Dame Mary Fagan, DCVO, JP
The Right Worshipful Mayor of Winchester (ex officio)
The Dean of Winchester
The Winchester Project
The programme of archaeological excavations carried through in Winchester under the direction of Professor Martin Biddle from 1961 to 1971 was first undertaken at the instigation of the late Mr. Roger Quirk, C.B. In that first campaign in 1961 the objectives were limited to a single site and essentially to a single problem: to recover in the face of impending destruction whatever remained in one particular spot of the buildings of the Anglo-Saxon New Minster. It was impossible in those days to work in Winchester for a long Summer and not to realise the untapped wealth of the city’s archaeology, and the extent to which it was threatened with elimination through the demands of modern development for roads and buildings. With this in mind the Winchester Excavations Committee was formed at the suggestion of Martin Biddle the following year, under the chairmanship of the mayor of 1961-2, Councillor (later Alderman) Mrs. E. C. Neate, J.P. The committee undertook excavations in Winchester for ten successive years from 1962 to 1971, and from 1964 to 1970 was fortunate to enjoy the collaboration of the University of North Carolina and Duke University.
By 1966 the results of the Committee’s work were such that their evaluation and publication could only be secured by the creation of a full-time unit charged with this task. The Winchester Research Unit was set up in the autumn of 1968 with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the British Academy, the Department of the Environment, the Hampshire County Council, the Winchester Corporation, I.B.M., and many other bodies. The results of its work are being published in the series ‘Winchester Studies’.