The group is a small band of amateur archaeologists dedicated to discovering and recording Rutland’s ancient past through practical fieldwork and historical research. We are always keen to welcome new members. All you need is enthusiasm and, on occasion, good thermal underwear! We will provide training. The work we do is rewarding, often exciting and always worthwhile.Most of the projects we undertake use the technique known as ‘field walking’. This involves gridding out a field, usually in 20m x 20m squares, and systematically collecting and recording the surface finds from the ploughsoil. The finds, often sherds of pottery, iron smelting slag and worked flints, are washed, identified and plotted on to maps of the field. A report is written and copies lodged with the Sites and Monuments Record for Leicestershire and Rutland. The material is usually held at Rutland County Museum where it may be seen and studied by others.
Recent field walks have included sites at Thistleton, a Romano-British town, and at Beaumont Chase, where worked flint suggests Palaeolithic (early stone age) activity.We occasionally have the opportunity of becoming involved with excavation, most recently at Wymondham on the site of a Romano-British villa. The excavation, under the direction of Professor Roger Wilson of Nottingham University, was undertaken by a friendly bunch of amateurs and students and was much enjoyed by all. As a result of our field walking at Thistleton, which established that the town had not been quarried away as had been presumed, we were involved two geophysical surveys conducted by Jeremy Taylor of Leicester University. The work was strenuous but well worth it when we saw the pictures of the temple site.Some members of the group are also members of the Leicestershire Museums Archaeological Fieldwork Group which annually bestows the ‘Miss Linford Award’ for the best archaeological or historical project in the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland. Our group is proud to say that members have won it on three occasions. In 1998 Robert Ovens and Sheila Sleath won for their project on the watermill at Belton,in 2003 Kate Don received the award for her work at Thistleton and in 2008 Elaine Jones was awarded the trophy for her publication ‘The Oakham Parish Field Walking Survey’.Members are also involved in archaeological events such as ‘The Romans are Coming’ at Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester and ‘Found in Leicestershire and Rutland’ at Donington-le-Heath manor house.In 2009 we have again taken part in events for the Festival of British Archaeology at Rutland County Museum. These included a flint knapping workshop.From time to time members publish their work. Most recently Elaine Jones published ‘The Oakham Parish Field Walking Survey’ and members contributed chapters to the ‘Heritage of Rutland Water’ project.Membership of the Archaeological Group is free to Society members – come and join us!
Palaeolithic or old stone age handaxe
Kate Don , Rob Hutchins and Clive Jones showing flint finds
Kate Don holding a handaxe, believed to be Palaeolithic or old stone age