15th April 2014:
Oxford Wessex Archaeology has just published the Solent-Thames Research Framework for the Historic Environment. This volume is the penultimate stage of a project, led by Oxford Archaeology, to survey and characterise all aspects of the rich and diverse past, from Palaeolithic times to the present day, of the Solent-Thames area, and to produce a research agenda that offers fresh insights into the past and addresses the key heritage issues and gaps in our knowledge.
The region, comprising the historic counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, contains some of the most important sites in England: the remarkable early Mesolithic settlements along the Kennet valley, the hillfort at Danebury and its environs, the Roman town of Silchester and the cemetery of Lankhills, and the Saxon and medieval towns and cities of Southampton, Winchester and Oxford. Portsmouth houses arguably the most important ships in the naval history of Britain, and includes the best-preserved Tudor warship, the Mary Rose. Blenheim, seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, is a World Heritage site of international renown.
The volume, edited by Oxford Archaeology's Gill Hey and Jill Hind, draws on county assessments and is written by eminent period specialists. It includes a series of research aims and priorities both for specific periods and for wider cross-period themes, an indispensable tool for anyone contemplating research in this region. It is one of a series covering the whole of England published with the support of English Heritage.
The final stage of the project will be to produce a research strategy that will address the issues raised in the research agendas and framework, and consider how our understanding of the cultural heritage of the region can be furthered and communicated in the challenging times that are ahead.