Avon Valley Archaeological Society (AVAS) kicked off the New Year with a fascinating members’ evening which showed off the depth of skills and techniques at the disposal of the society. The theme of the evening was to tell the story of a site survey, ranging from initial discovery and investigation through to finds recording, analysis and interpretation.
Chairman Mark had brought along his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a model aeroplane adapted to carry a digital camera. The associated display of aerial photographs taken from the plane showed the effectiveness of this method for locating archaeological sites. Mark has already identified a number of crop marks in the fields aroung his farm which warrant further investigation.
After locating sites through techniques such as aerial photography, the society has at its disposal a resistivity meter, one form of geophysical survey. Mike Gill kicked off the evening with a presentation on the capabilities of the equipment, and a discussion of how the equipment should be set up and used, and how the results can be processed and interpreted. The finale to the presentation was a live demonstration of the download and processing of readings from the machine into a visual plot. Display boards showed photographs of the equipment in action, as well as some recent results.
Two aspects of the post-excavation processing of finds were represented. Vanessa displayed a series of her fine drawings of the metal finds from an AVAS excavation near Fordingbridge. Meanwhile Steve Moody set up a fine display of Roman pottery from the same site, discussing the stages involved in recording the pottery. Steve is normally a flint specialist, and he could not resist sneaking a few wonderful flint hand axes into the display!
Thanks should also go to Mike Tizzard, from the Christchurch Antiquarians, who had put together a fascinating display of recent excavations of a medieval mill in Christchurch.
The evening was both interesting and informative, and served to underline the diverse range of activities that the society participates in to increase our understanding of sites in the Avon Valley. As ever, the above photos plus a few more are available on the AVAS Flickr Photostream.