Digging into the past at Oliver's Battery

Press Release: 30/08/2005

For the past year local volunteers at Oliver's Battery, near Winchester, have been delving into records and looking at aerial photographs and documentary sources to find out more about their parish as part of a Heritage Project. Now they have the chance to get their hands dirty!

In September they will be carrying out a small archaeological excavation in the garden of the parish hall to try to find traces of a now buried part of the Oliver's Battery earthwork, from which the parish takes its name.

Recent research suggests that the Battery does not date from the time of the Civil War but may be much earlier, as a previous excavation in 1930 indicates an Iron Age or Roman date. It is hoped that the new investigation will provide evidence to confirm this.

The excavation is taking place over the Winchester Open Weekend (WOW) on Saturday and Sunday 10 and 11 September, a free event which allows locals and visitors to explore some of the most intriguing sites and buildings in the district .

Although the excavation is being undertaken by local volunteers, WOW visitors will be able to view the work and talk to archaeology experts from Winchester City Council's museums service who are supporting the project.

An exhibition in the church hall will reveal more about the parish's history, from the prehistoric period through to the modern era. The excavation and exhibition are just one part of the Oliver's Battery Heritage Project, which aims to get local people involved in their own heritage.

Councillor Therese Evans, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport said "This project is an excellent example of local people working to discover more about their history and heritage, from earliest times to the present day. At the same time their investigations are adding valuable new information about the origins and development of human activities in the countryside around Winchester".

The excavation is being undertaken with the kind permission of the Parish of St Luke and St Mark. Visitors can view the excavations between 10am and 4pm and the exhibition between noon and 4.30pm during the WOW weekend at St Mark's Church Hall, Oliver's Battery Road South.

For further information contact: Richard Whinney, Principal Heritage Services Officer on 01962 848 481 or Tracy Matthews, Sites and Monuments Officer, on 01962 848 380 or email museums@winchester.gov.uk