The last and smallest of the English regions, Greater London is also the most densely populated region. It spans the City of London and the 32 London Boroughs. This density of population is reflected in the number of archaeological societies available, a selection of which is listed below.

Greater London (Creative Commons)

Instead of forming a single political unit, London is divided into the small, interior City of London and the much wider Greater London. This arrangement has come about because as the area of London grew and absorbed neighbouring settlements, a series of administrative reforms did not fully amalgamate the City of London with the metropolitan area, and its unique political structure was retained. Outside the limited boundaries of the old city, a variety of arrangements governed the wider area since 1855, culminating with the creation of the Greater London administrative area in 1965. (Wikipedia) This history of growth, development and redevelopment provides many archaeological opportunities.

London and Middlesex Archaeological Society

The society was founded in 1855 ‘for the purpose of investigating the antiquities and early history of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Metropolitan County of Middlesex’. Its activities include:

  • arranging lectures and conferences (2012 Conference details – 24th March)
  • publishing research on the history and archaeology of London and Middlesex
  • helping to monitor the state of historic buildings and monuments in Greater London

The society is keen to stimulate the interest of London’s children in the fields of archaeology, local history and historic buildings, and supports the work of the Central London Young Archaeologists’ Club, which organises a wide range of children’s activities.

Membership (£15 for ordinary members) brings a copy of the Transactions (usually published in December), a 4-monthly Newsletter, discounted entry to the Conference and a series of Lectures.

Carshalton and District History and Archaeology Society

Covering the London Borough of Sutton, the society, originally called the “Carshalton Society” and later  the “Beddington, Carshalton and Wallington Society”, was formed in 1920 “…for the purpose of extending knowledge of local history …placing archaeological finds in safe keeping, visiting places of interest and providing instructive lectures”. These remain the aims of the society today.

Membership is £8, monthly meetings are held (non-members are welcomed for a small fee), a range of publications are available at reduced rates, and several visits are arranged throughout the summer months.

Enfield Archaeological Society

Enfield Archaeological Society is active in carrying out research and fieldwork in Enfield, in order to understand the archaeological past of the Borough.

Its main aims are: to promote the practice and study of archaeology in the district; to record and preserve all finds in the district and encourage others to allow their finds to be recorded by the Society; and to co-operate with neighbouring societies with similar aims.

The Society has a Fieldwork and Research Group led by a professional archaeologist. The group works closely with the Borough of Enfield and English Heritage, carrying out surveys and excavations especially on the Scheduled Ancient Monument of Elsyng Tudor Palace in the grounds of Forty Hall.

Ordinary Membership is £9, there are 9 lectures held through the year and a quarterly bulletin (published in March, June, September and December) is free to members, giving details of forthcoming events, reports of past meetings, news of local archaeological discoveries and the results of research by members. A range of publications produced by the society is available.

Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society

Somewhat outside the usual ‘Heritage Action’ prehistory remit, the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society (GLIAS) was founded in 1968 to record relics of London’s industrial history and to deposit these records with national and local museums, archives, etc; also to advise local authorities and others on the restoration and preservation of historic industrial buildings and machinery.

Membership is £12, and benefits include an extensive number of walks and lectures, and a bi-monthly newsletter to keep members in touch with events in industrial archaeology, in London and across the country. There is also an award-winning database with images, articles, glossary entries, biographies and company histories.

Hendon and District Archaeology Society

The society (Hadas), is one of the most active archaeological societies within Greater London. Hadas was founded in 1961 by Themistocles Constantinides with one aim: to find and prove, on the ground, the Saxon origins of Hendon. Since that time the Society has expanded in area, today encompassing the whole of the London Borough of Barnet and excavation and research now covers all archaeological periods. The Hadas Working Party actively conducts field walking, surveying and excavations. There is also a programme of outings and lectures throughout the year. An ongoing project is the digitisation of the society’s Newsletter Archive.

Full membership is £15, and this includes access to an on-line discussion group.

Islington Archaeology and History Society

The society organises lectures, walks, visits and outings throughout the year.  It also arranges regular archaeological site visits for members, usually in the City. It also aims to document archaeological findings in the Islington area. It delights in offering local literary and historic walks by arrangement, from school groups to U3A members.

Membership (£10) brings with it a quarterly Newsletter, incorporating Islington History Journal, and seminars from ten guest lecturers a year.

Orpington and District Archaeological Society

Founded in 1975, the Society promotes the study of archaeology in the Upper Cray Valley by undertaking excavations, carrying out research into the archaeology of the area and encouraging public interest through meetings and visits.

Individual membership is £11.50, and provides the following benefits:

  • quarterly publication, ‘Archives’ – news and articles – free to members
  • assist in excavations
  • help process finds
  • take part in members-only events
  • invitation to join outings
  • social events
  • priority access to public events, often very popular

Richmond Archaeological Society

The Richmond Archaeology Society originated as the Archaeological Section of the Richmond Society in 1977 when a group of enthusiasts decided that there was a need for a local society focusing exclusively on archaeology. Membership of the society now ranges from professional archeologists to interested amateurs It is mainly known for a lively programme of lectures on all aspects of archaeology. It also organises excursions and acts as a forum for local activities.  For those who like to get their hands dirty, the society supplies volunteer support to local activities such as: –

  • Excavations by the TV programme ‘Time Team’ at Syon Abbey and the royal palaces of Richmond and Kew.
  • The Museum of London project to survey the Thames foreshore.
  • Provision of guides for the excavations at Syon House.

Membership is £10, and as well as all of the above, provides a quarterly newsletter.

Useful Links

London and Middlesex Archaeological Society
Carshalton and District History and Archaeology Society
Enfield Archaeological Society
Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society
Hendon and District Archaeology Society
Islington Archaeology and History Society
Orpington and District Archaeological Society
Richmond Archaeological Society

Kingston Upon Thames Archaeological Society (KUTAS)
Merton Historical Society
Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society