Archaeologists mark half-century with a book

A half century of revealing the historical treasures of the earth is being celebrated by North Devon Archaeological Society. To mark its 50th birthday, the society has produced a book entitled Bronze Age to Bottle Seals covering the history and archaeolog

A half century of revealing the historical treasures of the earth is being celebrated by North Devon Archaeological Society.

To mark its 50th birthday, the society has produced a book entitled Bronze Age to Bottle Seals covering the history and archaeology of North Devon through a series of essays, articles and pictures.

The group has also joined forces with the North Devon AONB, also marking its 50th this year, to host an informative day of talks called Time and Tide, featuring a series of talks by invited experts on the archaeology and history of the local coast, from aerial views to mining history and the Second World War.

The conference will take place at the Landmark Pavilion in Ilfracombe on Saturday, October 24 from 9.30am-4pm at a cost of �12 including buffet lunch or �5 without lunch.


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The society was founded by Hugh Brooks and Charles Whybrow in 1959 and held its first meeting in South Molton that year. In the early years visits to places of interest were interspersed with lectures and occasional field-work including the excavation of a deserted medieval settlement near Wistlandpound.

During the 1970s and 80s NDAS members joined with North Devon Rescue Archaeology excavating in Tully Street to preserve evidence of Barnstaple's early pottery industry, as well as investigating a late Saxon cemetery beside the Barnstaple castle mound, which contained hundreds of skeletons.

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More recent work has included an important excavation, of a Bronze Age settlement at Holworthy Farm near Parracombe between 2002-2005, the recording of the remnants of fish-weirs in the Taw-Torridge estuary, a geophysical survey project on the land above Hartland Quay together with the University of Exeter's X-Arch team and the Hartland Society, an archaeological survey at Six Acre Farm near Lynton and participation in the excavation of Romano-British iron working sites at and near Brayford as part of the Exmoor Iron Project.

It is currently developing a landscape archaeological project at West Yeo Farm in Witheridge, which has the potential to continue for several years. In addition the society has arranged a number of local history days in which history societies from all over North Devon have participated.

Members can attend a series of monthly historical talks from October to April as well as an annual archaeological training day.

"From the historical and archaeological point of view North Devon is deeply interesting, but little explored," said chairman Terry Green.

"However, academic interest in the region is growing, and our aim is to draw on all the resources available - academic and our own primary research - to build a picture of the area's evolution from prehistory to recent times and make the knowledge available to the public."

Bronze Age to Bottle Seals is on sale at local museums, tourist information centres, the North Devon Record Office and directly from the Society. To find out more about the NDAS, visit www.ndas.org.uk. To book tickets for Time and Tide, contact Margaret Read on (01271) 325276.

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