Archway Project starts off new lectures programme

The Archway Project is the topic of the first in our new lectures programme. All talks start at 7:30 at BRLSI with an admission charge of £4 for members (on display of a current BACAS membership card), and £5 for the general public.

11 Oct – The Roman Baths Archway Project – -Peter Davenport

Peter is Senior Historic Buildings Consultant at Cotswold Archaeology and was formerly Senior Field Officer at Bath Archaeological Trust with responsibility for the Roman Baths Museum.

Earlier this year Cotswold Archaeology (CA), completed the latest phase of archaeological work for the Archway Project, in collaboration with BACAS. The construction of an impressive new heritage and learning centre will ultimately reveal to the wider public hitherto hidden parts of the Roman bathing complex at Bath.

The brief to Cotswold was challenging: to create a comprehensive record of each archaeological feature and to correlate all the existing records of the site. This has included a laser scan and photogrammetric model of the entire space. Other requirements included a geophysical survey, conducted by BACAS, a complete clean of the area by hand, emptying earlier archaeological trenches, modern drains and intrusions and, in February, twice-hourly public tours every day, including weekends. The photogrammetry is the most ambitious and detailed piece of 3D modelling CA have ever undertaken and resulted in over 11,000 photographs and the most detailed high resolution 3D models imaginable!

New discoveries include a fragment of mosaic on thethreshold of a previously unseen doorway (discovered by BACAS member, Fiona Medland no less!), and the discovery of a series of sand layers, suggesting a covered running track or exercise area.

8 Nov — Childrens’ remains – Paleopathology of children – Mary Lewis

Dr. Mary Lewis, Associate Professor at the University of Reading, has pioneered the study of child and adolescent remains and shown how answers on age and disease can often be identified in the young more accurately than for adults. She will be reviewing the techniques used for child bio- archaeology and how our understanding of subjects like diet, trauma and puberty has advanced in recent years.

13 Dec – Upton Cheney Excavations – Tony Roberts (Archeoscan)

The ‘Hanging Hill Excavations’ to the east of Upton Cheyney have been carried out as a training dig by Archeoscan since 2012 when a trial excavation verified the presence of some significant Roman buildings and material of high status.

Archeoscan is a private company founded by Tony Roberts, a former Air Traffic Controller, now a professional archaeologist specialising in providing opportunities for community involvement in all aspects of archaeology on several sites in the South Cotswolds area.
Tony will tell us the results of the most recent digging season and explain the findings. It has been suggested that this site may be associated with the Roman pewter works on Lansdown, which BACAS may investigate further in the future.

10 Jan – Mendip Mounds at Priddy – Jodie Lewis

Dr. Jodie Lewis is a Principal Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Worcester. She has been researching the prehistoric archaeology of Mendip for 20 years and has published extensively on this topic, including her 2011 monograph The Archaeology of Mendip; 500,000 years of continuity and change. Her talk will consider the results of her recent excavations in the parish of Priddy, which encompasses the Neolithic to post-medieval periods. The project has run since 2012 and has shed new light on the development and utilization of this upland landscape.

4 Feb — AGM – Members Projects

Details to be announced later.

14 Mar — Rev Skinner in the Bath area – Sophie Hawke

‘Excursions in the 1800s with Rev John Skinner: Rector and Antiquarian’
Rev John Skinner was appointed Rector of Camerton, Somerset in 1800. He was a keen antiquarian and a prolific writer, producing over 130 manuscript notebooks detailing accounts of his life as a clergyman and his numerous trips to archaeological sites at home and abroad.

Sophie Hawke will discuss her research into the life of Rev Skinner, a man often frustrated by his parishioners, and she will examine his manuscripts of visits to archaeological sites in Bath and the surrounding area, together with an evaluation of Skinner’s contribution to local archaeology.

Sophie Hawke is a long-standing member and former committee member of BACAS. She has also been a Trustee of Bradford on Avon Museum since 2005, during which time she studied Landscape Archaeology at University of Bristol. With the support of Bradford on Avon Museum and assistance from the Art Fund, Sophie has been researching Rev Skinner’s journals at the British Library.

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN.  Admission charge of £4 for members (on display of a current BACAS membership card), and £5 for the general public. Pay on the door.
Photo by Ad Meskens – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,