Basingstoke Museum Visit

On 17th April twenty BAS members were delighted to be Mike Fulford’s guests for his guided tour of the exhibition “Becoming Roman – Silchester Town of Change” at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke.

The aim of the exhibition was to sum up the archaeological investigations that have taken place under Mike’s direction over a fifty-year span at the Iron Age and Roman Town of Calleva (Silchester).

For those members on the tour had worked at Silchester, the presentation of finds highlights from the digs was a journey of personal memory. For others, it was a revelation of how much has been learned through painstaking archaeological research. In answer to a question from a participant, Mike hazarded that excavations to date had covered less than one per cent of the surface area of the walled town, hinting at how much more there is to discover in future excavations.

Familiar finds from recent years included the Nero-stamped tile from the bathhouse excavation and many other ceramic and metalwork objects. There were unexpected items among the familiar: for example some tiny anglo-saxon coins and the skeleton of what was said to be the first British lap-dog.

Places on the tour were limited for obvious practical reasons, but you can still catch up with the exhibition on tour. This is scheduled for the Red House Museum, Christchurch from 20th July to 1st September 2024; and the Andover Museum from 6th September to 24th November 2024. The Hampshire Cultural Trust website suggests that the exhibition may run at either Reading Museum or the University Reading but at the time of writing no date has been given and there is no guarantee of an opportunity to see the exhibition in Reading.

report by Paul Seddon

Exploring the archaeology, history and heritage of Berkshire