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Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society
8:43am Tuesday 27th September 2011 in Reports
THE society resumed its winter lecture programme following the summer break with a talk by Andrew Manning, of Wessex Archaeology, on recent finds at Avon Fields housing development at the former MOD Durrington site on Salisbury Plain. Excavations within the north-west corner of the modern village of Durrington not far from the huge Neolithic henge known as Durrington Walls and Woodhenge, both of which are more than 4,500 years old, have revealed previously unknown Neolithic monuments, a surprisingly large Iron Age/Romano British settlement containing many archaeological features such as granaries, storage pits, a corn-drying kiln and a Roman road. A couple of sink holes that were discovered hint at something sacred or special about this site as there was evidence for a 'pavement' of flint knapping debris, including some finely worked flints, around the perimeters of the holes. The settlement appears to have been surrounded by an enormous ditch over 6m in width and up to 4m in depth. Excavations will continue next summer.
During this recent summer period members took part in excavations locally at Silchester and as far afield as Caerleon in Pembrokeshire and Hadrian’s Wall although it was disappointing that the planned dig at Basing House was cancelled.
In June some 15 members visited archaeological and historic sites in Pembrokeshire with Roman Caerleon and Caerwent, St David’s Cathedral and its Bishop’s Palace and a walk in the Preseli Hills to what is believed to be the quarry site of the Bluestones of Stonehenge, were among the highlights of what was a very successful (and mercifully rain-free) tour. The Society’s 40th anniversary conference (as reported elsewhere) took place at The Great Barn, Basing House, on Saturday, September 17, and was attended by more than 100 members. Guest speakers included Professor Michael Fulford, of Reading University, David Allen, of the Hampshire Museum Service, and Derek Spruce, formerly of the Open University.
The lecture programme continues at Church Cottage at 7.30 pm on Thursday, October 13, when the presentation ‘Recent Work at Marden Henge and the Neolithic Building’ will be given by Dr Jim Leary, of English Heritage. Non-members welcome admission £2.