‘One of the most important excavations Worldwide of the 20th century’ – The Times, Millennium Edition, 1 January 2000.

‘No one excavation had a greater impact on archaeology in Britain in the later twentieth century than Martin Biddle’s project in Winchester in the 1960s’
– Professor John Collis in Great Excavations, edited by John Schofield 2011.

Between 1962 and 1971 the Winchester Excavations Committee carried out the largest programme of archaeological excavations and historical research ever undertaken in a British city. For the first time the centre of interest was the city itself, the urban phenomenon and how it waxed and waned over 2000 years from the Iron Age, through Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval times down to the emergence of the modern city in the Victorian period. In 1968 the Excavations Committee founded the Winchester Research Unit to complete the excavations and historical research and to prepare the results for publication in a series of ‘Winchester Studies’.

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The dates for this year are April 27th – 30th.

Last year’s community archaeological dig, searching for the walls of Hyde’s medieval abbey cloisters, was hugely successful and enjoyable, uncovering exciting finds that turned out to be of international importance.

This year Hyde900 have been invited back to excavate more sites in the area of the abbey cloisters and are confident that there is more to find – more walls and, hopefully, further stonework to help piece together the layout and architecture of the ancient abbey, which is Alfred the Great’s final resting place.

Hyde900 hope that as many people as possible will participate in the dig. It is open to all ages and abilities. Participants can take part in digging, sieving, cleaning finds and various processing activities, and training will be provided by the supervising archaeologists on site.

Hyde900 said, ‘We are keen to involve young people, to give them a taste of hands-on archaeology and how it brings the past to life … a group of pupils will be coming to take part on the opening afternoon of the dig from St Bede’s primary school (which is located next to the abbey precinct). Please do book your children in to come along with you and participate at the weekend or after school on Friday.
We have a great team running this year’s dig. WARG, Winchester’s Archaeology and Local History Group, will once more be providing archaeological supervision and equipment for the dig, and David Ashby of the University of Winchester has again kindly agreed to be advisor for the event.

We are grateful to be sponsored again for this year’s dig by Belgarum Estate Agents, and have just heard that we are going to receive a £1000 grant from the Aviva Community Fund.’

The dig will be filmed, courtesy of Solent Moviemakers, and you will be able to follow all the action as it unfolds with regular blog posts on the website.

Registration is open for this year’s dig on the Hyde900 website now. Go to the website to sign up and be the first to get booking information and updates – or just to find out more information about this year’s dig.

Bookings for specific time slots will open on the website from March 1st.

Reconstruction of the cloister arcade of Hyde Abbey (Photo Mike Caldwell)

The British Historic Towns Atlas of Winchester published by The Winchester Excavations Committee and The Historic Towns Trust was officially launched on Wednesday 15th November at The Guildhall in Winchester. The book is available to order online from Oxbow Books and in local bookstores. Get yours today at a reduced price of £55.

Full details and photos of the event are available to view HERE.