To 28th April 2024: Becoming Roman – Silchester a Town of Change

Willis Museum, Market Place, Basingstoke, RG21 7QD

2000 years ago, Silchester, just north of Basingstoke near the Hampshire/Berkshire border, was a hub of trade to the Roman world and a capital for the tribe that controlled the area. In this interactive exhibition, explore the streets of ancient Silchester as it changes from an Iron Age to a Roman town.

Silchester was the capital of the Atrebates and an important trade centre. Coins were minted there, and tribute flowed in from the surrounding area. But what was life like? What did people eat, what diseases did they have and what animals did they live alongside? See the skeleton of the earliest known lap dog in Britain and learn about its origins. When the Romans came from the middle of the 1st century AD onwards, what changes did they bring? Learn about the Roman bath house, dwellings, and the amphitheatre. See behind the scenes of an archaeological dig that has been revealing its secrets for half a century.

The town was abandoned around AD 400 and never had layers of later buildings built over earlier ones, leaving us a uniquely preserved settlement. The current phase of excavation started in 1974 and is still revealing new secrets about the people who lived there.

Exhibition in collaboration with the University of Reading.

(BAS is running a tour on 17th April but is now fully booked)

Monday 10th June 2024 BAS Visit: Villa Ventorum

Our lecture season is now at an end until September. Meanwhile we have organised a group visit to the Villa Ventorum, which is a reconstruction of a Roman villa, at The Newt in Somerset.

The guided tour is booked for 11am on Monday 10th June. The tour will take about 2 hours then we will have free time to have lunch at the cafe or restaurant and explore the gardens before heading back home.

No transport is provided other than car sharing which we will organise

Applications are now closed but we will run a waiting list if necessary. Contact Tim Lloyd on tim.lloyd222(at) by April 5th.

Latest on Reading Gaol

A prison where celebrated Irish writer Oscar Wilde was once an inmate has been sold to an educational charity, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said. (press release 11th January 2024)

Reading Jail formally closed in January 2014 and has been empty ever since. 

A campaign to turn the Grade II listed building into an arts and community centre was supported by celebrities including Stephen Fry, Kate Winslet and Dame Judi Dench.

The government said the jail had been sold to the Ziran Education Foundation.

It said the charity’s plans for the site included an educational centre incorporating a museum and exhibition space.

Read the latest from MP Matt Rodda here

BAJ086 Published

Berkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 86 is now published.

A pdf of the full list of contents can be downloaded below

Copies will be distributed to all eligible members and subscribers.

Further copies may be purchased at the following prices:

  • Members: £16 + £4 postage and packing
  • Non-members: £20 + £4 postage and packing (overseas rates on application)

To purchase email journal(at) (for security we are not publishing email links – please retype replacing “at” with @)