Plymouth Archaeology Society

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Our lectures are held at 7:00 pm in the Devonport Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building, Plymouth University. PDAS members and University staff and students (with ID) are admitted free. Visitors are very welcome but are asked to contribute £4. Our lecture theatre facilities will be provided by Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University. We thank them for their support.

Winter Lecture Season 2016 -2017

Monday 3rd October 2016


Matt Kendall

Archaeological investigations in advance of development of Sherford on the eastern outskirts of Plymouth have revealed a wealth of new information. Highlights to date include the excavation of an extant Bronze Age barrow mound, Iron Age roundhouses and potential Romano-British graves. Matt Kendall from Wessex Archaeology will present a review of the excavations to date.

Special lecture: This is a joint meeting of the Devon Archaeological Society and PDAS, starting at 7pm in the Upper Lecture Theatre in Plymouth University’s Sherwell Building (the former church, next to Drake Reservoir, North Hill). This meeting is open to the public and is free with no need to book.

Monday 7th November 2016


Scientific Results From The Analysis Of The Staffordshire Hoard Gold

Dr Eleanor Blakelock

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009 led to the development of a cross-disciplinary programme to conserve, research and disseminate the find. The Hoard consists of the largest assemblage of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver objects, most of which are battle regalia. As part of the wider research project, a ground breaking study of the gold was carried out. This has revealed more details about workshop practices used by the goldsmiths to enhance the appearance of the objects. Dr Blakelock trained as an archaeometallurgist and for the past three years has been studying the metals in the Hoard.

Monday 5th December 2016


Kevin Camidge

In 1798 HMS Colossus, with a crew of 600, in charge of a convoy following Nelson’s victory at the battle of the Nile, anchored in St Mary’s Roads (Isles of Scilly) to ride out a storm. However her anchors did not hold and she was driven ashore. The talk will cover Kevin’s 15 years of work on thewreck, from rediscovery in 2001 by holiday divers, through four excavations and five surveys.  Following a career in land archaeology, first in York and later in Lincolnshire, Kevin retired to Cornwall in 1987. He took up diving, became involved in marine archaeology, and is now nominated archaeologist for Colossus and several other protected wrecks.

Monday 6th February 2017



Dr Dave Parham

Two Portuguese ships from Vasco da Gama's second voyage to India were wrecked in 1503 off the coast of Oman. A shipwreck found in 1998 is believed to be that of Esmerelda. Excavation of thewreck began in 2013 involving archaeologists from Bournemouth University. Dave Parham is anexperienced archaeologist and diver/diving supervisor who has directed maritimearchaeological projects ranging in date from the Bronze Age to WW2. He has workedextensively throughout the British Isles as well as overseas. His research interests focus onthe archaeology of seafaring and ship construction of all periods.

Monday 6th March 2017


Dr John Davey

Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot in Devon, is a multi-period site occupying several hectares, where occupation extended from late prehistory through to the early medieval period. Geophysical survey and subsequent excavations have revealed an extensive late prehistoric settlement, a Romano British road, field system, two wells and contemporary industrial activity. The latest of five construction phases of the road has been cut by a large post-Roman cemetery, with skeletons dated to the 6th to 8th centuries AD. The Project is led by Professor Stephen Rippon and run as a field school for University of Exeter archaeology students since 2012. Dr John Davey is an Archaeological Lab Manager at the University of Exeter.

Monday 3rd April 2017

'Mapping the Sun and Reading the Hurlers'

Jacky Nowakowski.

The revised lecture will be about two linked community archaeology projects, ''Mapping the Sun', and 'Reading the Hurlers',  funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and developed and delivered with Cornwall Archaeological Unit's guidance and input. The two projects have been exploring the Early Bronze Age ceremonial landscape setting of the Hurlers - a multiple stone circle complex at Minions on the South East Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. Both projects involved a multi-disciplinary approach to study this fascinating ancient landscape: archaeologists, geologists and astronomers have all been involved. Survey and small-scale excavation by CAU for the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project in 2013 during 'Mapping the Sun' revealed a stone pavement which had first been exposed in the 1930s campaign to restore the Hurlers.  This was re-examined in 2013, its potential alignment was assessed, and new light on its composition and make-up lead to the development of another community project, called 'Reading the Hurlers', which is led by the geological group of Saltash University of the 3rd Age (U3A). This recent project has been studying the geology of the stones and their origins. Another small-scale excavation at Minions in 2014 investigated a new site in this increasingly complex landscape and both projects are now bringing together new knowledge and expanding approaches to the study of these ancient landscapes.

Our Winter Lecture season 2016-17 has now finished.

Our next winter programme will commence in October 2017 and will be published on this page shortly beforehand.

Our current Summer Season can be found here Summer Site Visits