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Middle Nene Archaeological Group

MidNAG Previous Events


Annual Dinner

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Remembering Bannockburn with a feast of Scottish delicacies, tickets are £17.00, please bring your own drink.

Venue: Glapthorn Village Hall.

Quiz Night

Saturday 07 March 2015

7:30pm, tables of 6 to 8, tickets £8 per person to include a two course supper. Bring your own drinks.

Venue: Glapthorn Village Hall.

Peterborough Heritage Festival

Saturday, 21 June 2015 and Sunday, 22 June 2015


MidNAG had a stand at the heritage festival in Peterborough, which saw the first city centre joust in several hundred years.

Venue: Peterborough Cathedral precincts and Cathedral Square

The Historic Environment Record: Sarah Botfield

Friday, 26th September 2014


Sarah is the Historic Environment Records Officer for Peterborough City Council, and a member of the Nene Valley Archaeological Group and MidNAG. Sarah will talk about this important resource which is little known but which is of immense value in planning, research and local history.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Now it can be told - a miscellany of misconceptions: John Hadman

Friday, 24th October 2014


Archaeological howlers from past exam papers: For many years John was a senior examiner for O level, later GCSE and A level Archaeology. Like many others, he is concerned about the future of the subject in further education.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

The Oundle area after the Romans: Dr Steven Upex

Friday, 28th November 2014


Tickets at £8 for this joint meeting will be available from both Oundle Museum and MidNAG chairman. .

Venue: Please note the location of this event is the Joan Strong Centre, East Road, Oundle, Northamptonshire, PE8 4BZ

Mediaeval Gardens: Rev. David Bond

Friday, 6 February 2015


David is well known for his wide knowledge of the history of our area and has chosen to speak on this unusual subject.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Building Curiosities: Colin Ray

Friday, 27 March 2015


Colin is well known in Oundle for his interest in all things historic, particularly old buildings. This lecture was postponed from the 2013-1014 season.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Milestones in the East Midlands: Michael Knight

Friday, 01 May 2015


Michael Knight has been the local representative of the Milestone Society for many years. This society was recently featured in Current Archaeology magazine and identifies, records and conserves not only milestones, but waymarkers, toll houses and canal side markers. He will talk about his work, mainly in the East Midlands.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church


Walk around Roman Godmanchester

Sunday, 4th October 2015

Shirley Walsh will led a walk round Roman Godmanchester. Shirley is a member of MidNAG, but is also involved in current research into the archaeology of her home town and is an active member of the Godmanchester Museum.

The Battle of Waterloo – a defining moment: Paul Chamberlain

Friday, 25th September 2015


Paul is an author and expert on the Napoleonic Wars and has a long connection with the Norman Cross Eagle Committee. He will talk on the brutal clash of June 18, 1815.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Recent archaeological findings at Peterborough Cathedral: Jackie Hall

Friday, 30th October 2015


Dr. Hall is Cathedral Archaeologist at Peterborough Cathedral. She is currently researching the precincts and is concerned with the conservation programme of the Mediaeval painted ceiling.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Annual Dinner

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Our Annual Dinner this year celebrated the victory at Waterloo.

The Prebendal Manor Gardens, Nassington: Mike Brown

Friday, 5th February 2016


Mike has recreated a high status garden using mediaeval texts. The planting is designed to be both useful and beautiful and Mike will illustrate all the different aspects of the garden.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

In search of Northampton Castle: Andy Chapman, FSA

Friday, 8th April 2016


Andy has long connections with archaeology in Northamptonshire and is now working on behalf of MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) on development areas in Northampton, including the Norman Castle. This castle was an important one, sometimes hosting meetings of Parliament and trials such as that of Thomas Becket.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Quiz Night

Saturday, 16th April 2016

Quiz night was held at Glapthorn Village Hall.

