Contact the group via Helen Jackson. email: [email protected] – tel: 01983 405158
The Isle of Wight has a wealth of archaeology to be explored, from Prehistoric, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Medieval periods through to our recent past. Our Archaeology Group in the Society is for everyone, whether experienced archaeologists, enthusiastic amateurs or those keen to take their first steps into this fascinating subject.
What we do
Throughout the year we have a programme of talks, walks, workshops, training sessions and field visits, both local and further afield. We also meet up most Wednesday mornings.
An enthusiastic group meets each week for fieldwork on various projects. If the weather is against us these meetings are sometimes held online allowing participation from home.
Typically these projects may involve document research, field walking, investigating crop marks, excavations, monitoring coastal sites and conducting geophysical surveys.
Our approach is to use a broad spectrum of sources, techniques and tools. This provides the opportunity for members to contribute and learn in any way they feel able.
We use Geographic Information System software to examine possible relationships between known and suspected features. We combine survey maps, old and new, geology and land use data with previous finds location and archaeological research. This helps us plan where to focus our own investigations.
Our geophysical surveys use magnetometry and resistivity equipment to explore the subsurface, looking for features of possible archaeological interest – walls, ditches, banks etc. Potential sites might be identified by lidar data, crop marks, aerial or satellite imagery or features on the surface. We sometimes respond to requests from landowners who are intrigued by features they have spotted.
Our aims are to develop and share a greater understanding of how people have occupied and used the Island over thousands of years – and have an enjoyable time along the way.
Not a member but wish to join us? CLICK HERE
Our activities and projects
An Archaeological Survey of areas of the National Trust’s Mottistone Estate, Isle of Wight.
We are currently carrying out a wide-ranging archaeological survey of the Mottistone Estate on behalf of the National Trust. Our study of selected areas within this 250+ hectare estate will allow us to expand and revise the current archaeological record. We are progressing with the project, which involves a review of published records, an analysis of mapping data (including lidar and geology), and field-walking across available land. Additionally, we anticipate conducting geophysical surveys in the near future.
To get some idea of the finds made during field work you can see some initial entries on the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme
It is expected this project will continue until at least 2024 and offers many opportunities for members to contribute. If you wish to help with desk-based or field activities, please contact us using the above details.
A project to establish the location of two unmarked burials at the church of St Peter and St Paul, Mottistone, Isle of Wight.
In January 2023, the Society received a request from the Mottistone churchwarden, who inquired if we could assist in locating two burials in the graveyard annex at the church of St Peter and St Paul, Mottistone. A burial from 1974 is recorded in the church register and it was suspected another from 1967 may also exist. Neither of the burials had their precise location recorded on the graveyard plan.
After agreeing to provide assistance to the church, it was determined that a non-invasive geophysical survey would be carried out, in addition to a review of documentary evidence.
Archaeology trip to Hengistbury Head
A day trip over to Dorset by 14 members to see the rich history of Hengistbury Head and the Red House Museum in Christchurch.
An Investigation into the structure of a bank followed by the Newchurch/Arreton parish boundary at Mersley Farm, Newchurch. Isle of Wight.
In July 2019, the Isle of Wight Archaeological Society undertook an investigation of the parish boundary at Mersley Farm in the parish of Newchurch. The boundary currently follows a low bank that was calculated to be slightly less than one metres in height. The boundary separates the parish of Newchurch from its western neighbour, the parish of Arreton.
Visit to Butser Ancient Farm
A day trip to Butser Ancient Farm, near Petersfield.
The IWNHAS visit to Orkney
Nine of the group spent 8 fantastic days based in Kirkwall under the care of local archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones. As well as visiting sites on Mainland we went by boat to Rousay and Westray and saw sites where Caroline herself has worked.
By David Tomalin, past President of IWNHAS, Roman Vectis: archaeology and identity in the Isle of Wight celebrates our centenary with a new ground-breaking overview of a lost landscape of creeks, forests, fields, grassland and wetlands that once harboured all manner of natural habitats that Romano-British (Vectensian) islanders exploited, and we have since lost. Over the past 100 years, our members have been steadily rediscovering and documenting much that lies hidden. Spangled with many surprising discoveries and enriched by some entertaining scenarios, our centenary publication must surely become every Vectensian’s handbook and every visitor’s guidebook. Further details may be found on the Society’s Articles and Publications page.