORLD                                                Prof. Steve Mithen, University of Reading

We are familiar with Prof Mithen’s work on the Mesolithic and also  his research in Jordan from previous visits to the Society, but two years ago, he published a book on this subject, which entailed a great deal of travel and research in more distant places. He went to China and the Far East, and to North and South America as well as the more familiar ancient civilisations of the Levant.  I think we shall all learn something new not only about past water management but also about what is still a very relevant matter to this day.


9th April   1215 AND ALL THAT: THE REAL STORY OF MAGNA CARTA                                                                                                                    Dr Nick Barratt, National Archives

There are several anniversaries to be commemorated at the moment, but for students of British history, this is one of the big ones.  Our political system was evolved over the years, but this was an important step.  One of the copies of this famous document can be seen at Salisbury cathedral, where it attracts many visitors, and another (from Lincoln) is to be taken about the realm next year to remind us how long some of our freedoms have been in place. Dr Barratt from the National Archives will talk to us about the ‘real story’ – come and be enlightened!


14th May  REBUILDING THE PAST                                                                                                                                       Luke Winter, Centre for Ancient Technology, Cranborne

The Hampshire Field Club had a trip to this interesting venue earlier this year, which was  a follow-up of Luke Winter speaking at the last HFC Archaeology Conference. We would like to do the same, and arrange a visit to the Centre next summer, where we shall be able to see the latest project (probably a timber-framed building) taking shape. The buildings on view are impressive reconstructions, and include some not on view at Butser, such as a curved-sided Viking longhouse which now serves to accommodate schoolchildren (and visitors) instead of warriors. The scientific background to the buildings and the demonstrated crafts will be explored in our May lecture  so they can be fully enjoyed when seen later in the year.