Recent archaeological work in the Welland Valley: Bob Hatton

Friday, 6 May 2016


Bob lectures in archaeology at the University Centre, Peterborough and has also excavated sites all over the UK, most recently in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Excavation at Nassington

Saturday ,13 August 2016 to Saturday 27 August 2016

The Group carried out a small excavation of of what turned out to be part of a Roman farmstead near Nassington. The barn had at least two phases, one being burnt down and replaced by another on a slightly different alignment. Nearby structures included an oven and corn-drier (not fully excavated)


Archaeological field trip to Northumberland

Saturday, 10 September 2016

to Saturday,

Field Trip

A look at some of the Roman and other period sites along Hadrian's Wall from Maryport to Wallsend

Venue: Hexham

Life and Work of Capability Brown

Speaker: Dr Twigs Way

7:00pm. Friday, 30 September 2016


Dr Twigs Way is an internationally known Landscape Historian; she has appeared on Gardener's World and Woman's Hour and is the author of a wide range of books and articles. Her degree from the University of Cambridge was in Archaeology. In this anniversary year she has naturally concerned herself with Brown's legacy and we are lucky that she had a date in her schedule when she could come to Oundle

Venue: The Hub at Oundle Town Council, Fletton House, Fletton Way, Glapthorn Road, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 4JA
Location map (Google)

The Torpel Manor Project: Mike Clatworthy, The Langdyke Countryside Trust

Friday, 4th November 2016


The Langdyke Trust is a community environmental group based in the Helpston area. One of its projects is to study the archaeology of Torpel Manor Field, a complex, multi period site about which little was known. The project has also involved the University of York Department of Archaeology.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Annual Dinner

Saturday, 26 November 2016, 7:00pm for 7:30

Our Annual Dinner this year will commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Contemporary recipes, sometimes with unusual ingredients will provide a tasty meal. View some photos of the evening

Venue: Glapthorn Village Hall, Main Road, Glapthorn, Northamptonshire, PE8 5BE.

Location map (Google)

The Holme Fen Spitfire Project

Speaker: Louise Rackham and Mandy Corney

Friday, 3 February 2017


A Rhodesian Airforce Spitfire came down on Holme Fen in 1940, killing the young pilot. Cranfield University used geophysical techniques to discover the plane in 2015, and excavations began in October of that year. This is the rest of the story.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Excavations at Nassington

Speaker: Derek Roberts, Pre-Construct Archaeology

7p.m. on Friday, 24 February 2017


Derek was site director for the MidNAG excavation of what proved to be part of a Roman farmstead in August last year, and summarised the excavations so far.

Update: Wow, what a turn-out. We packed out the village hall, it was standing room only at the back. Thank you all for your interest, and watch out for details of the excavation later in 2017

Venue: Nassington Village Hall

Roman Bedfordshire: Back of beyond or Imperial Estate?

Speaker: David Ingham, Albion Archaeology

Friday, 24 March 2017


Unlike the rich villa landscape that can be seen in neighbouring counties such as Northamptonshire, Roman Bedfordshire largely represents an area that was devoid of villas. Excavations within the county have revealed many low-status farmsteads with few indications of wealth. Digging Roman sites in Bedfordshire may not provide many spectacular finds, but what are the possible reasons behind the disparity?

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

A panel of experts will identify your objects

Friday, 5 May 2017


A panel of experts will be on hand to try to identify and explain any artefacts or objects you care to bring.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church

Visit to John Clare's Cottage and Torpel Manor

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Field Trip

View the earthworks at Torpel Manor after the lecture earlier in the year, and find out about the life of John Clare, "The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" who was so familiar with the land now managed by the Langdyke Countryside Trust.

Venue: Helpston, Peterborough.

Location map (Google)

Peterborough Heritage Festival

Saturday, and Sunday, 17 & 18 June 2017


MidNAG will had a stand at the heritage festival in Peterborough city centre. Did you spot us?

Venue: Peterborough Cathedral precincts and Cathedral Square

Excavation of a Roman site at Nassington

Saturday, 02 September 2017


The Group continued last year's excavation of what turned out to be part of a Roman farmstead (a barn?) near Nassington. The barn had at least two phases, one being burnt down and replaced by another on a slightly different alignment. Nearby structures included an oven and corn-drier (not fully excavated).

