Welwyn Archaeological Society

Sites surveyed in Hertfordshire and immediate environs.
Dr Kris Lockyear

The Welwyn Archaeological Society (WAS) was founded by Tony Rook and his wife Merle in 1960 after the discovery of Roman tiles on a spoil-heap during the construction of a motorway. WAS was instrumental in preserving the Roman Baths near the A1 which are open to the public periodically.

The society holds a series of lectures from September – April and publishes three newsletters a year detailing the societies current research and news and organises at least one coach outing a year.

WAS is now led by Dr Kris Lockyear, BA, MSc, PhD, FSA, Senior Lecturer at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. He is a leading expert in the field of geophysical surveying which encompasses a range of non-invasive remote sensing techniques.

Following pioneering work by the SAHAAS’ Roger Miles and Bob Martin in the use of non-invasive techniques (see box below), Kris began an ambitious geophysical survey in 2013 of many Hertfordshire sites, including a magnetrometry survey of Verulamium which is now largely complete. SAHAAS volunteers played a significant part in this survey.

The resistivity instrument that we use has been developed by members of the Archaeology Group over the past four years for SAHAAS … How does it work? Pretty simple concept: measure the local electrical resistance of the soil and look for high and low values. If there’s a buried wall you would expect high readings because of the stone; if there’s a filled-in ditch, you might expect the reading to be low if the ditch was filled with material that was wetter than the surrounding soil.  [Extract from article by Bill Martin in Newsletter 162, August 2006]