Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sunday 17th November, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Pirton Bury Trust is seeking volunteers to join a work party cutting and clearing brambles and undergrowth on the top of Toot Hill, the motte of the 12th century earthwork castle. This is being done as part of an agreement between English Heritage and the Trust which manages this Scheduled Monument. Here is an opportunity to help conserve the remains of Pirton’s medieval castle keep which is rich in birds and other wildlife, and maintain access and enjoyment for the public.

Please bring your own tools, and wear suitable clothing and stout footwear. Meet at Toot Hill on the Bury by St. Mary’s Church at 9.30am. If you’d like to assist, contact gilburleigh or 01462 713654.

Thanks to committee member, Brian, for spotting the undeliberate mistake – not 2014, but 2013, next month!

Thursday 14th November 2013: Recent Excavations at Trumpington, Cambridge: a multi-period site from the Neolithic onwards, including the discovery of a rare Anglo-Saxon bed burial with gold cross, by Alison Dickins, Senior Archaeological Manager, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge. British Schools Museum, Queen Street, Hitchin, 8pm.

Thursday 14th November 2014: Recent Excavations at Trumpington, Cambridge: a multi-period site from the Neolithic onwards, including the discovery of a rare Anglo-Saxon bed burial with gold cross, by Alison Dickins, Senior Archaeological Manager, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge. British Schools Museum, Queen Street, Hitchin, 8pm.

Thursday 24th October: Professor Mike Parker Pearson, University College, London, Institute of Archaeology, will give a lecture on ‘Prehistoric Henges, Stonehenge, and Norton Henge’ at the Spirella Ballroom, Spirella Building, Bridge Road, Letchworth Garden City, 7 for 7.30pm. Organised by Norton Community Archaeology Group. To book your free tickets, contact philthomas-ncag

Monday 11th November: our very own, Mark Stevenson, kindly sent me the following information and link:

11/11/2013 – Venice in Peril – ‘Flying Lions and Marble Marvels’, a talk about the Venice in Peril Fund by its Chairman, Jonathan Keates, at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 6.30 for 7pm, entry by ticket only, with reception afterwards included in the price, £25.

Monday 25th November, 4pm: NHAS committee member, Lesley Blundell, kindly contacted me regarding a presentation by Drs. Kris Lockyear and Ellen Shasko, on their Hertfordshire Geophysical Surveys of Iron Age and Roman sites:

“Hi Gil

I guess Kris Lockyear might already have told you about this, but in
case he has not it might be of interest to NHAS members to know that he and Ellen Shasko will be giving one of the Institute of Archaeology
research seminars on 25th November at 4.00pm in room 612 of the
Institute of Archaeology. These are open to the public and the topic is
‘Community archaeology, geophysics and the Roman settlements of
Hertfordshire’ so I guess he’ll be talking about sites in which some of
our members have been involved.

Details of this and the other seminars in the series are available at



For Kris and Ellen and their volunteers’ recent geophysical survey results from Ashwell End (Bluegates Farm), and elsewhere (Braughing, Verulamium, Watton-at-Stone), to date, check out:

Friday 29th November: ‘The Story of our Village: Pirton’, NHAS and Pirton Local History Group members, Georgina Brakenbury and Helen Hofton, reporting on a University of Cambridge-backed project that they have been conducting for the past year, recording a selection of historic houses and their archaeology. 7.30pm at Methodist Chapel, High St, Pirton. Details from helen_hofton

December, date and venue to be arranged: Members evening with cheese & wine, etc. We need a volunteer to give a short presentation on a subject of interest to members?

January, date and venue to be arranged: ‘Norton Henge and the Prehistory of the Baldock Basin – new views’, by Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, NHDC Archaeology Officer.

February, date and venue to be arranged: ‘Community archaeology, geophysics and the Roman settlements of Hertfordshire’, by Drs. Kris Lockyear and Ellen Shasko, Institute of Archaeology, University of London. Here’s another chance to hear about this important project if you can’t get to London in November, and it’ll bring their survey results up to date.


The British Museum –

Beyond El Dorado
power and gold
in ancient Colombia

Organised with Museo del Oro

17 October 2013 – 23 March 2014

Book online

BM Members free/Open late Fridays

If you’re interested in news of the latest discoveries from around the world, visit this website:

Heritage Daily – Latest Archaeology News and Archaeological Press Releases

Egyptology, Aztecs, Ancient History, Anthropology, Incas, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, etc.