We primarily excavated further into the middle of the structure to find out more about its phases, Towards the end (of course), we also discovered that the Romans had probably done some landscaping at the eastern end, but that wil have to wait to be investigated next year.


The Rothwell Charnel House Project

Friday, 29 September 2017

Speaker: Dr Jenny Crangle


Holy Trinity Church at Rothwell has one of only two mediaeval ossuaries in situ in England. Dr Crangle is an osteo-archaeologist who was one of the directors of the project to analyse the bones.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church.

Excavations at Nassington 2017

Friday, 27 October 2017

Speaker: Derek Roberts


Derek directed the excavations at Nassington again in our second year at the site, and will give an update on what has been found this year.

Treasure and the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Friday, 02 November 2017

Speaker: Eleanor Cox


Ellie has worked for the PAS since 2011 and is the Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Northamptonshire.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church.

Annual Dinner: Food of the British Raj

Saturday, 25 November 2017 at 7:30PM


It is 70 years ago that the British left the subcontinent, leaving behind a distinctive cuisine that developed as the Memsahibs struggled to provide British dishes. New dishes such as kedgeree, mulligatawny soup. and chutney became popular and were brought back home. It isn't all curry or “hot”, and we are confident you will enjoy the menu.

Excavations at Must Farm near Whittlesey, Peterborough

The excavation of the structure of a Bronze Age house at Must Farm

Friday, 7:30PM 16 March 2018

Speaker: Dr Mark Knight

Special Lecture

Mark Knight of the University of Cambridge, and Current Archaeology (CA) magazine Archaeologist of the Year 2017, directed the excavation of the best preserved Bronze Age settlement ever found in Britain. We are privileged that Dr Knight is in Oundle to present his account of this now world famous site. Mark and his team also won the Rescue Project of the year award.

More information about Must Farm can be found in the CA Flag Fen basin review article, and the project's own website

Thanks to Mark for a brilliant lecture.

Location map (Google)

Chester Farm: the latest archaeological discoveries

The excavations at Chester Farm in July 2017 with the farmhouse undergoing reconstruction in the background

Friday, 23 March 2018, 7:30PM

Speaker: Dr Ian Meadows


Ian is the archaeologist responsible for all excavations undertaken at Chester Farm, and will talk to us about this amazing heritage site and its 10,000 years of history. He will also tell us how the knowledge of the Roman town especially has developed from the recent excavations.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church.

Probing Peakirk’s Past: The Archaeology of a Fen-edge Settlement

Peakirk street scene of flooding from a postcard

Friday, 04 May 2018, 7:30PM

Speaker: Dr Avril Lumley-Prior


Peakirk is a rural settlement on the western margins of Borough Fen, formerly in the Soke of Peterborough, Northamptonshire, now in Cambridgeshire. The place-name is derived from St Pega, ‘England’s’ first anchoress, who reputedly founded a cell here in the early 800s. Whilst Peakirk’s history is well-documented from the eleventh-century onwards, archaeological evidence indicates that the area first was colonised by Neolithic folk and that there was almost-continuous activity in the heart of the present village from the Romano-British period onwards.

Dr Prior will tell Peakirk’s story through a combination of archaeology, architecture, cartography, topography, photographs and written sources. It also features the work of PAST (Peakirk Archaeological Survey Team), an independent, self-funding group, whose recent projects have included re-plotting the route of the Roman watercourse, the Car Dyke, dispelling the ‘tradition’ of a Romano-British villa, rediscovering ‘lost’ buildings and revealing more about Peakirk’s diverse and secret heritage.

Venue: Oundle Methodist Church.


Peterborough Cathedral: 900 years of history

The west front of Peterborough Cathedral

Speaker: Stuart Orme

Friday, 28th September at 7:30PM


Celebrating the 900th anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral. Stuart is now Curator of the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon, after some years as Director of Operations at Peterborough Cathedral.

Fields in the Landscape

Looking across a green landscape with fields and hedgerows

Speaker: Steve Upex

Friday, 02 November at 7:30PM


Steve was a founder of our society and is one of the foremost experts on the archaeology of the Nene Valley.

