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]