Wednesday 6th November. Norman Redhead from the GMAAS has agreed (at short notice) to give us an update on the Roman Archaeology of Greater Manchester. It’s 5 years ago since Norman came last to tell us about the archaeology of Roman Manchester. Since then there has been a number of significant discoveries include the Roman Altar found in excavations on Great Jackson Street in Manchester. Norman will also be able to tell us about the section of Roman road recently uncovered in Eccles. This is the Manchester to Wigan road and the new section was discovered not far from the section we helped to uncover in Ellesmere Park in 2005 (see Newsletter 85)
Wednesday 2nd October. This month we have Paul Kenyon from the Latham Park Trust who will be giving us a talk on The History of Latham from Pre-Historic times to Present. This will include recent finds from the Bronze-age site at Duttons Farm and the Latham House site were the famous siege took place in the Civil War.
Wednesday 4th September. No meeting in August – our next meeting, in September, will be a talk by Derek Winstanley on the The Daglish/Clarke Railway. In the 18th century wagonways were built to take coal from the many coalfields around Wigan down to the River Douglas. This particular one was used to transport coal from the Winstanley estate, through Orrell, down to the river at Crooke. But to do this Clarke had to build a stone viaduct at the Pingot to carry the railway over the valley, the first of its type in the world. This year also celebrates 200 years since Daglish built his famous “Yorkshire Horse” to run on the railway – this early steam locomotive predated Stephen’s Rocket by more than a decade. Derek is a local historian who now lives in America but is still passionate about the history of Wigan and therefore it promises to be a great talk.
Wednesday 3rd July. This month we have another regular, Bill Shannon from Lancashire Archaeological Society. In previous visits he’s given us talks on early depictions of Hadrian’s Wall and Maps before Ordinance Survey. This time he will be presenting some interesting Disputed Maps from Tudor Lancashire. Always gives a great talk.
Wednesday 5th June. Ron Cowell is Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology at Liverpool Museum and came along and tell us about his remarkable discoveries in recent excavations on a site near Sefton on Merseyside. The site, which is called Lunt Meadows, is on farmland near the River Alt which is being converted into a nature reserve. Ron’s excavations have revealed Mesolithic settlement dating from 5800 BC. What is remarkable however is that Ron believes he may have found evidence for dwellings. If true, this would be very rare evidence that these nomadic hunter-gatherers were making permanent or semi-permanent settlements. The excavations are still continuing and Ron’s latest discovery is a platform of wooden branches (some of the branches have even been split) which he thinks may have been used as a landing stage on the water’s edge.
Wednesday 1st May. This month we have Dorothy Kazer from Leyland who will be giving us a talk on the history of Leyland with particular reference to the Farington and Charnock families. Both were and ancient landed Lancashire families. The Faringtons lived at Farington Hall until it was lost to them in the mid 16th century. Its successor Old Worden Hall on the ROF site, was abandoned in favour of Shaw Hall in the early 18th century, which was rebuilt as Worden Hall in the mid 19th century. Worden Park was eventually obtained by the council in 1950.
Wednesday 3rd April. This month we have Alex Miller from the Wigan Archive Service. This Service is based at the Leigh Town Hall and Alex will be explaining how it can be used by anyone wanting to research all manner of things from family histories to sites of historical interest. They have thousands of archives which have been meticulousness catalogued for ease of access and a wide range of photographs which can now be viewed online.
This month we had our old friend Ian Miller form Oxford Archaeology North. Last year his company were commissioned to carry out an investigation of a former industrial site at Tottington. It started as a small investigation ahead of a planned removal of a culvert to improve the flow of the Kirklees Brook. This developed into a large scale area excavation involving various volunteer groups from around the district. It revealed quite a lot of evidence of the dyeing and printing operations that was once carried out there in the early 19th century. Ian as usual always gave a great talk on a subject he’s really passionate about.
Wednesday 6th February. This month it’s our AGM but after the usual formalities, Eric Walter (our Chairman) will be giving a presentation explaining the future research projects we are planning for the Society. This year we plan to initiate these projects so that we can hopefully involve members who are not able to do excavation work. The research will involve visiting libraries, visiting sites, photographing and recording the features we see. The Projects include a Town Centre Survey, a Routeway Furniture Survey, a Graveyards Project and a Historic Building Survey. We will also be carrying on with our survey of the Pingot site which was reviewed in last month’s Newsletter (No. 159).
Wednesday 5th December. This month we have our old friend John Johnson from the Horus Egyptology Society who will be telling us about the latest developments on the West Bank at Luxor and particularly the excavations at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The only evidence for this temple are the two huge statues entitled Colossi of Memnon. It turns out however that this temple was enormous, even bigger than Karnak itself. It disappeared quite early on, probably because it was mainly made of mud brick and the constant flooding from the Nile caused it to deteriorate quickly – the rest was robbed by later pharaohs to built their temples and his statues reused changing his name with theirs (even the massive granite statue of Rameses the great in the Ramesseum was probably originally Amenhotep’s). Excavations by German archaeologists over that past 40 years have uncovered more and more remains from this site and are gradually piecing together evidence to show the this pharaoh was probably the greatest builder the New Kingdom and maybe of all time in ancient Egypt. Sounds like a great talk.