Bringing Hampshire's Roman history to life - County Council hosts inaugural Dudley Keep Memorial Lecture
Monday, 18 March 2013
The secrets of ancient life unearthed during excavations at the former Roman town at Silchester near Basingstoke have been the subject of the inaugural Dudley Keep Memorial Lecture.
Before his death in 2009, Dudley Keep represented the Basingstoke East Division on Hampshire County Council for many years, and was a past Chairman of the Council, as well as chairing the Planning and Transport Committee.
To commemorate his contributions to the County of Hampshire, and keen interest in the historic Silchester Roman Town, a memorial lecture was held in Winchester's Great Hall on Thursday 14 March, delivered by Professor Mike Fulford of Reading University.
Silchester Roman Town was bought by Hampshire County Council in 1979 and since 1997 it has been the subject of extensive archaeological research by the University of Reading's Department of Archaeology and led by Professor Mike Fulford, involving a programme of excavations at key locations during the summer months. Members of the public are welcome to visit the site or even to take part through the field school programme.
Silchester is the best preserved Iron Age and Roman town in Britain. The site is remarkable because, unlike most large Roman towns in Britain, it was completely abandoned. The defensive walls still survive, in places more than four metres high, but within the walls there seems, at first, to be nothing but fields, a church and a single house, once a farm.
The lecture will illustrate the latest results of the University of Reading's Silchester Town Life Project and indicate why the town is so important for our knowledge and understanding of late Iron Age and Roman Britain and of the beginnings of urban life in this country.
Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman said: "Dudley Keep's knowledge of Hampshire was truly enormous and he used it to great effect as both a County Councillor and Borough Councillor. The Memorial Lecture is not only in memory of Dudley Keep, but also to recognise the work by Hampshire County Council to preserve ancient monuments and sites within Hampshire.
"We would like to thank Professor Mike Fulford for delivering this first lecture on 'Silchester Roman Town', and providing a fascinating insight into a subject very close to Dudley's heart."