WARG’s 40th Anniversary


2012 saw our anniversary, celebrated with a major exhibition at the Hampshire Record Office


Reproduced here are the exhibition panels, together with a short history of the group


Before WARG

WARG Part 1

WARG Part 2

St. Cross Excavations

St. Elizabeth’s College Excavations

WARG Today






Before 1987 there was, effectively, no obligation on developers to carry out any archaeological work before building. Instead volunteers were carrying out desperate digs, rescuing archaeological remains from under the developer’s bulldozers  The Winchester Archaeological Rescue Group was formed in 1972 to carry out this work, and for a time its rented building housed the first Winchester City Archaeologist, whose original title was Rescue Archaeologist.


Over time, wider public opinion forced the government to put in place controls, firstly Circular 8/87 and then, in 1990, PPG16 (Planning Policy Guidance note number 16). These make the developer of a site responsible for archaeological evaluation and the developer is required to pay for any recording or excavation that the local planners think is needed. While this has led to much better information, and the formation of professional archaeological units, like Wessex Archaeology and Oxford Archaeology, it has also led to the demise of many of the amateur groups.


WARG itself declined and by 2005 there was a debate about its purpose. Rather than wind up the organisation, the committee decided to extend the remit to local history (there was no Winchester local history society). There was then a heated debate over the name. Since there was a great deal of affection for WARG as an acronym, it was decided to retain WARG as the name, and add an explanatory subtitle: the society for Winchester archaeology and local history.


Since then WARG has grown in membership, extended its activities and become a flourishing organisation again.

Text Box:

For Winchester Archaeology and Local History