NIGEL MACPHERSON-GRANT – President of IOTAS 2019-2020

Nigel Macpherson-Grant sharing his love of ceramics with IOTAS Archeology Course members

With great sadness, IOTAS has to let you know that our President of just under a year, Nigel Macpherson-Grant, has passed away. We were so pleased and proud to have him as our President and are deeply sorry that we have now lost him as a guide and mentor. In his professional life, Nigel was in great demand by archaeological bodies over a wide area to pronounce on pottery finds from excavations, and his knowledge and expertise were profound. He was also a kind, patient and gentle person who was incredibly modest about his knowledge of ceramics: he used these qualities to pass on a little of his knowledge to us amateur archaeologists in the Society, and answer queries from members of the public. He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him, some for a very long time, who still can’t quite believe that he is no longer with us.

Click link above to read the Isle of Thanet News’ reporting of Nigel’s passing and a moving tribute to him from Timandra French.
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Unfortunately, the world is rather upside down at the moment, and in common with most other organisations and services, IOTAS is unable to bring you its normal service. Currently we are unable to host talks, outings, or our course, and archaeology itself is suspended until further notice.

However we have been working behind the scenes! If you are a member you will have been receiving monthly Bulletins to keep in touch and our Facebook page has been operating throughout the Coronavirus lockdown, with opportunities to see virtual exhibitions and any other information we can glean to brighten up your days while we wait to resume our usual activities.

John Grigsby’s course ‘Magic Circles’ : was postponed on a revised schedule till Monday 29 June. However, as it is still impossible to hold lectures indoors, we are moving online, at least for the lectures planned for 29 June, 13 July and 3 August. The second lecture in the series, ‘Stones and Star-gates’ will be available on a private YouTube channel from tomorrow, 29 June. We are in the process of informing those booked on our Lecture Course and sending them the link to access the lecture.

Talks: We have postponed all talks till we resume in September, but will not be able to publish our usual Programme till we are clear about the exact dates when we will be able to reopen.

Social Gatherings: There’s a big question about whether we would be able to hold any social gatherings, such as our Wine and Wisdom Evening and Christmas Dinner in November and December, as it would be impossible to maintain a safe distance between those who attend. I think it is unlikely that restrictions will be relaxed sufficiently by then, but who knows?

So all we can really say is that we will keep the situation under review and updated, and let you have further details about our future plans as soon as we are able.

In the meantime, we hope that you are able to enjoy the summer weather, and that you all keep safe and well until we are able to get together again, hopefully later this year.

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IOTAS has a wide selection of Current Archaeology, World Archaeology and Ancient Egypt magazines for sale, as well as a number of books on Archaeology which may interest you. If you are interested, please message us via this page or contact us on, let us know where your interests lie, and we’ll give you full details of what we have available.

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Lidar Map of England

A new link has been added to our links page, a Lidar map of England. Lidar is one of the newest scanning techniques used by archaeologists. An article from the Guardian helps to explain why Lidar is such a useful tool.

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New Link Added – England’s Places

One of the most well-known collections in the Historic England Archive, the Architectural Red Box Collection, has now been scanned and made available online. The collection consists of over 600,000 photographic prints taken of cities, towns and villages around England, attached to cards housed in red boxes. You can now browse this fantastic collection on the England’s Places website!

If you don’t have time to have a look now fear not, we’ve added the link to our ‘Useful links’ page.

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Investigating Caesar’s Camp?

Several IOTAS members took part in a dig in October 2016 to find the site of a Camp from the first Roman invasion of Britain.  Andrew Mayfield, Community Archaeology Liaison Officer for Kent was leading this dig, which followed some promising geophysing in 2015.

Andrew reports:

‘Two slots were dug through the ditch and heroically excavated down to natural. We also identified at least one phase of trackway and an entrance. Not to mention a series of features ?cut? by the ditches…

We recovered some excellent dating evidence in the form of pottery, metalwork, animal and human bone.’

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Latest News

If you join IOTAS you can take part in activities such as finds processing and geophysing, as well as enjoying all the talks and visits to places of interest.  To join, visit the Membership Page and follow the link to download the membership form or e mail the Society at

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What’s On?

Keep an eye on our updated What’s On page now to see what talks and activities we have lined up for the year ahead! Our new committee can also be found here. Please feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions for events or activities you’d like to see us run.

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