Our President, Francis Pryor, has sent me this great news about the publication of his thriller/detective novel:


Dear Gilbert

Pitch video screenshot

HOORAY! We’ve done it. The Lifers’ Club has reached its minimum target and will now certainly be published. In the meantime I and those clever folks at Unbound have got several things to do: designing, editing and producing the book. To find out what we’re all up to you can visit my Shed at the Unbound website (and they’re going to teach me how to update it all by myself!!!).

All this is going to take time, and while we’re doing it we’ll still be able to enlist any further subscribers here. If you’d like to increase your current pledge level to include further goodies, then please do so by clicking on the upgrade options, listed below your current pledge level here. All new names will, of course, be listed in the back of the book until we close the subscribers’ list to move onto the next step.

I’m now a convert to crowd-funding. Never before have I established such a strong link with my readership as I have with this project – and the book hasn’t even been printed! Later I’ll be appearing at book festivals and book-signings and I VERY much hope we’ll be able to meet in person, if I don’t know you already. I’ll be publishing full contact details in my Shed.

Thank you so much for backing The Lifers’ Club. And I hope it gives you at least one sleepless night…

All the best,


Follow Unbound on Twitter

Friend Unbound on Facebook


2013/14 Subscriptions became due on 1st June 2013. Please renew now. The Society cannot continue to function without all members’ subscriptions. In particular, lecturers fees and expenses and hall hire have to come from subscriptions. Lack of sufficient income from subscriptions may result in fewer lectures. It’s up to us members.

Outstanding subscriptions may be paid in person at any meeting when membership cards can usually be issued also. Otherwise subscription cheques may be posted to Diane Burleigh, NHAS, 10 Cromwell Way, Pirton, Hitchin, Herts SG5 3RD.

Adult £15, Family £20, Concessions (over 65, under 16), £8.

Subscriptions for 2014/15 onwards were raised by a vote at the AGM last May. As from

1st June 2014: Adult £19, Family £24, Concessions £10

Non-members are welcome at any of our meetings. There will be a charge of £3 for entry.

Please renew your subscription otherwise you may be removed from our membership and circulation lists.

Thank you.

Dear Members and Friends,

Kath Welch (1927-2013)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of our very long-standing Member, Kath Welch. Kath and her husband, Roy (died 2009), were loyal members of the North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society from its earliest days, joining at the beginning of the 1960s. For several decades they were amongst our most active and dedicated members, taking part in all fieldwork and other activities, and serving for many years as keen Committee members.

They enthusiastically volunteered on our excavations at Blackhorse Road and Wilbury during the 1960s; Jack’s Hill, Coombe Bottom and the Mile Ditches in the 1970s; and Baldock in the 1980s, to give just a few examples. I believe their last dig was with Heritage Network at the rear of the Fox, Pirton, in 1995. They were regular and interested visitors to the Senuna excavations in Ashwell, 2003-2006. Over that period of 30 plus years, when volunteers were being sought, Kath and Roy were always amongst the most reliable and hard-working. In later years, when their energies were not perhaps what they once were, we could always count on them to help out with practicalities at meetings, such as setting out chairs, serving tea and coffee, and washing-up. They were invaluable.

From this you gather that Kath and Roy came as a team. They were inseparable, having married in 1945. Some years ago, the Society made them both Honorary Members in recognition of their long service and loyalty.

One of the most endearing things about Kath, like Roy, was her quick sense of humour. They could always see the funny side ofany situation. Their innocent humour enlivened many a day’s digging, fieldwalking, potwashing, or outing, and caused both us and them to have a good chuckle as they kept us all amused. They were an excellent tonic for team spirit, for instance, when the digging got difficult or the weather was wet, cold or otherwise inclement. We shall miss her humour, down-to-earth common sense, and kindness, very much indeed.

After Roy died in 2009, Kath continued to live in Sish Lane, Stevenage, in their home since 1947.

Kath died on Wednesday 2nd October and her funeral will be held this Wednesday 16th October in Stevenage (details below). Kath was 86. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go to her family at their sad and great loss.

Kath digging on the Mile Ditches, near Royston, March 1978

Kath at The Tene, Baldock, April 1978