Representations of the tangible world in late Neolithic ceramics

Collage of decorated Neolithic pottery sherds (Grooved Ware) from Down Farm, Wiltshire

Speaker: Sarah Botfield

Friday, 01 February at 7:30PM


Sarah is conducting research for her PhD on how patterns in living things and the landscape influenced the decoration of Neolithic pottery.

Excavations at Nassington in 2018

The excavated Iron Age Pit and part of the drainage ditch on the west side of a trackway

Speaker: Derek Roberts

Friday, 15 February at 7:30PM


Our site director, Derek Roberts, will bring us up to date on the third year of excavations in and around a Roman farmstead at Nassington. This year, as well as more evidence of the Romans, their Iron Age predecessors featured strongly; a small part of a large ditch with ox-head deposit at its base, and several pieces of pottery from a rubbish pit adjacent to a trackway were found.

Read the interim report on excavations 2016-2018 (PDF, 100KB)

The History and Heritage of Thorney

Stonework frieze of saints on the side of Thorney Abbey

Speaker: Dorothy Halfhide

Friday, 1 March at 7:30PM


We started a mini-tradition of talks about villages with Peakirk last year and now follow it up with this one on Thorney, a village about 8 miles to the east of Peterborough. The village has an Anglo-Saxon origin, but is well known for its nearby Abbey, and the model village buildings put up by the Dukes of Bedford. Dorothy is a prominent member of the Thorney Society and Thorney Heritage Museum.

The archaeology of the Oundle Area

Photo-collage: a Roman mosaic floor, aerial view of Fortheringhay and four pieces of Roman Nene Valley colour-coated pottery

Speaker: Dr Stephen Upex F.S.A.

Friday, 15 March at 7:30PM

Special Lecture

Steve has written extensively on the archaeology of the Nene Valley area and wider East Midlands areas. His excavations locally include the Roman town of Ashton, situated just outside Oundle, the fort at Water Newton, and Anglo-Saxon site at Polebrook. He was previously Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Brunei, and is currently a tutor at Cambridge University, as well as an independent archaeological consultant.

The archaeology of the A14

Aerial photo of the excavation of a barrow near the River Ouse, near Brampton, Huntingdonshire

Speaker: Tony Walsh

Friday, 3 May at 7:30PM


Tony is a project manager with Headland Archaeology, working on this massive multi-period venture. The excavations ahead of the major A14 upgrade between Huntingdon and Cambridge were nominated for the Current Archaeology magazine 'Rescue Project of the Year 2019' award.

Representing the Megalith

Megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar, Stenness, Orkney Islands in the evening sunshine

Speaker: Paul Stamper

Friday 27th September 2019


A highly illustrated talk which considers how archaeological sites and landscapes have been depicted from the Middle Ages to the present.

Exhibition about the excavations at Nassington

The exhibition cabinet in Oundle Museum displaying maps, plans and artefacts from the excavations

1st March to 30th October 2019


Oundle Museum now has a small exhibition with some of the artefacts found during our excavations at Nassington in 2016-2018, including

  • an ox-skull found at the bottom of an Iron Age ditch
  • a large, partially reconstructed, mortarium
  • part of a jet bracelet, with a very similar design to others found at Hungate, York
  • part of a child's copper bracelet
  • quernstones
  • plus, aerial photos and geophysical survey plots and interpretations, and
  • a summary of the excavations so far

Head upstairs to see the exhibition, opposite the Remand Cell. The Museum also has plenty of other archaeological exhibits, especially from Ashton Roman town, just outside Oundle itself.

Read the interim report on the excavations in 2016-2018 (PDF, 100KB)

Venue: Oundle, Northamptonshire.

The Roman Stoke on Trent

Samian ware bowl: a Dragendorff form 37, stamped by the South Gaulish potter Mercato. Late 1st century AD

Speaker: Geoff Dannell

Friday 25th October 2019


Geoff is one of our members and an internationally acclaimed expert on Samian pottery (Terra Sigillata), having studied the potteries at La Graufesenque,near Millau, Aveyron in France. He will explain how the potteries developed and the distinctive fabric and glossy red finish was achieved.

