Monday, 20 October 2008

Did the Romans do anything for Calne?

Latest results from the 'Seeking Roman Calne' project tell us that the Romans were certainly here and had come to stay.  Mapping find spots to date reveals that the main focus of their interest lay to the west of the present town centre, close by the native British Iron Age settlement  discovered in 2000, thanks to developers building to the east of the Northern By Pass.


Archaeology has a way of answering the first set of questions by posing a whole new set .

How much influence on their neighbours' way of life the new-comers may have had remains to be seen from a close study of the Iron Age finds and those to be brought in to the project.


The master map with the already recorded Roman finds marked in red will be on view together with some of the finds on Tuesday 28 October 2008 at the Finds Day to be held in the Calne Heritage Centre from 10am to 4pm.  Other patterns in red cluster around the present day A4 from Chilvester Hill to the west and north.  Still others lie to the south and west and along the Roman road between Calne and Heddington.


Among the experts identifying items brought in by the public will be Katie Hinds, Wiltshire's own Finds Liaison Officer from the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Mike Stone,  Curator of Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, well-known for his lectures on the History of Calne.  Further opportunities to have finds assessed will be from 6 to 9pm on Monday 10 November and on Saturday 22 November from 10am to 4pm.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

First Roman find!

The highlight of the Open Evening (apart from Mike Stone's talk) was that we had our first finds brought in, from the area near the church. Amongst the sherds of pottery were two small pieces of late medieval pottery, from the kiln at Nash Hill, dating from the 14th century. A rather unlikely small piece of metal turned out to be a corroded fragment of a late Roman coin! It was just possible to make out the ear and part of the hair of the Emperor, not enough to be certain of which one! But it is probably a 'radiate' coin - and some good examples are shown on this page from the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The photo shows the finder, with Wendy Smith of the Archaeology Field Group, and Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger, the County Archaeologist from Wiltshire County Council.

Open Evening - great success!!!

The Open evening last week was a great success. We counted 47 people that attended (apart from speakers etc) - we were dreading only a handful turning up. After the introductions, David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum at Devizes gave an overview of the project. He explained how people are being asked to bring a selection of finds from their back gardens to the Calne Heritage Centre on open days and evenings. The finds will then be identified and returned to the finder, and we will explain what has been found. If we find evidence of Roman or other archaeological evidence, then these will be plotted on a map. This will give the evidence to start to identify 'hot spots' that might indicate where there might be Roman settlement. The project will be working with local schools, and might begin to do some more archaeological work - particularly field-walking, and possibly using some 'geofizz' equipment, as we have all seen on Time Team!

Mike Stone of Chippenham Museum gave more background on the type of project, explaining how he had undertaken a similar project in Chippenham, which provided evidence of Roman settlement. he gave an overview of Roman settlement in the area, and talked about some of the things that people might expect to find.

This was followed by a chance to look at the pottery that people might well find, a good opportunity to 'get your eye in' and to start spot the difference between genuine flowerpot and Roman pottery!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The hunt is on ...

The project began at the Party in the Park on Saturday! Over 150 people came to visit the stand, and we handed out information about the Open Evening on 24th September, along with bags for people to fill with pottery from their back gardens.

Lots of people were interested to hear about the project - including both the Mayor and the Carnival Queen! They both had a go at striking a Roman coin!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Open Meeting

On Wednesday 24th September, there will be an Open Meeting at Calne Heritage Centre at 7pm to launch the project. Speakers will include, David Dawson, Director WANHS and Mike Stone, Curator of Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, and we look forward to welcoming lots of people!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Seeking Roman Calne logo

The project logo is taken from a large mosaic fragment with geometric border and showing a dog running past a tree. The mosaic was excavated at Cherhill,near Calne.