Plymouth Archaeology Society

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Winter Lecture Season 2021 -2022

Our lectures are held at 7:00 pm in the Devonport Lecture Theatre of the Portland Square Building, University of Plymouth on the first Monday of each month.. PAS members, University staff & students, with valid ID, and all school students are admitted free. All others are welcome but asked to contribute £4 towards our expenses.

No need to book  -  just turn up


4th October 2021


How metal detecting finds shape our understanding of Devon's past

Lucy Shipley

The Portable Antiquities Scheme has had 20 years of recording archaeological finds made by members of the public. Every find makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of the county. In this talk, Lucy will present both some of the individual finds and the stories that they tell about how the present and past collide. This will demonstrate how a chance  find or afternoon out field walking can, when properly recorded, change how we see the past.

1st November 2021


The archaeology of Operation Nightingale and the recovery of military veterans

Richard Osgood

This talk will look at the phenomenon of using archaeology to assist military veterans in their recovery, the discoveries made,  and the future for the programme. Richard is Senior Archaeologist for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) managing  the MOD’s archaeology and directs the archaeology of Operation Nightingale.

6th December 2021


Martin Read

This talk will look at aspects of the development of Plymouth and surrounding areas from the Dark Ages to just prior to the  arrival of the Mayflower, including the reclamation of Sutton Pool and development of the town defences, as well as tide mills,  ropewalks, ferries. Martin’s main focus of research is maritime archaeology and he is a Government Licensee for the protected  Cattewater wreck. The talk will bring together much of his research into the area over the past 30 years.

7th February 2022


Dr Samuel Walls

This talk will look at the excavation of human remains from two sites in Plymouth in advance of development. In Turnchapel,  skeletons were uncovered at what is believed to be a 17th century burial site. All were adult males who may have worked at  the nearby dockyard. Work at the Drake Circus Leisure development in Bretonside also found skeletons in an area where burials  had been removed during the re-modelling of the road system after World War Two. Sam is a Director of SW Archaeology which provides archaeological services to developers mainly across Cornwall, Devon & Somerset.

7th March 2022


Kay Smith

Portugal was the first European nation to sail the length of West Africa, breaking into the Indian Ocean at the beginning of the 16th century. They completely disrupted sea-going trade and very quickly became major players in the vast inter-continental networks that had existed for centuries. This talk will suggest how the Portuguese were able, by a combination of their superior artillery, their great ocean-going ships and their downright thuggishness, to accomplish all this in such a short period. Now retired, Kay worked for nearly 30 years at the Royal Armouries where she was Head of Conservation. She began researching early artillery in the 1980s and, more recently, has carried out work on the early history of blackpowder.

4th April 2022


Prof Terry and Dr Sonia O’Connor

The Baynunah site in the desert of western Abu Dhabi is the first from this region to show that wild dromedary camels were driven in herds into natural traps. Excavation shows that the location was used on a number of occasions, with various levels of butchery taking place. The talk will show the significance of the site and practical challenges that the excavation posed to the small international team. Sonia O’Connor is an archaeological conservator, now working mainly on historic textiles and artefacts made of bone, horn and ivory. Terry O’Connor specialises in the study of animal bones from archaeological sites.