AVAS Lecture Series for 2015-16

The initial programme of talks in the AVAS 2015-16 lecture series has been announced on the meetings page on the main AVAS website.  Some talks later in the year are still to be confirmed, but the first few lectures look really interesting, spanning the Palaeolithic to the Hundred Years War.

Jane Ellis-Schön, Project Director of the Finding Pitt Rivers Project, will open the lecture series on 2nd September 2015.  She will  talk about cataloguing and researching the Pitt Rivers Wessex collection at Salisbury Museum.  The timing of this talk is particularly apposite given the start of the Foundations of Archaeology project, which celebrates the work of the pioneering archaeologists who first identified the rich upland archaeology of south Wiltshire and north east Dorset.  The latter project will be looking at two site excavated by Pitt Rivers:  Wor Barrow and Winklebury Hill.

Visitors are made very welcome at the AVAS lecture meetings, which are held in Ringwood on the first Wednesday of the month between September and May – see the meetings page on the main AVAS website for more details.

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Environment Agency LIDAR data to be freely available

I have just noticed the following announcement on the Environment Agency website:

From September 2015 all our LIDAR data will become Open Data and everyone will be able to use it for free.

LIDAR for Avebury

LIDAR for Avebury

This is on https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2015/06/16/free-mapping-data-will-elevate-flood-risk-knowledge/.  The page states that 72% of England now has LIDAR coverage,and the chances are that the Avon Valley and surrounding areas will be available.  This will be a fantastic resource for investigating the archaeology of our region.

Recently the New Forest made available images of hill shaded LIDAR data, accessed via an index map.  Although this is a very valuable set of data, it is difficult to integrate with other layers of data in a Geographical Information System (GIS), as it is not georeferenced.  The Environment Agency data will be georeferenced, and has the advantage of being raw data, allowing greater control over how the data is displayed, including the ability to exaggerate the data to make subtle features stand out more clearly.

I will post an update in September when I have downloaded some data.

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AVAS at Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology – Part 2

Following on from the previous post, AVAS had a second successful day last Sunday at the Festival of Archaeology at Salisbury Museum.

AVAS at Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology 2015There was once again a steady stream of visitors, with a number of people expressing an interest in joining AVAS. There were also some familiar faces dropping in to see us:

AVAS at Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology 2015

Jan drops in to see us

Mark and Rachel challenged Continue reading

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AVAS at Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology 2015

AVAS had a stand at the Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology today.  A few of us were up bright and early this morning to set up.  We had a few difficulties erecting the double gazebo after failing to locate the instructions.


Mark ponders while Vanessa points

However, we were soon setting out a quality display of finds and photos. 20150718_102343
20150718_101534 20150718_101557Our stand was sandwiched between a bunch of friendly Angle Saxons, and the crowd pulling Phil Harding of Time Team fame.

The event was really successful, and we had a steady stream of interested visitors to the stand.  We will be attending once again tomorrow.  There are a few more photos on the AVAS Flickr photostream.

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AVAS Barbeque July 2015

We had great weather on Saturday for the annual AVAS BBQ, once again hosted by Mark on the banks of the River Avon.


The food was fantastic (thanks to Vanessa, Rachel and family for preparing an array of tasty treats).


Thanks also to Mark for sorting out the barbeque and allowing us to use his farm as the venue. I have posted some more photos on the AVAS Flickr photostream.

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AVAS now on Facebook and Twitter

AVAS has finally succumbed to the power of social media, and now has a page on Facebook and an account on Twitter.


If you are a user of Facebook, simply go to http://www.facebook.com/avonvalleyarchsoc and ‘Like’ the page to receive Facebook updates.  AVAS members should let me (Mike) know if you wish to make posts on the page.


For any AVAS members on Twitter (hopefully more than just me!), the Twitter account is @AvonValleyArch and can be viewed in a web browser at:  http://twitter.com/AvonValleyArch

Our WordPress blog is now linked to both accounts, and posts to the blog should also appear on Facebook and Twitter (I hope!).

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Blog Stats: 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2014/15 Winter Meetings

The remaining meetings for the 2014 / 15 Winter meeting programme have just been added to the main AVAS website.  There is an interesting range of subjects, ranging from the Cerne Abbas Giant, through to Agincourt and the First World War.  To see the programme, please visit the meetings page on the main AVAS website.

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AVAS skittles night October 2014

AVAS members gathered last night at Godshill Village Hall for a very enjoyable skittles evening.  The children present immediately started practising knocking the skittles down.  A wonderful spread of food was laid out on the tables, comprising a ploughman’s meal with lots of extras, and a tempting array of sweats and desserts.  Many thanks to Vanessa and Rachel and family for preparing the food.

After eating far too much, two teams were drawn up on the blackboard, and the competition began.  The teams showed a diverse range of styles, as shown below.


Trevor gets ready to strike


Nigel with a smooth style

Continue reading

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Geophysics – large enclosure – September 2014

A team of AVAS members met early(ish) on Sunday morning to survey a large cropmark near Fordingbridge.  This is in the same field as the previously surveyed oval barrow.  Here is an aerial photo of the cropmark, with the 20m square we chose to survey highlighted in yellow.  The crop mark continues below the area shown on the photograph, and appears to be closed off by a terminal ditch, forming a large enclosure.

Enclosure cropmark near Fordingbridge

One of the problems with this cropmark was trying to locate its actual position on the ground.  GPS on our phones came to the rescue, allowing us to roughly position the square to within a few metres.  The yellow square above is actually a GPS track, hence the sides not being completely straight due to the slight Continue reading

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