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Sad news

March 26, 2018

Many members will remember Jon Wimhurst who joined the Society in 1993. Jon has been suffering from heart problems over the last year, and sadly passed away this morning at the Lister Hospital.

Jon was for many years one of our active diggers, joining Tony on many excavations.  More recently, he was one of the Society’s members who helped with the geophysical surveys at Verulamium, Ashwell End and other sites.

Jon studied at Imperial, and then worked for British Aerospace.  He moved into his cottage in Bassus Green, near Walkern, in the 1960s.  Since he retired, he was active in the Workers Educational Association, organising many of their courses, as well as his work with WAS and CAGG.  He will be much missed.

Jon had no immediate family, and we are unsure what arrangements had been made.  We will let members know when we have any further information.

Jon at the WAS Christmas Party.



Film night (and BTW its our AGM…)

March 15, 2018

This Friday sees the WAS film night.  Members of UCL’s Filming Antiquity project will be showing two silent movies from the 1950s of excavations at Verulamium.  The first shows the lifting and conservation of a mosaic, and the second the excavation and story of the timber buildings in Insula XIV.  These films have recently been digitised and this is the first time they have been shown publicly for many years.

The AGM will precede the films and should be quite short.

Cancelled meeting 2nd March 2018

February 28, 2018

Due to the uncertain weather conditions we have decided to cancel the meeting on Friday 2nd March.  We will try and rebook the meeting for later in the year, hopefully in April or early May.

The Roman Archaeology of the Nene Valley

February 19, 2018

The penultimate lecture of the Society’s Autumn / Winter programme is by Dr Stephen Upex on The Roman Archaeology of the Nene Valley.  Stephen teaches at Maddingley Hall, Cambridge, and is author of The Romans in the East of England: Settlement and Landscape in the Lower Nene Valley, the most recent and up-to-date work on the area but sadly out-of-print and almost impossible to buy second-hand for a sane price.  Stephen is planning a new campaign of fieldwork on this very important region of the Roman province.

Julius Caesar in Britain

February 7, 2018

Our next lecture is by Andrew Fitzpatrick is entitled Julius Caesar in Britain.  Andrew has been working on a project to assess the impact of Julius Caesar’s invasions of 55 and 54BC.  His research throws doubt on the oft-repeated role of Wheathampstead in the conflict, but does propose some fascinating alternatives.

All welcome.  WAS members free, visitors £3.  Meeting starts at 7.45 at the United Reformed Church hall Welwyn Garden City (opposite Sainsbury’s in the town centre).

Underground graffiti on the Western Front

January 24, 2018

Our next talk on February 2nd is quite a contrast from the previous one as we move from deep prehistory to the archaeology of modern conflict.  These monuments in miniature are generally inaccessible, carved into the walls of tunnels under the western front.  They vary from formal regimental badges to more entertaining images!

English Channel Neanderthals

December 17, 2017

Our first lecture of 2018 will be held on Friday 19th January at 7.45pm, United Reform Church, Welwyn Garden City. Dr Matt Pope will be talking about his research on the palaeolithic archaeology of Jersey.  Those of you who have heard Matt speak previously will know the enthusiasm he brings to his talks.  It should be an excellent evening.

Christmas Party

December 3, 2017

The 42nd WAS Christmas Party at 23, Mill Lane, Welwyn will be held on December 16th at 8pm.  The first party at Mill Lane was held on the 24th January 1976.   Cost is £7. Please Kris, Claire or Ellen know if you wish to come.  The cost includes drink (wine or soft drinks) and a wide variety of nibbles.

23 Mill Lane is one of the oldest houses in Welwyn, recently dendro dated to 1475.


Tony Rook has lived at 23 Mill Lane since 1975.

23 Mill Lane, Welwyn.

Medieval Wheathampstead

November 26, 2017

Our next lecture, and the last for 2017, is by Mike Smith on Exploring the Medieval Manor of Wheathampstead.  Mike is a member of our sister organisation, the Wheathampstead History Society, as well as an active member of the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group.  Mike’s research combines historical, place name and map evidence to reconstruct the Manor of Wheathampstead, which was owned by Westminster Abbey.

Tickets for our Christmas party will also be on sale.  The party will be at 23 Mill Lane, Welwyn on the 16th December, and the tickets cost £7.

Ancient Egypt, Israel and the Bible. Faith and the archaeological evidence

November 3, 2017

Our next talk is by Peter Clayton on November 17th, 7.45pm at the United Reformed Church, Welwyn Garden City.  Peter was formally Honorary President of the Society until he stepped down with the suggestion that Tony Rook should be elected to that role.  Peter is also chair of the Berkhamsted and District Archaeological Society, and served on the Treasure Committee for many years.  This is the 26th lecture that Peter has given to the Society, a total that surely can only be exceeded by Tony, and only then if we include his yearly reports as Director.  This will be a fascinating lecture so be sure not to miss it.

As always, if anyone is able to put up posters for the talk, please contact me for a PDF file or hard copies.

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