Abingdon Area Archaeology and History Society

Abingdon Archaeology @ 50 


HLF Project Picture

Abingdon claims to be England’s oldest continuously inhabited town. This claim is based on archaeology, but very little information about this is available to the public. Many Abingdon people live on housing estates where nationally important excavations have taken place, but are completely unaware of this.

Since 1968, the Abingdon Area Archaeological & Historical Society (AAAHS) has carried out over a hundred different archaeological projects in and around Abingdon. Some have produced very important results. However, much has not been published, and the records and finds are of this work are scattered (and, in some cases, at risk of loss). Information about Abingdon’s rich and important archaeology is not easily accessible to residents or visitors.

The Society has been very fortunate, therefore, in its 50thanniversary year, to be awarded a grant of £24,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to put the archives of our past archaeological projects in order and to make information about the archaeology of Abingdon more accessible.

The project is being carried out in partnership with Oxford Archaeology and Oxfordshire County Council’s Archaeology Service. The aims of the project are:

(1)        to create a comprehensive list and archive for all the archaeological projects which the Society has carried out. This will include adding an entry for each project to the Oxfordshire County Historic Environment Record (HER), so that all the results of the Society’s work are public accessible (and also available to influence future planning decisions).

(2)        to create an interactive online map of the archaeology of Abingdon, to enable people to discover what has been found (including on their own housing estates).

(3)        to publish a short and accessible book on to the archaeology of Abingdon.

(4)        to promote the archaeology of Abingdon to the public through a variety of events. We have already mounted an exhibition in Abingdon Museum (July-September 2018), a day of talks (30 June 2018) and a weekend of archaeological activities for children at the Museum (July 2018). Further events will take place over the life of the project.

The project will be done mainly by volunteers (with some professional advice, support and training from staff in Oxford Archaeology). If you would like to volunteer on the project, and get some hands-on experience of dealing with archaeological finds and archives from a wide range of sites, please contact Roger Thomas.


If you have any queries about the project, please contact us via 50@aaahs.org.uk. We will post periodic updates about the project here as work progresses. Some photographs of the work in progress can be found at this link www.noirplus.com



Skull compressed for website

Digging Abingdon's Past


 Abingdon claims to be the oldest continuously-inhabited town in England, with defences that date back to the Iron Age. The AAAHS has carried out numerous excavations in and around Abingdon, and members participate in digs elsewhere.


The main focus of current interest is a small cemetery with at least twenty burials found in the garden of a house in North Abingdon, far from any church or chapel or from the approach roads to the town. Radio-carbon dating suggests that the bones are of the 16th or 17th centuries, a time when burials outside a churchyard are uncommon. They may be the results of an epidemic, or of an otherwise unrecorded Civil War skirmish. Archive research is ongoing.


For further information, or if you want to become involved, please contact diggers@aaahs.org.uk.