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The second region in our brief roundup of Archaeological Societies is the SouthEast. For the purposes of our summary, this includes the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.
Containing some of the most densely populated areas of the country, the SouthEast has a plethora of societies, from small local village societies, up to organisations covering entire counties (Sussex Past is purported to be the largest county society in the country).
Berkshire Archaeology Research Group
The Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG) conducts archaeological research in Berkshire and is open to anyone with an interest in archaeology. If you combine a curiosity about man’s past with an interest in working both outdoors and indoors in pursuit of evidence by archaeological methods, this could be the Group for you. A voluntary group with an interest in uncovering evidence for human activity in the Royal County across a broad period from prehistoric times right through to the post-medieval and modern periods. Membership at £12 provides a quarterly newsletter and opportunities to join in the group’s activities, practical archaeology and projects.
Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society
Founded in 1847, and one of the oldest societies in the country, the BAS covers the old county of Bucks from Milton Keynes in the north, to Eton in the south. Members receive an annual Journal (and are invited to contribute articles) and two newsletters a year, and can take part n a wide range of activities including winter lectures and year round visits. A reference library of books, pamphlets and archive material is available for use. Individual membership is £12, other rates are available.
North Bucks Archaeological Society
An active amateur organisation based in the North Bucks area. Aiming to provide a forum and a focal point for people interested in archaeology, their ambition is to broaden the popularity of archaeology by arranging talks and lectures, as well as increasing the known archaeology of North Bucks by carrying out practical work such as digs and field walking. Membership is £20 and activities include lectures, site visits, research and practical work as well as social activities.
Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society
The society aims are to investigate the history and pre-history of the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane, and to stimulate interest in archaeological and historical studies. Membership (£16) provides entry to the Society’s lectures, and a copy of the regular Newsletter containing details of the Society’s activities.
North East Hampshire Historical & Archaeological Society
With an interest in historical and archaeological matters relating to North East Hampshire, members are encouraged to take part in research, field work and excavations. No previous experience is needed to join the Society as guidance and training can be provided. Regular twice-monthly meetings are held, and at least three newsletters a year are published. A substantial library is available for members’ use.
Kent Archaeological Society
The aims of the society are “To promote the study and publication of archaeology and history in all their branches, especially within the ancient county of Kent.” Much of the County has been lost to London since 1857 so the “ancient county” is treated as including the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham, as well as Medway and the administrative county. The Society’s interests are not confined to fieldwork. Its objects cover archaeology and local history in the widest sense. They include historic buildings, genealogy, industrial archaeology and local history though it is not always active in all these fields.
The Society has over 1,500 members, many outside the County or overseas, and welcomes new members who support its objects. Individual membership is £25 and provides an approximate 300 page hardbound annual journal, Archaeologica Cantiana, a newsletter 3 times a year, use of the society’s library and discounts on society publications. Some back issues of the Newsletters are available for viewing on the website.
Surrey Archaeological Society
The Society was founded in 1854 for ‘the investigation of subjects connected with the history and antiquities of the County of Surrey‘. Training digs are organised to help beginners and the Society owns geophysical and other equipment for use by the field survey teams.
Ordinary Members pay an annual subscription of £25.00. They receive the annual Collections (which contains excavation and fieldwork reports) and the Bulletin (a bi-monthly newsletter); have use of the Society’s Library; may attend lectures, visits etc, usually at a discounted rate; and may attend all general meetings of the Society.
Sussex Archaeological Society
In addition to opening historic properties and museums to the public, the society (the largest county society in the Uk) is active in the fields of archaeological and historical research in Sussex.
Individual membership at £32.50 is a little higher than most societies we’ve listed here, but in addition to the usual membership benefits of journals and newsletters provides free access to the society’s own properties. Also, half price entry to selected English Heritage properties in the area is available.
Those societies mentioned above:-
- Berkshire Archaeology Research Group
- Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society
- North Bucks Archaeological Society
- Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society
- Hampshire Historical & Archaeological Society
- Kent Archaeological Society
- Surrey Archaeological Society
- Sussex Archaeological Society
Some other societies in the area:-
- Archaeology in Marlow
- Marlow Archaeological Society
- Bexley Archaeological Group
- Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group
- Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society
- Surrey Heath Archaeology & Heritage Trust
- Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society
- Chichester & District Archaeology Society
- Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society
- Wallingford Historical & Archaeological Society