THE Westbury History and Archaeological Tour (the WHAT project), which is researching 12 sites of historical interest in the area, has got off to a successful start with around 30 volunteers on board.
Run by the Westbury Heritage Society, the WHAT project is training volunteers and equipping them with the skills and knowledge to undertake historical and archaeological research across the sites. They are using a series of non-invasive techniques to further investigate the chosen areas, including aerial photography, geophysics, archive resources and maps. The information collected through the project will be presented to the community of Westbury at the Westbury Heritage and Visitor Centre in user-friendly and informative ways including a video guide, an exhibition and a virtual 3D model of how one of the sites may have looked originally.Research is being carried out at the centre and volunteers will be helped by a series of talks and training events, as well as trips to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham and English Heritage’s National Monument Records archive in Swindon. The results of their investigations will be presented in the form of a digital presentation. This permanent resource, based at the Heritage and Visitor Centre, will also be fully portable and available on loan to community groups and organisations.The sites under investigation are located in Westbury and the surrounding villages and range from a bronze age midden to an early Victorian mill. Keith Miller of the Westbury Heritage Society said, “It’s going very well, we’ve had our official launch and we had a nice number of people turn up. Our 12 sites have been photographed, and the project is now very much under way. We are going to lay on a series of meetings, which will be timetabled and advertised shortly, where experts will explain the technology.“At the end of the day, what we’re hoping is to produce a wealth of information based in the heritage centre, an interactive computer programme, and a record of the sites we’ve looked at.”The WHAT project got under way last month after the Westbury Heritage Society was awarded a grant of £20,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.