Posted by: archaccess | May 25, 2016

Riseley 2016 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA)

The 7th  HEFA of the 2016 season took place 18th – 20th May  in Riseley, Bedfordshire. A total of 40 Year 9 students from Sharnbrook Upper School, Hastingsbury College, Stratton Upper School, and St Thomas More Catholic Teaching School excavated 11 archaeological test pits throughout the village. Members of the Riseley Historical Society also helped. The pits were dispersed throughout the village and were located on Gold Street, Church Lane and the High Street.

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TP 1 get stuck in despite the rain!

The test pits were organised by Michael Stubbert of the Riseley Historical Society and the beacon school coordinator was Radha Randhawa from Sharnbrook Upper School. The site for the two digging days was the Riseley Village Hall. This is the third year ACA have held a HEFA in Riseley; previous findings and reports can be found here.

The students worked in mixed-school groups of 3 or 4 and were supervised by members of staff from the schools involved and Georgina Brackenbery.

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Sieving in that weather was not easy…

After receiving a briefing on Day 1 from Alison Dickens, Director of ACA, about how to excavate and record the test pits, the students went out and started digging (in the rain)! Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, toured the test pits providing guidance on excavating and recording techniques as well as identifying finds. Paul Blinkhorn, pottery specialist, was also on site on Day 2 to help identify finds and date pottery sherds.

Having experts on hand to provide real-time feedback about finds and dates is highly appreciated by the participants and is always included in the feedback: “I have learned about archaeological finds from experts – It was very interesting.” (BN) The finalised pottery report can be found here.

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The weather didn’t put our spirits down though. Animal bone from TP 2

This year a potential candle snuffer was found in TP1. TP5 found some big cobbles which looked like it might be a surface which once excavated found medieval pottery 13th C TBC

Lots of medieval Pottery which provides more evidence that Riseley was one of the few places that’s populations didn’t collapse after the Black Death.

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TP 8 Finds tray

Of course lots of bricks from Riseley brick making were also found.

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TP 6 Looks happy…

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TP7 found a wall. Could be a Garage or Outhouse from the 1950’s

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Day 3 Welcome Talk by ACA at the Downing Site Arches in Cambridge

But, the aims of HEFA are many and once the practical archaeological portion had been completed, it was time to learn more about higher education. Students spent Day 3 of the HEFA at the University of Cambridge. They learned about how their hard work contributes to ongoing university research, including the study of Currently Occupied Rural Settlements, and how to develop and deploy skills for life, learning and employment such as data analysis, communication skills and team working. Dr Debby Banham’s lecture on the CORS project went well and the Students were then given a tour of a college; Corpus Christi, Newnham and Selwyn who also took them to lunch.

Students always enjoy this opportunity and specifically commented in feedback, “I enjoyed having the tour of the university to find out a bit more about what uni life is like.” (FH)

After lunch, Emma Smith, SLO for Selwyn College, gave a presentation about life at university, the University of Cambridge and future choices.
Selwyn

Selwyn

This was followed by a presentation on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation by Dr Jenni French, Research Fellow at Peterhouse. The mark scheme and additional information about the written assignment can be found here.

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TP 9 nice and neat!

In feedback after the HEFA, 95% of participants rated the event as “Excellent” or “Good”. General comments in feedback from the students included, “The people were great, the instructions were clear, I had good fun!!” (CF) and “I liked doing something new and thinking about what objects were.” (BF). Staff commented, “Excellent programme that makes the students think of their future at university.” (SR) and “The students have gained not only transferable skills, but have been enlightened about the high expectations and demands of Cambridge University.” (JK)

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An extra helper at TP3

ACA would like to thank the students and staff of all the schools involved, the supervisors and the residents of Riseley for making this another successful HEFA. Special thanks go to Michael for organising the pits and to Radha for coordinating the students and staff.

ACA are pleased to report that the pottery report from the 2016 Touching the Tide community test pitting that took place in Snape, Suffolk, over the weekend of the 7th-8th May is now available online here. More results will follow as we have them.

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ACA returned to Brundall, Norfolk last week for its sixth Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) of 2016. 11 test pits were excavated in the village on 11th – 12th May by students from Broadland High School, Framingham Earl, Sheringham Woodfields and Notre Dame through the OpenOpportunity partnership.

TP 6dTP6 Starting out with their Test Pit.

