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No.85 July 2005

Monthly Newsletter

Roman Road uncovered in Eccles

news8501.jpg (78327 bytes)Excavations are now underway on the Three Sisters site in Ellesmere Park Eccles and it looks like our survey was spot on (see Newsletter 83), as a good section of the Road has been exposed. John Rabbitt, president of the local residence association, is very excited about the results which show section of road approximately six metres wide with possible ditches on either side. John has expressed his gratitude to our society for the help we gave, in particular Joe Russell and Mark Hayward who went down one day last week to show them the rudiments of excavation. The Road consists of a stony surface very similar to the surface we discovered at Brimlow farm last year. They don’t know how deep the section is yet, but there is a nice camber and the south side ditch is showing evidence of a re-cut indicating long-term use. John has a number of schools involved, who are coming down each day in their turn, to help out with the digging and recording. If anybody is interested in visiting the site we will arrange a visit at the meeting.

Tribute to a friend

It is with great sadness to have to report that last month Bill Dawber passed away. He had been ill for some time with cancer, which unfortunately the doctors could not treat. Although he learned of his illness in 2003 Bill showed great determination in attending as many meetings as he could (his last one being March this year). Bill was an active member (was even on the committee for a while), attending the outings and always full of questions at the meetings. Always the first in giving me great moral support in running the society, I will miss him as I’m sure will all who knew him. Our thoughts go out to his wife and family and a donation is being been sent to the Wigan & Leigh Hospice on his behalf.

Darwen Arch. Soc.

Last month saw our ‘geophys’ surveying team up on the moors overlooking Darwen helping the Darwen Archaeological Society pinpoint the line of the Roman road from Manchester to Ribchester. The OS maps seem to indicate that Brocklehead Farm lies directly on the line of the Road as it crosses the fields both north and south. The farmer has obtained planning permission to build a caravan park on his north field with only a watching brief from the County archaeologist. Dorothy Waring, from the local society, is worried that any remains of the road could be effected or even damaged by the development so was keen to establish its exact position. Although the line is shown on the maps, experience has shown that the actual position could be quite a distance away. In fact the results from the resistivity survey indicate a feature running a few metres away to east of the accepted line. Dorothy and her team have now opened up a trench across this position and early results are encouraging with a cobbled surface being exposed. They are well aware, however, that late 18th century mining in the area could be responsible for this feature, so attempts are being made to establish its extent and to see if there are any tell-tale roadside ditches. If you are interested in seeing these excavations please see me at the meeting.

Roman Leisure Centre

news8502.jpg (158315 bytes)David Horrocks (our friend and patron in Canada) and his team of animators have been working feverishly on this reconstruction of the Wigan’s Roman bathhouse and mansio. David has been using accurate plan drawings, supplied by Oxford Archaeology North, to get an exact replica of the buildings that existed in Wigan in the early 2nd century AD. Details are still being refined but I think you will agree they have done a marvellous job, and it promises to be even better when it’s complete with a virtual tour inside the complex. David is currently working on a presentation of Wigan’s Roman Roads and will be soon be making it available on our website together with the virtual tour of the bathhouse complex.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 6th July at the Baden Powell Centre (Scout HQ) in Greenough Street, starting at 7.30 pm as usual. This month our speaker is our long-time favourite John Johnson who will be talking about a special location in Egypt called El Kab. John has visited this place many times now and every time is always amazed by what he finds. Situated 60 miles south of Luxor on the east bank of the Nile, El Kab was regarded as the Royal Capital of the south. The city, which was dedicated to the goddess Nekhbet (represented by a white vulture), was the ritual site of royal coronations of the southern Kings before Egypt was unified. Even before this, El Kab has provided ample evidence of pre-dynastic occupation. In addition, several tombs in the necropolis contain unique military chronicles on the battles with the Hyksos which heralded in 18th dynasty and the start of the New Kingdom
Sounds like a fascinating talk. Summer trip and developments at the Greatacre site will also be discussed at the meeting.
Hope to see you there. B.A.