Archive for the ‘FOAM’ Category

Helping out at Basing House

Clearing at Basing House

F.O.A.M. working hard at Basing House

On Sunday (15th November), a dedicated team from the Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society, working as Friends of Ancient Monuments (FOAM) assembled on the site of the hunting lodge at Basing House.

Established by Julian Richards, archaeologist and broadcaster of series such as Meet the Ancestors, FOAM is succinctly summarised in this quote from Julian Richards’ own website:

“The simple idea is that there are lot of ancient monuments that need some care and attention (and by and large aren’t getting it) and lots of people who want to get out and get involved with archaeology but find it difficult to get on to excavations. So, put the two together and you have people going out at weekends and carrying out simple conservation tasks like tree and scrub clearance and removing derelict fencing. The end result, some healthy outdoor exercise, an understanding of the sites we work on and better looking monuments that everyone is far more likely to take care of in the future.”

The group meeting at Basing House were there to continue with the challenging job of clearing the scrub from around the edges of the fishponds at the edge of the site.  The fishponds date back to when the main Basing House was in use by the Paulet family, and were a holding place for the many fish needed to feed the large household and their distinguished guests (including Elizabeth I).

Clearing the thick scrub from the edges of the ponds is a daunting task, but this intrepid team were not to be put off.  Some were so dedicated that they even resorted to donning waders and standing in the cold waters to complete the task (see photograph of Barry below)! 

Barry braving the cold!

Barry braving the cold!

The team (ten strong) consisted of Marjolein, Mandy, Tony, Don, Alan, Dave, Peter, Ian, Mark, and Barry. 

FOAM – Where Next…?

Julian Richards and FOAM will be leading an assault on Old Sarum this weekend (21st-22nd November), and the team from Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society are planning to continue their good work at Basing House on the 29th November.

Basing House is always looking for more volunteers to contribute to projects such as the clearing of the fishponds, please do contact us if you would like to help out.  There is a comments form in the right-hand column.

Useful links:

The Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society have their own website:


FOAM is part of the Council for British Archaeology Wessex (CBA Wessex), whose website address is as follows:


You can read more about FOAM on Julian Richards’ website:


Clearing the fishponds

F.O.A.M. working on the Fishponds back in February 2009.

Alan Turton, Site Manager, helps with clearing

Alan Turton, Basing House Site Manager, helps F.O.A.M. with clearing in February 2009


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