September 2011: Landscape Archaeology: Judie English

At our meeting in September landscape archaeologist Julie English and our local historic exhibits curator, Dudley Sparks provided an enthralling tour de force! There was even a first-rate handout which explained, with pictures, when the Paleolithic age morphed into the Mesolithic age – and much more besides!

Julie lectures at Sussex University and must be used to explaining things in such a way that even the most poorly motivated and the least knowledgeable student becomes engrossed.  So we were a doddle!  She demonstrated how aerial photography could clearly identify bronze-age field systems and magnetometry could show where kilns had been built.  Local archives could help locate hill forts and Priories could indicated the way the local community lived; there was a wealth of knowledge that could be gained without even starting a dig!  But if you did start to excavate around Westcott you found yourself amongst some intriguing, and puzzling, evidence of Romano-British settlement.

Dudley was able to show us some of the amazing things that he and his metal detector had found belonging to these early residents of Westcott.  From an early Roman pendant, through Anglo-Saxon artifacts and Medieval items to ‘souvenirs’ from World War ll: they could all be found around here, although you had to know where to look and been doing it for around 25 years!