FoA at the Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology

The Foundations of Archaeology Project was present once again at the annual Salisbury Museum Festival of Archaeology weekend (22 to 23 September), thanks to the contribution of our volunteers.



If  the FoA Project is now coming to an end, continuity was ensured at the FoA stand by the presence of the forthcoming Landscape Partnership, which will also have an archaeological element. The Festival presents a unique opportunity for our volunteers to be aware of other archaeological work in the area and, in the case of a test pit dug in the front lawn of the museum by Phil Harding during the festival itself, how rewarding digging a test pit can be. The exhibition currently being shown at the museum:  British Art: Ancient Landscapes provided a valuable insight into the way that both British artists and our ‘founders of archaeology’ were emerging from a long period where our monuments were considered neither of historic or artistic interest. In the same way as antiquarians such as Colt Hoare initially preferred the antiquities of the ‘Grand Tour’ to our own ‘barbaric’ remains so artists, before Turner and Constable, preferred depicting classical ruins, with shepherds in the foreground, to similar scenes on the Wiltshire downs. As a legacy of the FoA Project, our panels on display at the Festival are being retained by Salisbury Museum to be exhibited shortly in the Wessex gallery.


Foundations of Archaeology @ the Chalke Valley History Festival July 2017

To the slightly incongruous but very interesting sound track of a Hurricane fighter, a Blenheim bomber and a nearby World War 1 ‘trench experience’, the Foundations of Archaeology Project maintained a presence throughout the week at the Chalke Valley History Festival, between 26 June and 2 July 2017. In an increasingly diverse festival the FoA Project this year shared a marquee with the Cranborne Chase AONB – the first time the AONB has been represented at the Festival.


Aided by project volunteers, The FoA Project was able to man a static display over several days – two of the days were reserved for schools. All this was considerably aided by the presence of a time-travelling General Pitt Rivers who had not exactly returned from the grave (he was one of the first people in the UK to be cremated) but nevertheless was able to captivate young and old alike in his resurgent self, frequently pointing south with an authoritative gesture towards the Rushmore estate which lies not far to the South. The General appeared at the ‘pop up’ talks by the NAAFI tent in the middle of the festival ground as well as to more intimate gatherings in the region of the AONB marquee.

The General, as he preferred to be informally known, also appeared at a workshop morning, where together with geophysicists from Winchester university, a flint knapper and a human remains specialist he helped provide rotating hands-on sessions for four groups of participants. The ground for these sessions was prepared by a talk by Martin Green, describing the archaeology of the Cranborne Chase, using the excavations on his farm as examples.


FoA @ the Chalke Valley History Festival


Discover the exciting story of the prehistoric archaeology of the Cranborne Chase, including ancient burial mounds, enigmatic processional pathways and the transformation of the landscape by our farming ancestors. You will be led on this journey by local archaeologist and landowner Martin Green, who has dedicated the last 50 years to uncovering the fascinating story of this landscape. The morning will also explore the legacy of the 18th and 19th century pioneers of archaeology who first delved into the areas secrets. This will be followed by practical workshops exploring the modern archaeological techniques, including geophysics, helping archaeologists shed new light on the archaeology of the Cranborne Chase.

Limited places available.

Book by visiting – https://programme.cvhf.org.uk/?date=2017-07-01

Foundations of Archaeology Conference – Saturday 6 May Celebrating the past in the present

Almost a hundred people gathered for the first Foundations of Archaeology Project Conference, held in Dinton Village hall. The list of speakers echoed the partnerships and links the project has established in the last two years: two museums – Salisbury Museum and the Wiltshire Museum (Devizes) represented by their respective directors, Adrian Green and David Dawson; two universities – Winchester and Southampton represented by David Ashby and Mike Allen; the National Trust (Martin Papworth), and not forgetting, of course, Martin Green, a one man archaeological institution representing a museum, a farm, a landscape and an on-site educational resource.

The programme for the day replicated the organisation of the project: the morning being devoted to the ongoing work of the project and the afternoon celebrating the ‘founders’ of archaeology’ in whose footsteps the project has been walking – the “shoulders of giants” as one speaker put it.

Conference participants were surprised by an appearance, in person, of one of the ‘founders of archaeology’, in the shape of General Pitt-Rivers – who seemed neither insubstantial nor an apparition and was in characteristic attacking form, defending his contribution to scientific archaeology.

Although the FoA project is reaching its final months, Emma Rouse was able to announce the good progress of applications for further Heritage Lottery Fund funding – the Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape Partnership.

Foundations of Archaeology Conference Saturday 6th May 2017


Conference extract.jpg

This one day conference will explore the present day legacy of Pitt-Rivers, Colt Hoare and William Cunnington and examine the new archaeological research and fieldwork
which is shedding fresh light on the sites they examined.

TICKET PRICE £18 per person if booked before 31st March 2017 and £23 after. All tickets include Refreshments & Lunch.

Download the foundations-of-archaeology-conference-flyer-6th-may-2017

Upcoming events in November/December 2016

We have been maintaining radio silence for a few weeks but we now have a number of activities to announce in the run-up to Xmas, including a third attempt to do some clearance at the Wor barrow and something altogether more festive.

However, this email will confine itself to two walks: Woodcutts on Saturday 26 November (Romano-British settlement within Rushmore, excavated by the General 1884-5) and Iron Age Chiselbury on Tuesday 6 December (Nr Fovant and and for all lovers of ramparts, cross-dykes and other intruiging  features).

As usual please let me know if you can attend and we will give you meeting details, etc. closer to the time. Neither visit attracts a charge and they will both be morning only – we may need to keep moving!