ARCHAEOLOGIST John Collis will give his personal recollections of early excavations in Winchester at the city's Guildhall at 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 6 in aid of the Mayor's Charities.

He is now Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Sheffield University, and recognised as a leading expert on the European Iron Age, an outstanding excavator and author of books on both the Iron Age and practical archaeology.

He caught the archaeology bug as a Winchester schoolboy in the 1950s and was involved in the first scientific excavations initiated by Mr Frank Cottrell, first as an avid spectator looking into the excavations in Middle Brook Street, and later accepted as a volunteer continuously working at weekends and during holidays.

He became a supervisor under Martin Biddle in Winchester during the early sixties and achieved fame for himself in the later sixties when he carried out one of the first large scale excavations of an Iron Age and Roman settlement at Owslebury. A splendid Iron Age Warrior with his sword and shield excavated here was a major attraction at the British Museum for some years.

These early years of involvement in Winchester archaeology, in excavations the results of which are largely unknown, enable Prof. Collis to give a most valuable contribution to our knowledge of the early development of Winchester. Excavations in St Cross, Winnall, Hyde, the Westgate area and in St. George's Street prior to the widening are all relatively unknown.

Tickets £6.50 in advance (telephone 01962 867490) or available on the door, £8.