A Short History

IWAC was formed in 1987 as a registered charity. The aims of the charity were to advance the study and practice of archaeology on the Isle of Wight, to promote the education of the public in Isle of Wight archaeology, to encourage research, and publication of the results of such research. IWACs history of helping Island heritage organisations goes back to its foundation in 1987. Over the years IWAC worked with and assisted numerous organisations including the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) with maritime and land based archaeological projects, such as the renovation work at Fort Victoria and working on several ancient shipwrecks. Owing to a number of deaths of trustees, people moving off Island and other reasons IWAC ceased to be a charity.

In order to carry on the charitable objectives of IWAC, former trustees along with other like minded people formed a new charity, Vectis Archaeological Trust (VAT), registered on the 4th September 2017. VATs founding Chairman and former IWAC Chairman Geoff Cadman was at one time head of forward planning for the Isle of Wight Council and VATs Hon-secretary, Prof. Dr. David Tomalin, was the Isle of Wight County Archaeologist. (Retired)

VAT has been active during the coronavirus crisis, making financial grants, and offering advice to other island heritage organisations who have been victims of the pandemic. Between them the trustees have many years of experience of working in the Archaeological and Heritage sector, and have extensive contacts throughout the UK and Europe. Along with publishing books and research results, VAT is currently active in a number of field archaeological projects.

Following the sad death of Geoff Cadman on the 15th July 2021 VAT needed to find a new home. We have been extremely fortunate to take an office in Landguard Manor, Shanklin. As well as an extensive archaeological research library held at Landguard Manor, VAT has a separate archaeological finds processing unit where finds can be processed, studied and catalogued. As part of our Aims and Objectives the research facilities are made available to students and heritage organisations. Our facilities have been offered to the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics (ASPROM) who now house their archives at Landguard.

We have another reason to be pleased to house our research facilities at Landguard Manor, as it is the ancestral home of Charles Roach Smith, born in 1806. He became a chemist, a noted Antiquarian and Numismatist.

At a very early date in his life Roach Smith felt the passion of collecting Roman and British remains, and he was encouraged by Alfred John Kempe, whom he considered to be his "antiquarian godfather". For twenty years, during London excavations or dredging of the River Thames, he was on the alert for antiquities and found several thousand. The knowledge of his acquisitions spread when he published in 1854 a Catalogue of the Museum of London Antiquities. The antiquities catalogued in this publication were collected during extensive street and sewage improvements in the city of London, as well as work on the Thames near the London Bridge, the collection being formed under accidental circumstances. His collection contained a portion of the antiquities found in London, becoming a self-imposed stewardship, and resulting in the formation of his Museum of London Antiquities. His fellow antiquaries urged that the collection should be secured by England, but his offer of it to the British Museum in March 1855 was declined as they could not agree on a price. Later, they were transferred to the British Museum and formed the nucleus of the national collection of Romano-British antiquities. (Source: Wikipedia)