Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

BAAS Bulletin No. 82 Autumn 2018

ISSN 1751 – 7060


Formerly Bristol & Avon Archaeological Research Group, Registered Charity No. 229317

 BAAS Website:

If you have queries about BAAS events or activities please contact the following:

Keith Stenner (Hon. Programme Secretary) 01275 541512  [email protected]

Julie Bassett (Hon. Membership Secretary) 07749 822508 [email protected]

James Russell (Hon. Treasurer) [email protected]

Rob Iles (Secretary) 0793 0510 373 [email protected]



It is proposed to hold a short EGM immediately before the lecture on 10 October.  The purpose is to briefly discuss and agree (or otherwise) the following changes (see italics below) to BAAS Rules, as proposed by BAAS Committee:

Rule 6.  SUBSCRIPTIONS – Replace and simplify existing section with:

Annual subscriptions (including standing orders) shall be payable in advance on 1 January with the following categories of membership (with proposed new rates for 2019 in brackets):

 – Individuals (£10)

– Couples, each having full rights but sharing publications (£15)

– Institutions (£20)

 Membership shall automatically lapse on 31 December for which a subscription was due after at least one reminder has been given to the member.  The subscription of a new member joining after 30 September shall cover the following year as well as the rest of the current year but shall be at the rate applicable on 1 January the following yearFrom time to time the Committee can review and raise subscription rates.

 Rule 2.  OBJECTS – This rule stays same but order changes thus:

c (lectures and events etc) becomes a (research etc), and a becomes c

 Rule 9b.  USE OF FUNDS – Delete “audited” and replace with “examined”

 Rule 11b.  GENERAL MEETINGS – Line 1:  change “and” to “or”

 Rule 14.  ALTERATION OF RULES – Line 3: change “14 days” to “28 days”

 Copies of the current Rules can be seen on this website (see above, below title).




Talks usually take place on the second Wednesday of the month in the APOSTLE ROOM, CLIFTON CATHEDRAL, PEMBROKE ROAD, CLIFTON, BRISTOL, BS8 3BX starting at 7.30pm and finishing around 9.30pm.  Tea and coffee and biscuits are freely available from 7.00 pm and again after the talk.  Ample car parking is available in the Cathedral car park, entrance from Worcester Road off Pembroke Road.  The 8 and 9 buses both run along Pembroke Road.  The entrance to the Apostle Room is on the same level as the car park, under the main part of the Cathedral.  Guests are welcome at a charge of £1.00 per meeting (no charge for members).

WEDNESDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2018:  Cai Mason, Wessex Archaeology. BATH QUAYS WATERSIDE:  the archaeology of urbanisation, industry and the poor in an 18th Century Spa Town.

Illustrated talk by Cai Mason, Senior Project Officer, Wessex Archaeology.An insight into the results from excavations at Bath Quays and an explanation of how John Strahan’s plans for an elegant suburb for the wealthy turned into one of Bath’s notorious slums.


WEDNESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2018;   Dr. Nick Corcos, Landscape Historian.    

THE CAT AND THE COFFINS: excavations within St. George’s graveyard, Brandon Hill, Bristol, 2016.

An illustrated talk by Dr Nick Corcos, on the excavation and post-excavation account of the mid-19C burials found on the site.  Post excavation work will be ongoing at the time of the talk so the presentation will be very much a report on work in progress.  See also note above about EGM.


WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2018:  Ben Ford, Oxford Archaeology.


An illustrated talk by Ben Ford, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology.  Finzel’s Reach sat within the northwards loop of the River Avon and upstream of Bristol Bridge. The majority of archaeological evidence falls within the period from the mid-twelfth century to the mid-sixteenth century.  More fragmentary archaeological evidence came from the post-medieval period although more documentary records survive and benefit from cartographic affirmation.  For the last three hundred years the site was famous for its sugar refining and brewing activities.


WEDNESDAY 12 DECEMBER 2018      CHRISTMAS PARTY:  Full details will be made available later but the evening will include festive food and drinks, our traditional quiz and a number of short talks/updates given by Committee members.


WEDNESDAY 9 JANUARY 2019:  Kurt Adams, Finds Liaison Officer


An illustrated talk by Kurt Adams, Gloucestershire and Avon Finds Liaison Officer.  From Saxon princes to Roman Dog Hoards in recent years some truly amazing items have been discovered in our region that have either shed new light on old questions or raised new questions yet to be answered.  Kurt will examine new finds and look at how the continuing research into these objects has unveiled new archaeological sites and led to a greater understanding of the area.


WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2019          

LESLIE GRINSELL MEMORIAL LECTURE:  HISTORY, PAGANISM AND FOLKLORE:  an examination of the folklore collecting movement of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras.

A talk by Professor Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol.


WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 2019    AGM followed by a talk by James Russell “A Retrospective of Forty Years on the BAAS COMMITTEE”.


WEDNESDAY 10 APRIL 2019  ROMAN ROADS (PART TWO) Bev Knott, BAAS Committee Member.

An illustrated talk by Bev Knott extending his presentation given last year and reflecting new research derived from the ongoing North Somerset Project.  Initially Bev will provide focus on road connections between settlements, villas, religious foundations and industrial sites such as lead, iron and salt works. Later in the talk the commercial and leisure use of roads in the wider Roman world will be considered and comparisons drawn with developing road systems in 18th century England (see note below).



The idea is to investigate the transport connections between communities and economic activities, especially via roads.  Not the long-distance strategic roads such as the Fosseway, but the equivalent of modern B and minor A roads.  No routes for legionaries to march up and down; there was no military presence here after the initial conquest period since all forts were decommissioned by the 80s A.D., but there were local industries such as salt production, lead mining, iron working, stone quarrying, pottery making, and of course agriculture.  There were also settlements, villas and farmsteads.

Using the historic environment records kindly provided for us by Cat Lodge, Archaeological Officer for North Somerset Council and aerial photos and Lidar from Vince Russet, Cat’s predecessor, we have begun to investigate some of the possibilities in the area.

Possible roads:

  1. Broad Down via Iwood Manor which may well lead to the important small town at Winthill near Banwell.
  2. Nempnett church to Regil village Which could be aiming for the complex site at Gatcombe, West of Long Ashton.
  3. Charterhouse lead mine settlement via Winthill/Banwell to the Uphill area where Cat Informs us that a probable trading settlement has recently been found.


NORTH SOMERSET UPDATE by Cat Lodge Heritage Forum

We held the second Heritage Forum at Nailsea Tithe Barn on 15th June and it was a great success, with 16 local groups represented.  Discussions took place around Know Your Place, heritage promotion, training opportunities and national heritage events, as well as regional research frameworks, current projects and enhancement of the Historic Environment Record.

These forums will be taking place every six months, in different locations across the district, highlighting the rich and varied heritage that North Somerset has to offer. If you are a member of a local history, archaeology or heritage interest group and would like to attend future events, please contact the heritage officers at [email protected]

Barrow Gurney Conservation Area

North Somerset Council has designated a new conservation area, centred on the core of the historic estate village of Barrow Gurney.  This was achieved through close collaboration with local residents and the Parish Council.  A conservation area appraisal has also been created as part of the process and will be able to view on the North Somerset Council’s website shortly.

Worlebury Hillfort Project

Work is still continuing on the Worlebury Hillfort project in Weston-super-Mare. The archaeological condition survey of the scheduled monument is complete and the report will now inform the management plan which is currently being created.  The main risks and threats to the hillfort have been identified as trees and vegetation, vandalism (including fly tipping and fire settings), and erosion.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of instances of illegal fires in different locations across the hillfort and we would like to remind visitors that this is a criminal office under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.  We are working to prevent further fires in order to help preserve the hillfort for the enjoyment of future generations and ensure we can learn from the monument.

We would again like to extend our thanks for the Worlebury Hillfort Group who volunteers clearing scrub and small trees.  They have opened up a new area which has uncovered even more of the stone-lined Iron Age pits.

Weston Then and Now exhibition

As part of the Great Weston Heritage Action Zone project, a new exhibition has been unveiled at Tiffany’s Restaurant at the Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare.  The exhibition shows a selection of recent images taken by Historic England next to historic images of Weston.

For more information on the Great Weston HAZ, please see Historic England’s website:




Temple Cloud:  on a hill top near Temple Cloud members of Bath & Counties Archaeological Society (BACAS) led by Fiona Medland are attempting to carry out a geophysical survey of a parch mark consisting of two conjoined rectangles around 20 metres square.  A Roman temple site is one possibility given the location. Work is however currently adversely affected by the hot dry weather, which is making it difficult to obtain readings in the rock hard soil. The survey has now had to be temporarily suspended to allow cattle to graze in the survey area.

