Oxford Archaeology is 40!

To celebrate we have launched this website to showcase our achievements over four decades of archaeology in this country and beyond. You will find stories and pictures from the directors and members of staff, and from clients, partners and the volunteers who have worked with us.

Each week we will be adding new material. Check out our major excavations, most exciting discoveries, key publications and the main events in our 40-year history!

Gill Hey

Yes, I remember dawn at Appleford, John. When they weren't drowned out by rain drumming on the tent canvas, you could hear the larks singing their hearts out. That was until the conveyor started up at about 6 am – the sound of that chug, chug, chug of the empty belt, before the slightly fatter sound about half an hour later as the gravel started going through – will live with me to the end of my days. And then it was up and to the Elsan and a quick wash in a bowl of cold water before trying to find my breakfast stuff amongst the foetid pile of detritus from the night before in the communal caravan. (I kid you not, oh younger diggers.) Another day of digging on the Thames gravels stretched before me, and little did I suspect that this would represent a significant proportion of my future working life. It is powerful example of the ability of the mind to obliterate the memory of pain, for what I remember most about that site was trowelling vast areas (when was the last time people did that?) and I got to do the bit that was thought to be the central area of the settlement - ie there was nothing there! (And it was a Romano-British settlement at that.)

But there was the camaraderie, the nights in the pub, the benders in that caravan and those long weekend treks across the country to party with comrades digging elsewhere – Hailes Abbey, Rudston, Sulgrave, I remember them well! The times have gone but the friends still remain.

Issue 121 of Current Archaeology, published in 1990, featured the work and staff of Oxford Archaeological Unit. We have very kindly been able to make this issue available for download from our website here.

Oxford Archaeological Unit has published a number of newsletters dating from 1978 to 1990. These are available on our Library site and have been added to the TImeline here.

Oxford Archaeology staff have provided images and descriptions of their favourite objects discovered over the years. These are available to view on the Timeline.

In Touch is the Oxford Archaeology internal magazine, now with 26 published issues. The covers of every issue have been added to the timeline


In Touch 26