Exploring Abingdon's Past: 50 Years of AAAHS
Sessions Gallery, Abingdon Museum
7 July - 23 September 2018
Time: 10am-4pm Tuesday - Sunday / Admission: Free
For fifty years the Abingdon Archaeological and Historical Society has been at the forefront of research into the town’s past. Its members have excavated sites, examined historic buildings, and scoured archives. This exhibition is designed to show visitors what the society has accomplished as they celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. As well as a display of local archaeological finds there are photographs of past digs and activities, a display of from the Abingdon Building and People group, a how and why the society started and a section looking forward at the challenges and opportunities that the proposed expansion of Abingdon will bring.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES Friday 27th July & Saturday 28th July 2018
Be an archaeologist; take part in object sorting in the Kempster Room, and then experience handling real artefacts in the first floor gallery with guidance from Oxford Archaeology, AAAHS members and volunteers. Children can also become archaeologist explorers with the ‘I-spy quiz’, look for bits of broken pot and bones and find out all about them.
These activities are suitable for accompanied children of all ages.
Location: First Floor Gallery and Kempster Room
Times: morning session 10.30 - 12.30pm / afternoon session 1.30pm - 3.30pm
Other activities available throughout the exhibition are children’s colouring sheets and ‘Abingdon’sHidden Archaeology Trail’. This is for families and adults alike, to venture into Abingdon town centre and visit sites where archaeological discoveries have been made by AAAHS.
SOCIETY’S TALKS 21st July to 29th July 2018
Supporting this exhibition some of our members will be giving talks. They will be giving two identical talks starting at 11.30 am and 1.30 pm and they are Free. No booking is needed but numbers will be limited.
Saturday 21st July ‘MG made in Abingdon: Echoes from the shop floor’- Bob Frampton, First Floor Gallery (37 steps up)
Sunday 22nd and 29th July ‘Discovering and excavating the Abingdon Opthalmosaur’- Jeff Wallis, Second Floor Gallery (90 steps up)
Tuesday 24th July ‘Individual and Corporate Identity’- Jackie Smith, Kempster Room (lift and wheel chair accessible.)
Wednesday 25th July ‘The Medieval Islamic enamelled glass beaker of Lombard Street’- Judy White, First Floor Gallery (37 steps up)
Thursday 26th July ‘The Abingdon Monks’ Map’- Manfred Brod, Kempster Room (lift and wheel chair accessible.)Optional visit to Second Floor Gallery (90 steps up)to see the actual map.
Accessibility: The Kempster Room is located in the museum’s basement and is accessible by steps from the rear of the building, or the lift at the west side of the museum exterior. The basement has wheelchair access.
Acknowledgements: This exhibition has required a considerable amount of work to prepare and was done by the following people: Manfred Brod, Elin Bornemann, Valeria Cambule, Anne Dodd, Elizabeth Drury, Bob Evans, John Foreman, Bob Frampton, Dan Sancisi, Jackie Smith, Andrew Steele, Roger Thomas, Jeff Wallis and Judy White.
We have been supported financially, or by some other means by the following organisations and we wish to especially thank them for their help: Abingdon Town Council, Abingdon County Hall Museum, Penlon, Oxford Archaeology, Oxfordshire Local History Association, Thomas Leach Colour, Heirline Films, and the National Lottery.
To mark its 50th anniversary the AAAHS invites you to an
Abingdon History Day
Saturday, 30 June 2018
At the Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Road, Abingdon OX14 1NS
9.45am to 4.15pm
Book via AbingdonHistoryDay@aaahs.org.uk stating morning, afternoon or all day
9.45 am Welcome and Introduction by BOB EVANS, AAAHS Chairman
10 am JOHN BLAIR: Anglo-Saxon Abingdon: some New Thoughts.
Abingdon has long been well-known as one of the major early medieval centres of the upper Thames region, but recent work on Anglo-Saxon settlement and material culture makes it possible to set it in a wider context. This talk will explore its likely role in the regional power-structures of the seventh to ninth centuries, and will then suggest some new evidence for its re-planning as a tenth-century monastic complex and proto-town.
John Blair is Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology in the University of Oxford, and Fellow of The Queen's College. He is interested in early medieval society, culture and the built environment. His books include The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (2005) and Building Anglo-Saxon England (2018).
11 am DAVID CLARK: Survival of the Fittest? The ups and downs of Abingdon’s buildings over 50 years.
Over 50 years ago, Peter Spokes published a chronological description of the remaining buildings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It was guided by age and ‘architectural merit’. This paper will look at what a similar article published today might say in the light of how perceptions of architectural history have changed in the past 50 years.
David Clark is an architectural historian specialising in vernacular buildings. He has published on medieval shops, timber framing in Berkshire (for the revised Buildings of England volume) and co-authored Burford: buildings and people in a Cotswold townfor the England’s Past for Everyone project. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
12 noon JACKIE SMITH: Abingdon from the Railway Age to the JET Age.
This talk will chronicle the development of Abingdon from the 1860s to the 1980s, covering education, housing, social welfare, post-war expansion, local government reorganisation and influence of county structure planning and continuing growth.
Jackie Smith is Hon Archivist to Abingdon Town Council, to Christ's Hospital, and to the AAAHS. Her particular interest is in all aspects of 19th century Abingdon. She has co-authored three books, one on Abingdon pubs and two on Christ's Hospital and currently contributes monthly articles to the Abingdon Herald.
2 pm GEORGE LAMBRICK: 50 years of Abingdon Archaeology - Past and Future Challenges and Responses.
In many ways, what has happened in Abingdon epitomises the development of archaeology in England. This talk will offer a broad perspective on the practice and achievements of archaeological studies in the Abingdon area in the last 50 years. It will start from the pressures of development and aspirations for research at the time when the Society was founded at the height of a nationwide campaign to conserve and investigate historic towns. Faced once more with unprecedented development pressures, it will end with a brief look into the future.
George Lambrick has been Deputy Director of Oxford Archaeology and Director of the Council for British Archaeology and is currently active in various heritage and conservation bodies. He has published extensively about the archaeology of the Thames Valley, and is an Honorary Vice President of the AAAHS.
3 pm ROGER THOMAS: The archaeology of Abingdon, 1968 to 2018 – what have we learned?
Fifty years on from the foundation of the Society, it is opportune to take stock: what did we know of Abingdon’s archaeology in 1968, what we have learned from the following half-century of intensive work, and what should our priorities for the future be? A picture emerges of Abingdon as a place of enormous archaeological interest, and one which is still yielding surprises.
Roger Thomas grew up in Abingdon. He was a founder member of the Society and went on to become a professional archaeologist, working for Historic England until 2017. He has lectured and published widely, including on the archaeology of Abingdon. He was Chairman of the Society between 2008 and 2014.
4 pm BOB EVANS: Summing up and closing remarks.
For a printable version of the programme click here.
Please be aware that there is only limited parking at the Northcourt Centre, but it is usually possible to park in the side roads round about. Buses X3 and X13 between Oxford and Abingdon pass within a short walk from the venue. Alight at the Boundary House.
If you are staying over lunchtime (1-2 pm), you will be able to eat your sandwiches at the Northcourt Centre and tea and coffee will be available. Sandwiches can usually be bought at the local shops. Lunches are available at the Spread Eagle or at the Barns Café, both close by, but they tend to be busy and prior booking is advisable.
Click here to download an index to the archives arranged by category. Alternatively, go directly to the archive files.