• Rectory Wood Metal Detecting Survey March 6, 2017

    Sunday saw a group of us meet with Rectory Wood with Neil Stevens and some of his colleagues, to do a metal detecting survey of the wood, with the aim of finding what traces of the 101st Airborne occupation of the area remain.

    We only have time to survey about half the area, and will definitely return for another session.

    There is much work to be done cleaning, cataloging, and mapping finds, so more details will be available later. We can though give a brief summary of what was found…

    • Spent .303 and carbine cartidges
    • A possible WWII era buckle
    • Building debris from nissen huts and a stove
    • A plowshare – probably dating from the 19th century of before
    • Various nails and other bit of iron
    • A sack of litter was also removed

    But the star find of the day (if a bit scary) was a live .50 caliber armour piercing round

    This was removed from the site and handled to the Police (if you ever find a live cartidge, it best to leave it where it is and call them, if that’s not safe or possible, store it in water and leave in a quiet safe place and then call them).


    We would like to thank the Parish Council for granting their permission for the survey to take place.

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  • The Mystery Object November 30, 2016



    The end terminals of the Great Torc
    The end terminals of the Great Torc

    The announcement from the British Museum on Monday afternoon of the latest finds to be reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme means that many  of our members can now talk about everything we saw one morning back in 2015.

    Some 46 members of ACHG travelled to the British Museum at the end on October 2015 to view the Aldbourne Cup and to hear a lecture from Dr. Neil Wilkin, curator of the European Bronze Age Collection, about its importance and context in the Bronze Age.

    The Great Torc in its bed of tissue paper gathers as much interest as the Aldbourne Cup itself.

    When we reached the lecture room we were delighted to see the Aldbourne Cup open on the table and excited by the prospect of being able to examine it at such close quarters. An excitement which was fully justified as later on several members were allowed to handle the Cup.

    But to fully explain its context in the Bronze Age, Neil Wilkin had also brought several other magnificent objects of similar age.

    The Great Torc
    The Great Torc

    One of the objects was a gigantic torc of pure gold. We were told that it had only been recently found and no announcement had yet been made. We were asked not to photograph it, nor to disclose its nature until it had been made public. A couple of us were able to hold the item and feel its enormous weight (some three-quarters of a kilo!).

    Apart from being able to say that we saw something (in Howard Carter’s words)”WONDERFUL”, we have had to remain silent.

    We need be silent no more!


    If you would like to read more about this amazing piece of Bronze Age gold work, here is the Guardian‘s coverage

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  • Snippets from the 1911 Census November 24, 2016

    For the past twenty years I have gradually built up searchable transcriptions of the Parish Registers and National Censuses for Aldbourne on my own website – At present the data available includes – Baptisms 1607-1950; Marriages 1600-1955; and Burials 1607-1913 (only records over 100 years old are published online); Marriage Bonds 1618-1837; and the censuses of 1841 to 1901 – 27,286 records in all. Eventually (hopefully within the coming year) all this data will be moved to the Heritage Centre’s website.

    Over the past few weeks I have accessed all of the Aldbourne returns for the 1911 Census and am currently working my way through transcribing them. As I go I have come across a number of curious items that may interest or amuse you.

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