A 17th-century landscape in Malvern Chase

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 7pm

Speaker: George Demidowicz

Anyone walking the Malvern ridge can’t fail to notice the massive bank and ditch called the Red Earl’s ditch or the Shire Ditch that is your constant companion. Having moved to West Malvern five years ago, I was able to explore the northern hills at more leisure and was intrigued to find that a lesser bank and ditch crossed the main ridge at right angles at several locations. Some of these banks and ditches could be then followed for many hundreds of yards.

I checked the published literature and the local Historic Environment Record for any clue as to their origin and purpose, but to no avail. A well-known  event, the disafforestation of Malvern Chase in the 1630s, was a possible  candidate for their creation, and a subject on which much had been written but without reference to any field evidence. A contemporary map offered the prospect of discovering an extensive and unsuspected layer of the Malvern Hills landscape.

This lecture will take place via Zoom. Members will automatically be sent a link. Any non members wishing to attend should use our contacts page as ask for joining details.

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Recent Archaeological Discoveries in the City of Birmingham

7pm Tuesday 2nd February 2021

Speaker: Chris Patrick

Chris Patrick Birmingham City Council’s Principal Conservation Officer will be talking about recent archaeological work and conservation projects in Birmingham including medieval remains in the city centre and prehistoric discoveries in Perry Barr.

This talk will take place via Zoom. Invitations are being sent out to all members with a link to join the meeting. Non-members wishing to attend should make contact via our contacts page and we can send joining details. Numbers will be limited so first come first served.

New venues for our 2019-20 Lecture Series

Our forthcoming lecture series will take place at the following venues.

Evening lectures in Birmingham (October & December 2019, February, March & April 2020)

Will now take place at The Priory Rooms,Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF   https://www.theprioryrooms.co.uk/find-us/

This venue is very close to the Midland Metro stop in Bull Street and in easy walking distance of the three main Birmingham city centre railway stations and bus stops. There is no car park on site although disabled spaces may be available. We suggest contacting the venue for details in advance if you wish to know more enquiries@theprioryrooms.co.uk  0121 236 2317

Evening lecture In Warwick (November)

This will take place at St John’s House Museum, St Johns, Warwick, CV34 4NF


This venue is located less than 10 minutes’ walk from Warwick railway station. There is a small free car park on site with limited spaces. More parking can be found at St Nicholas Park (sat nav CV34 4NL)

Birmingham Lunchtime Lecture (January)

This lecture will take place at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH


This venue is close to Victoria Square and a short walk from Birmingham New Street and Snow Hill Railway stations, the Midland Metro and many bus stops. The nearest car park is Town Hall (sat nav B1 1TA) and there is some blue badge parking nearby in Margaret Street and Edmund Street.

Lecture Programme 2019-20

Lecture Programme for 2019/20


Evening lectures are now being held at The Priory Rooms, Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF.

Except for that on November 5th which will be held at St Johns House Museum, St Johns, Warwick, CV34 4NF.

The Annual Lunchtime Lecture on January 7th 2020 will be held at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH

  • October 1st 2019 at 7pm Speaker: Stuart Milby

Park Street: The archaeology of a graveyard

  • November 5th 2019 at 7pm Speaker: Janine Young

From the Romans to Repton, hollow-ways to hillforts: an overview of archaeology in the National Trust (Warwick meeting)

  •  December 3rd 2019 at 6.45pm – AGM  Speaker: Glenn Rose

HS2 and the research behind the project

  •  January 7th 2020 at 1pm Speaker: Ellen McAdam

Ancient Mesopotamia: land, monuments and people (Lunchtime)

  • February 4th 2020 at 7pm Speaker: Mary Ruddy


  • March 3rd  2020 at 7pm Speaker: Mike Hodder

Finding more in Sutton Park

  • April 7th 2020 at 7pm Speaker: George Demidowicz

A 17th century landscape in Malvern Chase

Barrows and Burnt Mounds: Investigations at Meriden Quarry, 2013-2015

7pm Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Speaker: Richard Bradley

Excavation and watching-brief work  by Worcestershire Archaeology over a number of years of quarry extraction has identified multiple phases of activity, mainly of prehistoric date. This has included well-preserved palaeoenvironmental deposits, Mesolithic flint working debris, late Neolithic and Bronze Age burnt mounds associated with a sequence of peat formation, Bronze Age and Iron Age timber lined features, and a monumental complex incorporating a post-built palisade with at least three round barrows. Work at the quarry is ongoing but this talk focuses on discoveries during 2013-2015.

Richard Bradley is a project officer working for Worcestershire Archaeology.

This talk will take place at the BMI

Mesolithic flake found at the site.

Bronze Age barrows revealed after stripping of the site.

WOW! What a site!  An update on the excavation of Roman and Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Baginton

7pm Tuesday 6th November  2018

Speaker: Nigel Page

An archaeological excavation was carried out on land at Whitley South, Baginton, Warwickshire in 2017, on high ground overlooking the River Sowe and Coventry to the North. The excavation revealed a series of possible Neolithic pits with flint artefacts, a Bronze Age round barrow, a Roman cremation cemetery and houses and a small cemetery of Anglo-Saxon date.

The Roman cremation cemetery contained over 60 burials, some with offering pots, personal items and cremation urns, which was likely to have been associated with the Lunt Roman Fort, c.350m to the west.