Ötzi – the life, death and environment of a prehistoric glacier mummy

The body of Ötzi the Iceman melting out of the glacier with inset image of Prof. Klaus Oeggl

Speaker: Prof. Klaus Oeggl

Wed 20th November 2019, 7:30PM

Special Lecture

In 1991, walkers found a frozen body in the Ötzal Alps, on the Italian-Austrian border. What at first appeared to be a recent tragic accident, soon became a sensation as it was discovered that the body was that of a 5,000 year old man, fully dressed and equipped to hunt - made more dramatic by the realisation that that he had been shot by an arrow. He was quickly dubbed Ötzi after the place where he was found, and research on the body and it's environment has continued ever since.

You don't come face-to-face with a Copper Age person every day, and this is a unique opportunity to hear the latest thinking from someone at the centre of the research. Prof. Klaus Oeggl of Innsbruck University will look at issues such as Ötzi's origin, as well the as impact of the archaeobotanical studies - his specialism - on the view of Ötzis social context.

Excavations at Nassington

Derek explains the latest finds at Iron Age trackway to the assembled diggers

Speaker: Derek Roberts, Pre-Construct Archaeology

7:30PM on Friday Wednesday, 19th February 2020


Derek Roberts, our site director will round up the latest finds from our fourth season of excavation at Nassington in August 2019.


Derek explains the latest finds at Iron Age trackway to the assembled diggers

Speaker: Colin Ray

7:30PM on Friday, 21st February 2020


An illustrated talk which looks at the historic importance of dovecotes and considers their design and how they were used and managed, what the produce of the dovecote was used for, and how they have evolved from early examples in Norman Castles, through to some of the modern conversions in the 20th Century.


Northamptonshire's Historic Landscapes

View over field and woodland

Speaker: Dr. Paul Stamper

28 January 2022


Fantastic beasts and where to find them

Fantasic mediaeval beast from the Luttrell Psalter

Speaker: Dr. Susan Kilby

22 April 2022


The Romanesque capitals of St. Kyneburgha's Church, Castor and its local landscape. With it's unique dedication to St. Kyneburgha, it is considered by many to be among the finest 100 churches in England.

Mediaeval illustrations of horticulture and fishing Susan Kilby is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester. She is the author of "Peasant perspectives on the Mediaeval landscape: a study of three communities", including Castor.

Nassington Dig 2022

A Roman dog skeleton laid out at the top of a trench, found in the 2019 excavations

Middle Nene Archaeological Group

13th August - 27th August 2022


We will be back at Nassington again in August this year to try and finish off the excavation of the barn and surrounding features, probably including one nearby building that we think has a hypocaust system beneath it.

Also, have a look at some of the things we found in previous years.


Annual General Meeting


7:00PM, 28 April 2023

Crucifixion in Roman Britain

Speaker: David Ingham, Albion Archaeology

7:30PM, 28 April 2023

Hear the full story of the rare evidence for Crucifixion, and the first from Roman Britain. Also see the free article from British Archaeology magazine about the excavations at Fenstanton in Cambridgeshire

Excavations at Nassington

Overview of Roman barn footings exposeed in 2018 from the east side

Speaker: Derek Roberts.

7:30PM, 31 March 2023

Come along and hear about what we found in our 2022 dig on the Iron Age and Roman site we've been excavating since 2016.

The new archaeological archive for Northamptonshire at Chester House Farm, Irthlingborough.

Archive racks and shelves with storage boxes

Speaker: Ben Donnelly.

7:30PM, 24 February 2023

Talk includes interesting treasures from the archive.

Osteology in archaeology

Print speciman of anatomical illustrations of human pelvis and hip bones by Augustus Killner, 1813-1906, lithographer

Speaker: Dale Munn

27 January 2023


A talk on the thrilling story of modern methods of analysis of human bones and teeth and what it can tell us about the Romano-British cemetery at Titchmarsh.

