to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

January - March 2001

January 2001

The sherd consists of a complete neck and partial handle and has been identified as second century Romano-British
Example of the type of flagon
  Archaeological material is continually falling from cliff faces around the Island due to the constant coastal erosion. Finds are often reported by casual walkers or tourists who are curious as to the identity of a piece. This sherd was found on the beach near Atherfield Point and has been identified and recorded by the County Archaeological Unit before being returned to the finder.
   The piece belongs to a single handled Romano-British flagon of the Antonine period (c. AD 140-190). It is in rough cream Verulamium Region Whiteware from the pottery industry centred around that city (St Albans). This industry supplied London with much of its pottery during late-first and second centuries and has been found as far afield as South Wales and the north of England. The Atherfield flagon was probably brought to the Island by a ship out of London. It could have been shipped as a household utility or as packaging, perhaps containing wine. All that remains of its contents are purply-black residues adhering to the inside surface of the neck.
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February 2001
News Review logo

The newly founded 'Isle of Wight Historical Review' claims it will bring a fresh approach to Island history, perhaps overturning some accepted Iocal legends
  The new organization seems to be heading for controversy in setting out to challenge some of the received accounts carried in many publications on the Island's past. They anticipate revisiting a number of local historical events with a view to reappraisal, as well as uncovering history previously unpublished on the Island.
   A team of five researchers is headed by Tony Cornell. Tony claims much of the Island's history has been disseminated in publications which have merely used previous books as their source. "In some cases episodes have been regurgitated over hundreds of years without anybody going back to the original source documents or, more importantly, checking to see if more sources have come to light. The Internet has opened up far more opportunities for research and we have already found documents which would have been impossible to locate from the Island just a few years ago".
   The new organization will be Internet orientated. They will encourage an email discussion forum and all their reports will be published online in the first instance. Their web site is here but, as yet, it contains only the promise of things to come.

March 2001
During a National Trust survey a human skull was observed protruding from the cliff face 70cm below the surface. The Archaeological Unit were called in to oversee excavation of the site. The body was lying in a large pit or depression but there was no evidence of a proper grave cut.
skeleton    In excavating down to the skeleton few dateable artefacts were found other than very small pottery fragments, ranging from prehistoric to post medieval in date, and small clay pipe fragments.
   The uncovered skeleton lay on its front and did not appear to have been placed with much care. The cranial sutures and epiphyses were unfused indicating it was a young person. The date of the skeleton is, as yet, unknown. There is nearby evidence of Roman, medieval and post medieval occupation, and the recovery of small sherds of Roman pottery in layers beneath the skeleton suggest it's unlikely to be pre-Roman.
   This is the second important archaeological discovery recently exposed on the eroding National Trust coastline and it emphasises the need for continuous monitoring of vulnerable areas of the coast.
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