All of the test pits were organised by Jacky Heath and Ann-Marie Simpson of the Brundall Local History Group. Jim Hudson of OpenOpportunity and Nigel Roberts were the beacon school coordinators and The Scout Hut served as the base for the two days of excavation. This time the test pits were concentrated on the eastern side of the village. They were located on The Street, Brecklands, St Michaels Way, Highfield Avenue, Station New Road, Westfield Road and Blofield Road. The blog from the last time we were in Brundall can be accessed here.
The students worked in mixed-school teams of 3 or 4 and were supervised by teachers and local volunteers. After receiving a briefing on Day 1 by Catherine Ranson, Archaeological Supervisor of ACA, about how to excavate and record the test pits, the students went on to make excellent progress throughout the two days of digging.

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Test Pit 8 in the Sun!

The weather, an uncontrollable, but very important factor on any archaeological site, remained quite nice for the duration of the dig. We were really pleased with all the hard work and effort exhibited by all of the participants, even those who were digging through rather difficult layers.

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Sieving in Test Pit 3

The students recorded all of their findings context-by-context in their individual Test Pit Excavation Record Booklet. This is not only an invaluable asset in helping to produce their written assignment, but also informs academic research and becomes part of the permanent record about each test pit kept on file at the University of Cambridge.

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Paperwork time in TP1

Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, Matt Collins of Cambridge Archaeological Unit and John Newman, pottery expert, toured the test pits providing guidance on excavating and recording techniques as well as identifying finds and pottery sherds. The knowledge of the experts is really appreciated and the participant feedback consistently reflects this. “I enjoyed finding out more about some of the things we discovered,” (BG) and “I enjoyed finding logical explanations about our finds and identifying artefacts.” (AH) The finalised pottery report can be read here.

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Test Pit 5 working hard!

Confirming our thoughts from previous years, there was a good spread of prehistoric flint flakes and burnt flints as well as a background scatter of medieval pottery sherds.

Gun flint 18 Blofield Road
In TP6 They found a Gunflint which is the piece of natural stone that is used in a ‘flintlock’ weapon to generate a spark.

worked flint core 27 Highfield Avenue
In TP4 They found a worked flint Core.

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In TP1 Decorated bowl from a Clay pipe.

On the third day of the HEFA, the students arrived in Cambridge. Dr Nick James’s morning lecture on medieval settlement studies and the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement (CORS) project again proved to be popular with many pupils saying that they enjoyed “learning more about how we were part of something valuable and worthwhile for the University of Cambridge” (PG)
The students then split into groups for lunch and a tour at one of Trinity, Corpus Christi, St Johns and Clare College. After lunch, Ben Leitch, Schools Liaison Officer for Clare College, gave a presentation about life at university, The University of Cambridge and future choices. This was followed by a presentation on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation by Ian Ostericher.

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Corpus Christi College

In feedback after the HEFA, 94.7% of participants rated it as “Excellent” or “Good”. Comments included, “I enjoyed seeing what the University has to offer.” (HD) and “I think it was a good experience and would do it again.”(ND) Feedback from staff included, “a great opportunity to see the bigger picture and to be involved in an activity that is seen to have status” (JM) and “They have gained team working skills and enjoyable new experiences.” (AW).

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Test Pit 11 – Thank you!

For more information about our Brundall HEFA please see today’s Norwich Evening News.

ACA would like to thank all the students and staff of the four schools involved. Special thanks to Jim of OpenOpportunity,and Nigel for all his help with the organisation. Also Jacky and Ann-Marie of the Brundall Local History Group and all the volunteers who helped make this another successful field academy.

Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) hosted its fifth Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) of the 2016 season this week in Hadleigh, Essex. Three test pits were excavated on 11th – 13th May by Year 9 pupils from Southend High School for Boys.

1 Test Pit 1

Three test pits were also dug by members of the Archaeology Geophysics Enthusiastic Searchers Archaeological and Historical Association (AGES AHA).

2Members of AGES AHA carry out their excavations

The test pits were organised by Terry Barclay and Lynda Manning of AGES AHA and our beacon school coordinator was Mr Gareth March from SHSB. The base for the two digging days was the Hadleigh United Reform Church. The 6 x 1m2 test pits were located on Chapel Lane, London Road, Elm Road, Castle Road and Church Road.

Hadleigh, a Saxon word meaning ‘a clearing in the heath,’ is a small town in Essex, 5 miles west of the seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea and 35 miles east of London. It is well-known for the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, a 13th-century Grade I listed building and scheduled monument maintained by English Heritage. We are yet to find any evidence of Saxon Activity in the area.

3Hadleigh Castle

This is the second year ACA have hosted a HEFA in Hadleigh. For last year’s results please see here.

4Sieving in the sun at Test Pit 2

The students worked small teams of three and were supervised by members of staff from their school. After receiving a briefing on Day 1 from Alison Dickens, Director of ACA, about how to excavate and record the test pits, the students went out on site and excavated for 2 days.

