Aerial photograph of the then newly dualled A505 Baldock-Royston road cutting through the chalk escarpment at Slip End, Ashwell, looking north. Parch-marks during that summer’s drought show peri-glacial geological features, especially the wide river-like feature running from top to bottom in middle of picture, with its profile clearly visible in the cutting. Also, four ring-ditches of ploughed-out Prehistoric burial mounds to the left. In the right foreground is a rectangular ditched enclosure on the Herts/Cambs county boundary where in October 1975 NHAS volunteers under my direction for North Herts Museums excavated several late Roman inhumation burials. Photograph by Gil Burleigh taken on the evening of 1st July 1976 from a Cessna light plane flown by Arthur Thorning, who writes: “One never knows when the past may catch up with one! I see in my flying log-book that the picture was taken from a Cessna 150 registration G-AVUH; such a small aircraft that I doubt if I could fold myself into it now!” Gil says “I certainly couldn’t!”

Ashwell Slip End Farm Skeleton 4 & skulls A-C, looking west, 24th Oct. 1975. Photo by Gil Burleigh.

All meetings are at Letchworth Free Church hall, corner of Gernon Rd and Sollershott West, 8 pm, unless stated otherwise. 

Tuesday 21st May 2019: Annual General Meeting. Gil Burleigh will present an illustrated report on the year’s fieldwork, including parch-mark sites at Barkway, Great Offley and Pirton revealed by drone photography during the summer 2018 drought and  test-pit excavations in Great Offley and Pirton, as well as test pit excavations and geophysical surveys in Ashwell. Drinks buffet £3 per person.

Autumn/Winter/Spring 2019/20:

Tuesday 24th September 2019: ‘Wimpole at the time of the Roman Conquest’, by Paddy Lambert, Project Officer, Oxford Archaeology East. 

October 2019: ‘Latest survey results from Ravensburgh Castle Iron Age Hill-Fort’, by Dr Ian Brown, Research Associate, Keble College, Oxford University.

‘A multi-period excavated site at a quarry near Peterborough’, by Greg Farnworth Jones, Project Officer.

The Basilica and Portico wall excavations at Verulamium 2018’, by James Fairbairn, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology East.

‘Excavations at Hazel End, Bishops Stortford’, by Louisa Moan, Senior Project Manager, Oxford Archaeology East.

Tuesday 17th March 2020: ‘Beacons of the Past – Hillforts in the Chilterns Landscape’ by Dr. Wendy Morrison, Project Manager, Chilterns Conservation Board.

‘Excavation of an Early Anglo-Saxon settlement at Priors Hill, Pirton’, Mark Hinman, Senior Project Manager, Pre-Construct Archaeology.

We are delighted to officially launch the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology website for 2019- a one-stop shop for Festival event organisers and a showcase for archaeology events from around the UK. 
Registration for the 2019 Festival of Archaeology 13-28 July is now Open! Visit  to register your event. Our new website includes online registration guides and publicity materials for event organisers- so it’s even easier than before to get involved and host an event or create activities for the summer. We also have a blog page on our website and would be delighted to showcase stories of #FestivalofArch projects for 2019 and those that you may have been involved with over the years.
As part of the Council for British Archaeology’s 75th anniversarywe would also like to showcase stories of local, regional or national archaeologists. We are very proud that one of our first blogs on our website records the memories of Elisabeth Quinton, from Alberta Canada, who volunteered on a CBA dig in Canada in the 1950s. Her work on this dig inspired her lifelong interest in archaeology and, as she says, the CBA was the “catalyst for part of my interest in history.” We will be sharing more details of the 2019 Festival of Archaeology events over the coming weeks so please visit the CBA’s Festival of Archaeology website or follow us on social media.
Twitter: @archaeologyuk
Facebook: Archaeologyuk
Or you can contact us at with any enquiries.
Best wishes, Gillian Waters
Festival Co-ordinator
As part of Hitchin Festival July 2019 Hitchin Historical Society will be hosting its third biennial History Day on Saturday July 13th 2019 at Church House Hitchin from 10am to 4 pm. It provides an opportunity to meet with other local heritage groups and the general public.
There is no charge to participating organisations and admission is free to the public.
Summer Field Trip
Message from Committee member Liz Hunter:
The 2019 Summer Field Excursion: At long last, I have made some progress on this.   Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, when up in Stamford with my sister, I visited both Crowland Abbey and Flag Fen. Both are possible sites for us to visit. At both sites, there was no one able to make a booking…..  However, I now have a name and an email address and/or a phone number for the two people I need to communicate with – HOORAY!
The booking for Flag Fen can only be done via a ‘Volunteer’ member of staff at the ‘Vivacity’ department  (Leisure and Heritage ) of Peterborough City Council; Janet works only on a Thursday…………  (I expected to go through the Museum Service in the city……..)
I think my plan for the day will be as follows:-
8.15/8.30am: Leave Hitchin/Letchworth
10.00am: Arrive Flag Fen. Coffee break for c. 10/15 minutes; probable need to order in advance?
Guided tour for c.90 minutes of the site.
12 noon: Picnic lunches on the terrace outside the Visitor Centre (not nearly enough chairs/may have to eat sitting on the grass or in the coach; will query this) The VC cafe is v. small; sells sandwiches and snacks, hot and cold drinks; only 16 chairs at 4 tables)
12.45pm: Drive to Crowland; not an easy route – allow c. 45 mins?? Narrow streets for a coach in Crowland, small coach park adjacent to the carpark at the Abbey.
1.45pm: Guided tour of the Abbey and its former extent, now the churchyard; impressive and interesting history, good guidebook; short video in v. small Visitor Centre; well informed volunteer guides.
c. 3.30pm: possibly Tea in the small Pantry in the Abbey, or in the hotel across the road from the Abbey, or at a Tearoom, a 5 minute walk from the Abbey.
I will give this task some priority this week, so that I can give our members the fullest possible details at the AGM.
The guides at Crowland thought that a visit on a Sunday afternoon would NOT be possible, due to church services and volunteer guides’ other commitments.  Thus we may/will have to visit on a Saturday, in July or August.
News from Kris Lockyear, Welwyn Archaeological Society
I am pleased to announce that a joint project between the Society, Welwyn Hatfield Museums, the St Albans branch of the Young Archaeologist’s Club and the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group has received a £9,600 grant for a project based around the Dicket Mead and Lockley’s Roman villas.  The project will involve undertaking some geophysical survey as well as digging some test pits on the west side of the motorway, and looking at artefacts from the original excavations. The project will conclude with an exhibition at Mill Green at which the Society will be putting up a display to celebrate the Society’s 60th anniversary as well as showing the results of this project. I hope members will be willing to join in this exciting project and make it a great success.
For more details see the press release:
Best wishes, Kris.
Also from Kris: if you are interested in getting some experience of geophysical survey the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group will almost certainly be working at Verulamium again this August. See for the results of our work.


2019/20 Subscriptions become due on 1st June 2019. Please renew. 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. Thank you to all who have paid your subscription and renewed your membership.

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.

Please note 2018/19 Membership cards are now available and may be collected at any of our lectures.

Adult £19, Family £24, Concessions (over 65, under 16), £10.

Non-members are welcome at any of our meetings. There will be a charge of £4 for entry.

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


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