We have not been together since February 2020. Heavens. Times, however, will be a-’changing!

Thank you to everyone who responded to the Committee’s letter about the future of the Society. You all seem reasonably happy with what we thought we could offer, for a while longer anyway. The result is below….

Thursday 4 May 2023:

12.30pm Lunchtime get together, with lunch at the Lucas Room, Hitchin Town Hall

There will be a talk, and an opportunity to look around the Museum. RSVP by 28th April.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

8pm. Annual General Meeting at the Letchworth Free Church, Gernon Road.

Annual report (s); Financial Report; Update from Gil Burleigh on work in North Herts since Spring 2020; Cheese and Wine

Summer: Annual Field Trip

Liz Hunter is investigating Colchester


Date to be confirmed. Probably the Lucas Room Hitchin. Speaker to be arranged

We are looking to invite a well-known archaeologist for a special lecture in the Autumn 2023 and (probably) Autumn 2024.


There may be an opportunity for very small-scale test pitting in Pirton in the summer.

CHAS Lectures

Have been wonderful for those of us able to access them on line. Thank you to Kris Lockyer and Laurie Evans in particular for researching and engaging lecturers and for hosting the evenings. We hope that these will continue, they have been so successful not only within Hertfordshire but world-wide.

Internet website: visiting museums.

We hope that you have managed to access special exhibitions, whether on line or in person. Here are some suggestions:

North Herts. Museum

Keith Fitzpatrick Matthews continues to Blog. Look out for Archaeology Tuesdays, all Facebook users.

The British Museum

Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece 4 May to 13 August 2023

“Drawing on dazzling objects from Afghanistan to Greece, this exhibition moves beyond the ancient Greek spin to explore a more complex story about luxury as a political tool in the Middle East and southeast Europe from 550–30 BC. It explores how the royal Achaemenid court of Persia used precious objects as markers of authority, defining a style of luxury that resonated across the empire from Egypt to India. It considers how eastern luxuries were received in early democratic Athens, self-styled as Persia’s arch-enemy, and how they were adapted in innovative ways to make them socially and politically acceptable. Finally, it explores how Alexander the Great swept aside the Persian empire to usher in a new Hellenistic age in which eastern and western styles of luxury were fused as part of an increasingly interconnected world.”

China’s Hidden Century 18 May to 8 October 2023

“In a global first, the resilience and innovation of 19th-century China is revealed in a major new exhibition.

Between 1796 and 1912 Qing China endured numerous civil uprisings and foreign wars, with revolution ultimately bringing an end to some 2,000 years of dynastic rule and giving way to a modern Chinese republic. This period of violence and turmoil was also one of extraordinary creativity, driven by political, cultural and technological change. In the shadow of these events lie stories of remarkable individuals – at court, in armies, in booming cosmopolitan cities and on the global stage.

Exquisite objects are brought together for the first time – from cloisonné vases given by the Last Emperor’s court to King George and Queen Mary for their coronation in 1911, to a silk robe commissioned by the Empress Dowager Cixi. The show illuminates the lives of individuals – an empress, a dancer, a soldier, an artist, a housewife, a merchant and a diplomat.

Visitors will glimpse the textures of life in 19th-century China through art, fashion, newspapers, furniture – even soup ingredients. Many people not only survived but thrived in this tumultuous world. New art forms, such as photography and lithographic printing, flourished while technology and transport – the telegraph, electricity, railways – transformed society.”

The Ashmolean Museum

Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth and Reality. To 30 July 2023

The palace of Knossos, discovered and excavated over 100 years ago, was the centre of a Bronze Age civilisation of people we now call the Minoans, named after the legendary King Minos.

This will be the first UK exhibition to focus on Knossos. It will include over 100 objects which have never left Crete and Greece before, alongside discoveries from the Ashmolean’s Sir Arthur Evans Archive and an exclusive experience of Knossos Palace from the acclaimed video game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans led excavations at Knossos in the early 20th century, and would later re-imagine and partially restore the palace. His archive at the Ashmolean has been central to our understanding of the site of Knossos, and many of his excavation plans, artworks and records will be on display alongside objects from the site.

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

“Islanders – the making of the Mediterranean” to 4 June

Free, but you need to book. tickets@museums.cam.ac.uk or 01223 333230

Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 till 5pm, Sundays 12 to 5pm.

Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 to 5pm, Sunday 12 to 5pm.

Let me know of other sites/museum exhibitions of interest and we will share with everyone.

Jean Campbell

Our very long-standing member, Committee stalwart and staunch friend, Jean, sadly died in 2022. We’re not sure when Jean first became a member, but it was certainly in the early years of the Society. By the mid-1970s, she was a Committee member and continued to be until her death. Jean was a very active and dedicated member, regularly taking part in our field surveys and excavations into her seventies, helping to organise events and was our lead caterer. She was always very involved, enthusiastic, supportive – and fun. We miss her very much. Our condolences to her son Duncan, and daughter Helen.

Jackie Bavin

Jackie died in December 2021. She was one of our earliest members, joining the Society in the 1960s, and also one of the earliest Committee members. Jackie volunteered on many of our early digs, at Blackhorse Road with John Moss-Eccardt, for example, and later on Gil’s Baldock excavations, such as at Wallington Road in 1982. She was very active and supportive of all Society events over many decades, including, not only excavations, but also field trips and lectures, a stalwart in helping to provide tea and coffee at the latter, and sharing the washing and clearing-up afterwards! Jackie will be greatly missed. Our condolences to Mike and her family.

Daphne Coutts Smith

Farewell to Daphne, as she settles in to her new home in Surrey. We wish her all the very best as she adapts to life away from North Herts.


Gil is continuing to publish academic papers on projects in which this Society and its members have been involved over the years. His latest include:

Burleigh, Gilbert R. 2020. ‘Temples, treasures, heroic burials and deities: a sacred landscape bounding Iron Age and Romano-British Baldock’, in Sacred Landscapes in Antiquity: Creation, Manipulation, Transformation (ed. R. Häussler and G. F. Chiai), 369-99, Oxbow.


Burleigh, Gilbert 2022. ‘Archaeology around Ashwell Springhead’, in Ashwell Yearbook.

Burleigh, Gilbert R. 2023. ‘Individual choices in burial ritual and cult activity in and around the Iron Age and Romano-British town of Baldock, Hertfordshire’, in Religious Individualisation : Archaeological, Iconographic and Epigraphic Case Studies from the Roman World (ed. R. Häussler and A.C. King), 162-80, Oxbow.

He’s currently writing a final report on our excavations at Coombe Bottom, Kelshall, in 1977(!), (Ed. 46 years is no time at all to an archaeologist!) which, thanks to recent new discoveries, can now be re-interpreted as a shrine and religious ceremonial centre dating to the early/middle Anglo-Saxon period.


Subscriptions. These are due at the AGM on 6 June. Before that is fine, too! Cheques to Diane Burleigh, 10 Cromwell Way, Pirton SG5 3RD Rates remain the same:

Adults £19, Families £24, and Concessions (over 65, under 16) £10.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.