Saltford:  during October members of BACAS, in collaboration with the Saltford Environmental Group (SEG) are planning an excavation on the site of a probable Romano British farmstead near Saltford.  A stone coffin containing the skeleton of a young man was found here in 1948, and geophysics in 2015-16 identified potential structural remains, including possible roundhouses. BACAS is looking for around a dozen volunteers for the project, which is planned for the first week of October.


As part of its ambitious “Footprint” project, Bath Abbey has assembled a team of volunteers to record the 891 ledger stones paving the nave floor, exposed by the removal of the pews installed in the 1860’s. Dating mainly from the 18th century the inscriptions on the stones provide a mass of valuable biographical and historical information concerning Bath residents and visitors.  Many of the stones will need to be relaid and repaired after recording as they are in danger of collapsing into the vaults and graves beneath.  It should be noted that the clearance of the pews has not gone unchallenged; the Victorian Society in particular has waged a prolonged but ultimately unsuccessful campaign for their retention as an integral part of Sir George Gilbert Scott ‘s mid 19th century restoration.


Thanks to funding from the Friends of Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives, Bristol City Museum has purchased a silver halfpenny of Edward IV (1461-83) produced in the Bristol Mint.  Though not in particularly good condition the coin is something of a rarity, and forms a valuable addition to the Museum’s fine collection of Bristol Mint coins.


The latest Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (Vol 135 for 2017) includes a full report by Neil Holbrook and others on Cotswold Archaeology’s 2014 excavation of a sub rectangular Romano British agricultural enclosure at Brimsham Park, Yate.  Although finds included an Iron Age La Tene style brooch, the enclosure itself seems to have been established after the Roman Conquest.  There was an unusual quantity of 1st century fine wares, including Samian.  The enclosure ditches seem to have begun to silt up in the 3rd century, but the site remained in occupation until the end of the Roman period.  The interior of the enclosure was largely featureless except for the vestigial remains of a possible late Roman building and a single child burial.


Cotswold Archaeology has recently carried out excavations on the site of the new University of West of England sports complex at Hillside Gardens, Frenchay.  Part of a small Romano British farmstead have been found; a curving ditch, possibly part of a round house, was traced, while finds included a substantial quantity of 1st – 4th century pottery, a quern stone, a glass bead, a shale bracelet and two 4th century coins.  Sherds of Bronze and Iron Age pottery were also found.  Some of this material was on show at the “Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology” event at Blaise Castle House on 28 July.


HERITAGE OPEN DAYS Redcliff Quarter Archaeological Open Day, Saturday 15th September 10-4pm, Redcliff Street, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6LP.

Discover and learn about Cotswold Archaeology and Oxford Archaeology’s latest discoveries as part of the ongoing excavations in Redcliffe, Bristol.  Come and see our archaeologists in action and hear more about the history of the site.  The excavations form part of the Redcliff Quarter development, a major regeneration scheme in this area.  So far we have discovered medieval and post-medieval buildings, along with evidence of leather working and cloth dyeing.  Free guided tours around the Redcliff Quarter site will run throughout the day.  Don’t forget to visit our pop-up exhibition, running from Friday 14th through to Sunday 16th September at St Mary Redcliffe Church.  Showcasing further information about the excavations, there will be the chance to handle finds from site and have a go at being an archaeologist yourself.  Activities for children will also include dressing up and making your own medieval soap. To keep up to date with the project, and for details about the pop-up exhibition, visit

Emily Taylor, Heritage Consultant & Community Engagement Co-ordinator, Cotswold Archaeology.


For other events associated with Heritage Open Days in BAAS area for September see:


South Gloucestershire

Bath and NE Somerset:

North Somerset

South West England




CHAIRMAN: Bill Martin   VICE CHAIRMAN: Mike Gwyther
SECRETARY: Rob Iles    TREASURER: James Russell


WEBSITE CO-ORDINATOR: Paula Gardiner    EDITOR BAA: Bruce Williams


COMMITTEE:  Bev Knott, Wendy Russ, Kate Churchill, Nick Corcos, Stephen Hastings
CO-OPTED:  Peter Insole, Debbie Brookes,

Do keep an eye on the website!  If you have forgotten the Members password contact Julie Bassett (see title page for email address).  Also, if you are not receiving email communications but would like to, could you send Julie your email address? (Contact details at the start of the Bulletin).

Annual subscriptions are due on the first of January 2019.

This edition of the Bulletin was brought together by BAAS Secretary, Rob Iles.