Note: Some examples of human bone will be available for discussion and handling.

3,000 years of life and death in Overstone, Northants

Speaker: Simon Marcus, Museum of London Archaeology (Northants)

30 September 2022


A talk on a multi-period occupation site.

What you always wanted to know about the Saxons but didn’t like to ask!

Speaker: Stephen Upex

28 October 2022


A talk on the Saxons; who they were, how they got here, and what evidence they left behind.


Annual Outing

MidNAG Members

20 May 2023

Field Trip

A trip to the village of Peakirk, just north of Peterborough.

The Nassington Excavation

Speaker: Derek Roberts

7:30PM, 27 June 2023


A Report on our latest excavations at Nassington in 2022 by our site director.

Entry: £5 per person, cash on the door only, proceeds go towards post-excavation conservation, analysis and reporting.

Venue: Nassington Village Hall

Excavation at Barnwell


12 August - 26 August 2023

Previous Excavations

The Barnwell site has been excavated before in the 1970's and 80's when an aisled building which had undergone several phases of development, including a late bath suite, was found. You can read the excavation summaries on the Nene Valley Archaeological Trust site. The 1970's excavation was reported in Durobrivae, Vol. 2 for 1974. The full report can be found in "A Roman farmstead at North Lodge, Barnwell: Excavations 1973-88", Northamptonshire Archaeology, Vol. 38 (2015), Upex et al, pp107-138, which is available online through the Archaeology Data Service.

Targets in 2023

The earlier excavations found pits up to 3.5m deep with good preservation of organic material at the base, which were described but no samples were analysed:

"Missing from the excavation record are any details related to the palaeo-botanical record from any of the deep and waterlogged deposits on the site. Samples were taken and sent for analysis to local institutions, but unfortunately the results were never returned and this gap in our knowledge remains critical if we are to understand how the Roman exploitation of the heavy clay soils was being carried out"

Our principal aim is to recover environmental evidence from one or more of the pits, which due to the depth will require stepped excavation and will limit the excavation area at depth. We expect this will be the principal digging activity and require some teams working in shifts to dig, bucket and barrow the pit fill.

Outcome in 2023

Around 60 volunteers diggers, many of them local and some from as far as the USA joined us in a quest to find out what the environment was like at the time the Roman bath house and aisled barn we found in the 1980's were in use. We reached the bottom of two large pits up to 2.5m deep due to some amazing efforts by our diggers. The materials at the bottom were were waterlogged as hoped and included

  • compacted vegetable matter, possibly sedges,
  • twigs and small branches, still with bark on them
  • black clay, a mix of mineral and very finely divided decayed vegetable matter and ash
  • large amounts of ash and charcoal, possibly from clearing out the bath house stoke holes

We retrieved not only the environmental samples we wanted, but also parts of two Roman leather shoes and a bronze bucket rim.

A huge thank-you to all our diggers this year.

Venue: Barnwell, Northamptonshire

Return to Must Farm – Britain’s Pompeii

The excavation of the structure of a Bronze Age house at Must Farm

Speaker: Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit

7:30PM, 27 October 2023

Special Lecture

A follow-up on the exciting discoveries from the Must Farm excavation which Mark talked about back in March 2018, and the new information provided by the specialist reports in the intervening period.

Venue: Oundle CofE Primary School, Cotterstock Road, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5HA

Location Map (Google)

Annual Dinner

7:00PM, 25 11 November 2023 - note corrected date


Venue: Montagu Arms, Armston Road, Barnwell, Peterborough, PE8 5PH

Location Map (Google)

The Barnwell Excavation

The main pit section facing east

Speaker: Derek Roberts

7:30PM, 26 Jan 2024


A report on our latest excavation at Barnwell, Northamptonshire in August 2023 by our site director.

Venue: The Glapthorn Room at Fletton House, Oundle

The Priors Hall development at Weldon, Part 2

Speaker: Paddy Lambert. Oxford Archaeology

Following AGM, 26 April 2024


An amazing Roman site. Not to be missed.

Venue: The Glapthorn Room at Fletton House, Oundle