Plymouth Archaeology Society

Search the PDAS site

Plymouth Archaeology Society


Search the PAS site

Plymouth Archaeology Society (PAS) consists mainly of amateur members with an enthusiastic interest in a wide range of archaeological disciplines. We wish to share our enthusiasm for archaeology in general and provide better knowledge and support for the abundant local sites in our area.

Visitors are invited to attend any of our regular meetings (coach trips require pre-booking) and we hope you will be tempted to become a full member. PAS is open to all to apply for membership (membership information).

P.A.S. organise monthly winter lectures by invited guest speakers (winter programme). The summer programme consists of visits to local sites of interest. These are usually guided by experts with local knowledge of the site concerned (summer programme). The summer programme is augmented by coach trips to sites a little further afield. These are usually day trips but can occasionally involve a weekend away.

We also organise workshops to benefit those with a practical interest in archaeology. In the past these have included - surveying for archaeologists, geophysics and pollen analysis (archaeology workshops).

Any damage or threats to archaeological sites should be reported urgently to either The City Archaeologist based in the Planning Dept (01752 305433) or the City Museum (01752 304774). Archaeological finds should be reported to the City Museum.




Our lectures are held at 7:00 pm in the Devonport Lecture Theatre of the Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth.

3rd December 2018

'The Built, The Unbuilt, The Proposed.

Lost Buildings Of The Royal Navy's Bases'

Dr Jonathan Coad

From the early eighteenth century, the Royal Dockyards saw construction of buildings and engineering works on a huge scale. Many of these survive in the current and former bases, but others are known only from original plans or early photographs or were never built. This talk will explore these, who designed and built them, and will set them in the wider context of naval and industrial history. Jonathan Coad is a historian, archaeologist and a former Inspector of Ancient Monuments. He was initially responsible for identifying and evaluating historic buildings in naval bases and subsequently for advising on their conservation and continued use. He is a vice-President of the Society for Nautical Research and a former President of the Royal Archaeological Institute.

 Understanding Landscapes is a community-focussed project that provides field- and desk-based opportunities for the public to investigate the history and archaeology of two distinct areas of Devon and Cornwall, with a common theme being their Roman and medieval communities. It is run by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter. For information on how to get involved please visit

The Understanding Landscapes project is working with the public in four locations, each with a rich history.


Our work in Calstock is focussed on the site of a Roman fort, the largest of three currently known of in Cornwall. This fort lay on the site of a late prehistoric (Iron Age) settlement, and subsequently a medieval village and parish church were built within its ramparts. Although the parish church of St Andrew now stands isolated, it was once the focus of a village that has now been deserted and become agricultural fields.


The National Trust property at Cotehele is well-known for its fine late medieval country house and garden, but there are also a wide range of poorly-understood archaeological sites scattered across the wider agricultural estate that we are helping the National Trust to understand.


Bere Ferrers, whilst today a quiet agricultural parish, was once alive with industry. In the medieval period there were silver mines here, operated by the Crown, and the landscape was inhabited not only by native farmers but also immigrant miners and general labourers. We have already established that Bere Alston was Britain’s first planned mining town, but the Understanding Landscapes project is now exploring the origins of the wider historic landscape, and particularly hopes to provide new insights into the age and origins of the many farms which are scattered across the parish.


Our work in Ipplepen is focussed on the site of an Iron Age, Roman and early medieval settlement, first discovered through metal detectorists reporting their discovery of over 100 Roman coins to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The site is unusual in terms of its material culture (e.g. coins, jewellery, pottery and vessel glass) and although its character is at present unclear it was evidently occupied by a community of relatively high status which engaged in trade with the Roman world to a greater extent than was normal for Devon. The project is also exploring the origins of the present-day village and surrounding historic landscape in order to understand how its founding relates to the ultimate decline of the settlement being excavated.