Remains of five Anglo-Saxon houses and twelve burials were also recorded. Some of the graves contained grave goods, which included complete pots and a hanging bowl.

Conservation work on the numerous metal objects recovered has revealed not only how they would have looked when made and used, but it has also thrown up some surprises.

This talk will take place at the Market Hall Museum in Warwick

Excavation at Baginton

The Ice Age and Palaeolithic West Midlands a.k.a The Original West Midlands Safari Park

AGM Night

Tuesday 4th December  2018  6.45pm

Speaker: Nick Daffern

The West Midlands is often overlooked in favour of the east and south-east of England but this talk aims to show that the West Midlands has an incredibly important part to play in the story of Britain during the Pleistocene!

The talk will look at the fascinating Ice Age history of the West Midlands covering its climate and landscape over the last one million years and the animals and humans (both archaic and modern!) who lived and hunted here. An overview will be given of the results of a 2013 English Heritage-funded reassessment of the Palaeolithic in Worcestershire ‘which (excuse the pun!) has snowballed into research that has implications for the wider West Midlands and the potential for future work that everyone can get involved in to enhance our understanding of these lost landscapes.

This lecture will take place at the BMI

Note – this lecture will be preceded by the BWAS Annual General Meeting and should commence shortly after 7pm.

Nick Daffern is an archaeologist, palynologist (pollen specialist!) and environmental archaeologist with a particular focus and passion for the Pleistocene of the West Midlands. He is Associate Director for Archaeology and Heritage at Wardell Armstrong

Digging HS2


Tuesday 8th January 2019 at 1pm

Speaker Robert Early

The north section of HS2 spans 87 km, and forks into Birmingham.  The whole project is the largest historic environment project undertaken in the UK and as such represents a huge challenge to the professional archaeological community. This talk will highlight how the teams of archaeologists are undertaking the works, focussing on new discoveries and the excavation of known sites such as Park Street Burial ground where 19,000 post-medieval burials are currently being excavated; the largest archaeological project to date in Birmingham. Rob will provide a resume of research undertaken and the results to date  highlighting some of the challenges ahead.

Rob Early is currently the lead for the Historic Environment section North. He has over 30 years of experience in archaeology and heritage and has a number of publications of his work that range through the prehistoric periods through to Second World War.  He currently leads the heritage team at the design engineering company WSP but formally worked for Oxford Archaeology.

This lecture will take place at the BMI.

“The Lunar Society’s Welcome to a Scottish Inventor”

Tuesday 5th February 2019 at  7pm

Speaker: Dr. Jim Andrew

In 2019 we shall be commemorating the life of James Watt who died in Birmingham 200 years ago on 25th August 1819.

Watt was born in 1736 and grew up in Greenock, west of Glasgow where he trained as an instrument maker.  In about 1763 he was asked to repair a small Newcomen steam engine.  He did and eventually went on to become the greatest steam engineer of his time.  In 1774 Watt arrived in Birmingham where in partnership with Matthew Boulton, he dominated the designing of powerful steam engines for some twenty years.  But why was Watt attracted to Birmingham, the town and its folks? We shall find out about the advantages offered to Watt by Birmingham Society and the many innovations that brought him lasting fame.

Jim Andrew is a mechanical engineer who worked in industry and as a pollution inspector with Birmingham Council before moving to senior staff at the City’s Museum of Science & Industry in 1974.  His PhD was awarded in 1991 for research on Boulton and Watt and the 1779 engine in the Museum which James Watt designed.  His research interests have ranged across many aspects of technology and the technical collections held in the Birmingham Museums.


This lecture will take place at the BMI.

When is a Hillfort not a Hillfort? Marsh-forts in North Shropshire

Tuesday 5th March 2019  7pm

Speaker: Shelagh Norton

When is a hillfort not a hillfort?  These iconic Iron Age monuments are characterised by their monumentality and prominent visibility. However, a small number of contemporary fortifications share elements of size and monumentality but are found in low-lying, wetland settings. They are increasingly referred to as ‘marsh-forts’ – so far, Sutton Common near Doncaster is the most researched site of this type. Questions abound – do they share characteristics of chronology and function? how do they reference the wider environment? does the term ‘marsh-fort’ add value?

A group of potential ‘marsh-forts’ exist around the wetlands of North Shropshire’s meres and mosses. Lying on the fringe of the hillfort zone of the Welsh Marches, this landscape has a rich archaeological heritage, evinced through early lithic assemblages, funerary monuments, metalwork deposition, bog bodies and enclosure. Initial palaeoenvironmental and landscape research has already identified peculiarities associated with the very large, low-lying wetland fortification of Wall Camp on the Weald Moors near Telford, which has similarities with Sutton Common. Further research is ongoing to investigate, again through landscape (including GIS and LiDAR) and palaeoenvironmental study (plant macrofossils and fossilised insect remains), other similar monuments in the wider area, notably the fortifications at the Berth near Baschurch.

Shelagh Norton in undertaking PhD Research at the Dept. of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham. This research is the first study of a group of potential marsh-forts, and will deliver a greater understanding of the focus area, indicating how representative these sites are and how they can inform more broadly about Iron Age society.

This lecture will take place at the BMI.