December 13 2013 Latest news:
Forty years after the pioneering reconstruction work started at West tow Anglo Saxon village members of the time team returned on Saturday for a reunion. Team members today at the site - Ian Alister, Rosie Boughton, Andrew Wilson, Simon Freeman, Jess Davies, Liz Pieksma and Kimberley Rew
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The clothes may have changed and the long hair may have receded.
But four decades after this group of former Cambridge students built a reconstruction of an Anglo Saxon house at West Stow – and in the process helping to change our understanding of Suffolk’s history – their enthusiasm remains undimmed.
The event at the weekend was one of the first times that the seven founding members of West Stow Environmental Archaeology Group have been together at the site since they worked on the site in the early 1970s.
Organisers said the reunion, which was part of Reconstructing History: 40 years at West Stow – an attempt to increase documentation of the birth of the Icklingham Road site – had been “emotional”.
Alan Baxter, heritage manager at West Stow, said: “I think the group felt a mixture of two things. On the one hand, they were absolutely delighted that the site had carried out and fulfilled some of the objectives that they had for the site back in 1973. In other words it wasn’t just about building the buildings; it was about looking at the Anglo Saxons, looking at their farming and looking at the whole idea of the village, so they were absolutely delighted about that.
“Also they wanted it to be sustainable and continue into the future, because of course these are difficult times and everywhere is under some kind of threat with Government cuts to local authorities.”
Mr Baxter added: “It was quite emotional getting all these people back together. Some of them hadn’t seen each other for a long, long time. There were lots of interesting meetings taking place, but the event went extremely well. “
The heritage manager said that one of the highlights included a screening of a six minute film shot by Anglia during the reconstruction.
He added: “The film is quite amazing; it was like stepping back in time. The students are being interviewed and they’ve got quite clipped Cambridge voices. It was quite remarkable.”
The reconstruction took place after the students were persuaded by Stanley West – who excavated the site – to build on the footprint of the ancient village. The group’s members include a professor of archaeology, an eminent psychiatrist and guitarist Kimberley Rew, who made his name with Katrina and the Waves.
Mr Baxter said the group were going away to look again for pictures they had taken during the build and added that future reunions were possible.
If anyone has photos of the 1973-1974 period email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01284 729718.