Spring 2015 Lecture Programme


We have just finalised the list of lectures for the New Year. We kick off with a talk about the settlement of the Knights Templar in Keele (January 9th). A fortnight later, we have the opportunity to find out something about the mysterious disappearance of Rome's Ninth Legion somewhere in Britain in the 2nd Century AD (or thereabouts). In February we can learn about St. Kilda, a World Heritage site in the Outer Hebrides; and about the Ecton Copper mines in the 18th Century. The last talk in the season is in March, and is about excavations at Hallaton, the Leicestershire village where in 2000, the largest hoard of British Iron Age coins was discovered. For the full list, see our Lectures page.


15th December 2014

Audley Castle Mound

We have just completed a small excavation on the site of the castle of Henry de Audley (the first Baron Audley) - the Motte in the village of Audley, Staffordshire.


Aerial view of Bailey area looking North


The Audley Millennium Green Project organised Open Days, school visits and visits from local press and radio including The Sentinel and BBC Radio Stoke.

The excavation followed up on geophysics surveys which we did last year on the Motte and (suspected) Bailey. The Motte is a scheduled site under the protection of English Heritage and we are not able to dig there, but the suspected Bailey area is not. We put in some small trenches this year to investigate anomalies in the survey data, but found little other than the remains of a possibly Victorian cinder path. However, it was a useful PR exercise for SOTMAS.
You can read all about it, see more pictures, and download Winston's survey report from our Audley Castle page here.

The picture above was taken by Terry using his drone


7th October 2014

Lectures for Autumn 2014 announced

Our speakers for this season have chosen some very interesting and some unusual subjects to talk to us about. To see what I mean, you can see the full programme here. But I'll give you some hints: included are Anglo-Saxons in Tamworth, Vikings in Lincolnshire, castle builders in Staffordshire, Neolithic folk in Orkney, and ... toilets.

The first lecture is on Friday the 10th October

15th September 2014



In July this year we carried out a geophysics survey in part of the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton. We had been asked to do this last year, but the wet weather caused us to postpone it. The objective was to see if there is any evidence of Roman occupation here. While our results do not provide any positive confirmation of Roman structure(s) under this part of the Gardens, there may be enough clues to warrant further investigation (were it possible). Below is an extract from our report, to read more go to our Buxton page.

Buxton report extract

28th August 2014



Last year we explored a field near the old village of Mucklestone, near Market Drayton. While still in Staffordshire, it is very near the border with Shropshire. The field in question repeatedly shows dark areas of soil with sherds of pottery on the surface after ploughing. The photo below shows some examples.


We were asked to investigate, so last year (2013) we carried out a survey and an exploratory dig. To see what we found, click here, or go via the Fieldwork and Trips menu on the left. On the Mucklestone page you can also read the interesting history of the village. This historical background was written by Colin Sparkes, a local resident and member of the Society. We will be returning to further our investigations after the farmer has harvested his crop later this year.


15th August 2014




Coxbank Farm excavation finishes for this year

We have now back-filled at Coxbank Farm, and once again we are left with an intruiging feature to investigate further in next year's excavation.
This year we have not found any artifacts, but we have found some interesting features. Some are shown below - click on any thumbnail to get the full picture.
For further detail, see our week-by-week pictorial dig diary


A hole - to hold water? A forked shallow channel Half a deep channel?

10th August 2014

Eric Warrilow



With great sorrow we have to report that our friend and fellow digger Eric died recently. Maureen Thomas related her memories of Eric at his funeral last month. You can read her eulogy to Eric here, and see several pictures (taken by Dave Thomas). These pictures show Eric at some of our excavations over the last few years. I'm sure that these words and pictures will bring back to all our members who knew him, many of their own fond memories of Eric.


17th July 2014


Excavation at Cox Bank Farm starts again



We have just started this year's excavation at Cox Bank Farm, to further investigate the Burnt Mound we worked on last year and the two previous years. This year we hope to find a second trough, that we think we may have seen a corner of at the very end of last year's dig. More of the pot that we found a large sherd of would be good, too. Follow our progress in this year's dig diary.


11th May 2014


Lecture cancellation


Unfortunately, the speaker who was due to give us our final talk of this Spring season on May 9th, has had to cancel. Apologies if you were hoping to attend.

The Society's rooms in the museum will still be open, for any post-excavation work which may be required, and/or for access to our library. Or just for stimulating conversation with other members!


14th April 2014



Kings Low and Queens Low Report


I know I said earlier that I wouldn't report here as new books are acquired for our library, but this one is special. Our librarian has now added to the library a copy of the report on the excavations of two Early Bronze Age barrows which the Society undertook at Kings Low and Queens Low, at Tixall, near Stafford.


This and other books so far acquired this year (and last) are listed on our Library page.


5th April 2014


The Bridestones (update)



This sketch of the Bridestones was drawn by Staffordshire artist Thomas Peploe Wood (1817-1845). I have copied it from the front page of the report of our investigations at the site in 2011 and 2012. The report has been updated following review by English Heritage, and a report of our small excavation near the monument added. I have updated our Bridestones page accordingly, and you can download the full report from near the bottom of that page, or directly from here.


2nd February 2014


"Medieval Homerwych"


Pending availability of the full report of our excavations at Hammerwich, we are making available Colin Sparkes's historical introduction section of the report. It provides a very interesting insight into the area's medieval history, and you can download it as a pdf document using the link above.


13th January 2014


Full Lecture Programme for Spring 2014


We now have information about all the lectures in the Spring 2014 programme. For more detail, see our Lectures page. Included is an evening devoted to the launch of a new book reporting the excavations that the Society carried out some years ago at Kings Low and Queens Low near Stafford. The evening will include a talk by Professor Gary Lock and Winston Hollins.


11th January 2014


Spring 2014 Lecture Programme


Our new lecture programme kicks off with two lectures of local interest: the first (this coming Friday, 10th January) is about Richard Arkwright and the Cromford Mill; the second (Friday January 24th) is about ceramics production and prehistoric society in the Peak District. For some more detail, see our Lectures page. (Sorry about the short notice!)


7th January 2014

Two new links on the links page


I have added two new links on the links page. These are to a blog describing (amongst other things) the excavation and analysis of an early Bronze Age burnt mound at Sizergh; and to a very interesting thesis covering the derivation of all the main and many of the minor place names in Staffordshire (including a review of the early history of the county and of the various languages and dialects which have influenced its place names).


7th January 2014

A Happy New Year to all our members and visitors!



The news which previously appeared on the rest of this page related to 2013, and can now be found by following the "More News" link below. Details of all the fieldwork and reports mentioned there can be found via the "Fieldwork and Trips" menu, above.



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