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The East of England includes the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The area is one of the flattest in the UK. Cambridgeshire is part of The Fens. The lowest point in the region, and indeed the UK is Holme Fen, which is 3 metres below sea level, whilst Dunstable Downs marks the high point at 243 metres.

East of England region (Creative Commons)

Archaeologically speaking, this is of course home to the Iceni, Trinovantes and Catuvellauni tribes of pre-Roman Britain. Camulodunum was the main town of the Trinovantes, and later became a colonia – a settlement of discharged Roman soldiers – and the principal city of Roman Britain. There is also a wealth of WWII archaeology in the area due to the number of airfields established here at that time.

Ampthill and District Archaeological and Local History Society

Founded in 1962, in common with many other societies the winter months provide a series of lectures, whilst in summer visits are arranged to excavations, and other interesting sites. Geophysical surveys are carried out in the local areas using the Society-owned resistivity meter, and pseudo-section equipment. Limited excavations are mounted, normally in a rescue context.

Membership is £8, but attendance at lectures etc is extra. The society has produced a range of publications and reports, many of which are downloadable from the web site.

Cambridge Archaeology Field Group

The group was formed in 1978 to carry out practical archaeology in the Cambridge area and also try to promote interest in archaeology through activities such as talks. Activities include Fieldwalking (most Sundays from Autumn to Spring), Excavations, Processing and finds analysis and Talks. Individual membership is £8. There is an interesting article (PDF format) entitled ‘What is Fieldwalking?‘ available for download from the web site.

East Herts Archaeological Society

The society offers:

  • Access to research collections held at Ware Museum
  • Links to current archaeological digs in East Herts where volunteers are welcome
  • A regular lecture series with experts presenting illustrated talks on local and international archaeology, and on local buildings and other historical topics
  • Excursions throughout the summer led by experts in their field

Annual subscription is £10, members receive a newsletter and a copy of the annual journal.

Essex Society for Archaeology and History

Formed in 1852, the society are proud of their record as well over 10,000 pages of reports have been published on archaeological sites and numerous aspects of the County’s history since then.

Membership offers a regular program of excursions to many historic sites not usually open to the public, a series of lectures and seminars, access to a growing library at Essex University in Colchester and copies of the regular newsletter and annual journal .

Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society

The Society is one of the oldest archaeological societies in the country. Throughout its history it has attracted all those interested in the archaeology and history of Norfolk. Membership has included amateur and professional archaeologists, but the vast majority of members are simply those who are fascinated by the history, archaeology, buildings and ancient sites in the area in which they live.

Individual membershp is £16, bringing all the usual benefits of newsletters, a journal and access to society events. The society also runs a branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club for young people aged 8-16. YAC is managed by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), who provide training, insurance, and support for all the branches.

North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society

North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society was established in 1960 and has undertaken a wide range of research into the archaeology and heritage of the district since then. It has a regular lecture programme, occasional visits and guided walks, and is involved in local fieldwork, including survey and excavation. Today, the Society still thrives. It provides lectures, visits and social events as well as published information and has a healthy membership still drawn from people in the North Hertfordshire and South Bedfordshire districts with a keen interest in the past.

Individual membership is £15, The North Hertfordshire Antiquary is a regular newsletter sent to members. Electronic versions are sent to those who have email accounts. Publications of the results of the Society’s fieldwork have been through journals, interim reports, monographs and, more recently, the web. The volume of work undertaken by the Society means that some sites await final publication, which is in hand.

Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History

Founded in 1848 the Institute is Suffolk’s largest and oldest archaeological and historical society. For a century and a half it has played an important role in encouraging and publishing research on Suffolk’s past. For those interested in taking an active part in archaeological field-work, the Field Group provides an opportunity to learn about and participate in practical work. The group has close links with the Suffolk Archaeological Service and with local museums.

A Single membership is £20 which provides a copy of the annual Proceedings, a regular newsletter, excursions and lectures. Publications are available at discounted prices for members.

West Essex Archaeological Group

Formed in 1958, the prime objective of the Group is “to promote the advancement of knowledge and education by a study of archaeology, history and kindred subjects particularly in West Essex”. The Group has organised and carried out excavations in West Essex since the 1960’s. In the Group’s early days our most important excavation was of the Romano-British temple at Harlow. During the construction of the M11 motorway the Group excavated several sites revealed by the work, and prior to the construction of the M25 the Group, in cooperation with other similar groups in Essex and Hertfordshire, carried out fieldwalking along the proposed route.

Adult Membership is £12, the society has a respected reputation for always publishing reports on its excavations, so a wide range of publications and Transactions is available.

Useful Links

Ampthill and District Archaeological and Local History Society
Cambridge Archaeology Field Group
East Herts Archaeological Society
Essex Society for Archaeology and History
Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society
North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society
Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History
West Essex Archaeological Group

Aldeburgh and District Local History Society
Blakeney Area Historical Society
Cambridge Antiquarian Society
Colchester Archaeology Group
Gt Yarmouth & District Local History & Archaeological Society
Maldon Archaeological and Historical Group
South East Essex Archaeological and Historical Society


February 2012

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