At the Annual General Meeting the Society usually has three short talks – often by members – and the 2015 AGM was no exception, but this time there was also a very eclectic objects quiz, all of an archaeological or historical flavour, with a box of chocolates as the prize.
The first talk was given by Louise Martin the Cultural Heritage Officer for Headlands to Headspace which has been set up to conserve and celebrate the Morecambe Bay area. They have a 5 year programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme, consisting of 28 projects with 4 themes. There is a big community archaeology involvement in this organisation.
1. Access trampers
2. Bay cycle way
3. Station hubs
4. Maps (Plans and Spaces).
At the moment they are particularly concerned with the built heritage e.g. Birkrigg stone circle near Ulverston which they are trying to protect from vandalism; Jenny Brown’s Point where the chimney and associated building remains are in danger from the tide because of the erosion of the salt marsh and the Kirkhead Folly at Kent’s Bank which lacks any interpretation regarding it’s place in the wider landscape and is in need of conservation and of public access. They are also conserving and interpreting the World War 2 defensive landscapes including gun emplacements on Walney Island and providing public access. One of their major aims is to open up the heritage of the Bay area to everyone.
They are also involved in many other fields; e.g. community maritime heritage featuring the recording of associated remains and oral history.There are many opportunities for volunteering and for training and Louise can be reached through her email address email@example.com or follow them on twitter @H2H_tweets or like them on facebook.
The next talk was given by Matthew Ball, the Money Matters Project Curator at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston. Matt is working on an 18 month project funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Collection Fund to develop the museum’s extensive coin collection. This was a fascinating talk about the loss and misattribution of the Rossall Hoard which was found at the coast near the hall and was in the possession of Sir Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood in 1840. It originally consisted of 400 silver coins from the 1st to 3rd centuries A.D. However the hoard now known as the Rossall Hoard in the Harris Museum consists of 4th to 5th centuries silver coins which are of a very high silver content. This hoard was most likely sold in the Rossall Hall sale as the 1840 hoard but later discovered to be another hoard of unknown origin. This mysterious Roman hoard in the Harris is proving to be fascinating. He drew our attention to the clipping of the coins and the reasons this was done. He also drew our attention to the very great production of silver coinage in the early 5th century and that at the mints in northern Germany 1 million silver coins a week were being produced. Most of this coinage was being produced for the army. Constantine III at the beginning of the 5th century A.D. was using it to pay the army to support him in his attempt on the imperial throne. The speaker demonstrated that because so much coining was being done that mistakes were being made and that they are visible on some of the coins. This was a very illuminating talk and many of us were enthused to find out more about this topic. Matthew is trying to find out what did happen to the original Rossall Hoard and where did the Hoard now known as the Rossall Hoard come from.
Our last talk was given by one of our members, Derek Forrest who is involved in Roman military enactment. This was a very entertaining talk on how the Romans drank their wine. They treated their wine very differently than we do today. The Romans often drank their wine mixed with sweet things e.g. lead sulphate and honey! They also liked to sprinkle pepper on it as they also did on milk. Derek suggested they liked to sweeten their wine because the earthenware containers that the wine was stored in reacted with the wine and gave it a funny taste. Derek has actually tried wine from these containers and has proved this to be the case. The other main difference in how the Romans drunk their wine compared to us was that they drank it watered down, in the proportions of 2-1 generally. He suggested that the amount of water used depended on the nature of the occasion at which the wine was being drunk – whether it was a relatively sober event or a more lively event e.g.the advent of the dancing girls! He thought that people now could usefully imitate the Romans in diluting their wine as this could bring many benefits.
Thank you to all our speakers and the committee for an entertaining evening!