Thursday 18 January

‘The Bedford Roman Villa Project: community archaeological investigations

at Manton Lane and its Roman setting’ by Mike Luke

This talk will describe the discovery and give an account of the investigations to date of a possible Roman villa at Manton Lane, Bedford. Due to the unusual circumstances surrounding its discovery it has only been examined in a piecemeal manner by a mix of professional and community-lead projects.

The recovered evidence indicates that the site contains masonry buildings with painted walls, glazed windows and at least one room which featured an underfloor heating system (hypocaust). In addition, the presence of stucco work, a rare type of decorative moulding found at only a handful of Roman sites in Britain, including Fishbourne Roman Palace, suggests that at least one of the buildings had elaborate internal decoration. Surprisingly, very few villas have been found in the Bedford area and possible reasons for this will be discussed in the talk.

Mike Luke of Albion Archaeology provided professional help and guidance to the project. He spoke to FEAG about ‘Life in the Biddenham Loop’ in January 2013.


Tuesday 13 February

‘Roman glass: abundant, bright and beautiful’ by Denise Allen

(NB: Meeting at Willingham Baptist Church)

Glass is a most remarkable material. Its manufacture is a sort of alchemy, with plentiful cheap ingredients producing a completely new and wonderful substance: clear, colourful, versatile, waterproof and resilient – unless it breaks, when it can be easily recycled. It existed long before the Romans, but they revolutionised its use, and it continues to be a vital commodity in every aspect of life today.

Denise Allen completed her PhD on Roman Glass in Britain more than 30 years ago, and has continued to be involved in glass studies ever since, although for many years she was side-tracked as a director of an archaeological travel company, leading and organising tours around the world. She has written many reports on assemblages, mainly from Britain,  and is secretary of the Association for the History of Glass. She will summarise what we know about Roman glass, including its manufacture, trade, uses, forms and decorations, and provide some guidelines as to identification.


 Thursday 15 March

‘A bone to pick: (zoo)archaeology of the Cambridge region’ by Vida Rajkovaca

Further details will be available soon.

 Tuesday 10 April

‘Before the flood: the late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of the Fenland’

by Lawrence Billington

Further details will be available soon.

Thursday 17 May

‘Stonehenge: new discoveries’ by Mike Parker-Pearson 

Further details will be available soon.

Wednesday 3 October

‘The archaeology of Waterbeach New Town: A lost Roman settlement’

by Stephen Macaulay

Further details will be available soon.

(NB: Meeting at Landbeach Village Hall)

Thursday 22 November

‘Herculaneum: an archaeological postcard from the Edge’

by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill

Followed by the AGM

Further details will be available soon.