WAFA – the Wessex Academy for Field Archaeology, is based at Ash Farm, near Stourpaine, Blandford in Dorset.
WAFA started out as an idea from the Wessex branch of the CBA (Council for British Archaeology) in early 2013. It grew out of the realisation that many of those who have a fascination with archaeology would love to be able to get involved with its practicalities. They would like to learn how to ‘read’ landscapes, how to recognise ancient finds and how to dig. But there was a problem – there was nowhere in the Wessex area that all these skills were being taught.
So this was the reason behind WAFA – to provide a venue where a wide range of ways of investigating the past could be taught within the setting of a long term landscape study.
It needed a number of ingredients to make the initial idea work:
• A home – through the generosity of the Russell family this was found at Ash Farm, near Stourpaine in Dorset. Ash Farm is a wonderful outdoor classroom, a ‘blank canvas’, previously unstudied, but which offers huge archaeological potential. All of the teaching there is carried out as part of a multi-period landscape study of the farm and its surroundings.
• A vision for what WAFA could offer – this came from Julian Richards – WAFA’s lead archaeologist and CBA member.
• Funding – with the investment from Alistair Somerville Ford of ICM – someone with a passion for history and making the past come alive.
WAFA was launched in April 2014.
Please visit http://www.wafa.org.uk