The weather was beautiful and sunny on both days of the dig which was very nice indeed!

 

5Test Pit 3

Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, and Paul Blinkhorn, post-Roman pottery expert, toured the test pits providing guidance on excavating and recording techniques as well as identifying finds and pottery sherds. This expertise proves to be invaluable to the participants and is always reflected as such in their feedback. Students commented, “I feel that I have learned many new skills, gaining a unique experience which I have never participated in before.” (DD) and “A new Experience and more knowledge of the past.” (MI)

6 (2)There was a coffee meeting in the United Reform Church Base at 10-12pm on Day two and Alison Dickens and Terry Barclay spoke with over 100 Primary School Students about what we had found.

The students recorded all of their findings context-by-context in their individual Test Pit Excavation Record Booklet. This is not only an invaluable asset in helping to produce their written assignment, but also informs academic research and becomes part of the permanent record about each test pit kept on file at the University of Cambridge.

Some Roman pottery sherds were found in two of the test pits on Church Road and would initially indicate some sort of Roman occupation on the ground north-east of the Church.  If the town of Hadleigh has Saxon origins it is not represented in the pottery findings from this year’s HEFA. Only a limited number of sherds of high medieval pottery are represented and as such the ways in which the town of Hadleigh developed throughout the Middle Ages remain to be discovered. It appears that this town was very much a Victorian settlement. The complete pottery report can be accessed here.

The find of the HEFA was a ‘Cartwheel Penny’ Georgian coin.  Test Pit 1 were very excited. Other evidence included some Prehistoric activity in Test Pit 3 on Castle Rd.

7‘Cartwheel Penny’ Georgian Coin found in Test Pit 1

 

The students spent the third day of the HEFA in Cambridge where they learned not only about university, but also about how their individual test pits fit into the wider picture. Dr Debby Banham’s lecture on medieval settlement studies and the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement (CORS) project helps highlight how HEFA participants contribute to university research, an aspect of the programme that always ranks highly in student and teacher feedback.

8The students at the University of Cambridge

The students then went for lunch and a tour at St John’s College. This tour was given by Megan Goldman-Roberts who then gave a presentation to the group about the University of Cambridge, post-16 options, A-Level choices and choosing degree subjects.

9St Johns College

One of the aims of ACA’s HEFA programme is to raise students’ aspirations of going on to higher education after school. Learning more about university in general and visiting the University of Cambridge specifically contribute to raising these aspirations and always receive good feedback from both students and staff: “I particularly enjoyed the visit to the University of Cambridge, finding out more about it and what you are expected of in it” (SE) and “I enjoyed the tour of the College and getting to know how things work at the university level.” (DD)

Day 3 concluded with Dr Jenni French giving a presentation on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation. Students submit a report and receive detailed feedback and a certificate from the University of Cambridge. This feedback can then be used in future university applications, CVs etc. and their reports form part of the permanent archive.

In feedback after the event, 100% of participants rated the field academy as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Students commented, “I Think that this has been very helpful for my plans for the future and alos very influential. Thank you!” (SE) “It was a great thing to do and I appreciate understanding so much in year 9 , at an early stage” (DD) and “Very enjoyable and a great experience!” (FC).

10Test Pit 3 What lovely weather!

Staff also commented, “The students enjoyed the tour around Cambridge and the talk on university life.” (CB) and “A very thorough introduction to thoughts about their future.” (BM)

ACA would like to thank the students and staff of the Southend High School for Boys for making the Hadleigh HEFA a successful event. Special thanks to Terry and Lynda of AGES AHA and all of the helpful volunteers for that group,  and Gareth March of SHSB. Also Hadleigh URC.

11Test Pit 6 The Crew!

Posted by: archaccess | April 25, 2016

Southminster Higher Education Field Academy

ACA’s third Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) of the 2016 season took place last week, on the 20th -21st April , in Southminster, Essex. The 41 Year 9 pupils from William de Ferrers School, The Plume School and Ormiston Rivers Academy excavated 10 test-pits throughout the small town. The test-pits were organised by Ron Pratt, mayor of nearby Burnham-on-Crouch, and Kay Maudesley, parish councillor. The base for the two digging days was the community hall on the King George V Playing Fields.

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The students and staff have an introduction talk by Alison Dickens of the CAU

The 10 x 1m2 test pits were located in the back gardens of private properties on Queen Street, Queenborough Road, North End, Crippelgate, Hall Road and Burnham Road. An additional pit was also excavated on the King George V Playing Fields, close to the community hall that was used as our base. This was our second year of digging in Southminster, the results from the 2015 HEFA in Southminster can be found on our website here.

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The students getting into groups and collecting equipment

The students worked in mixed-school teams of 4 or 5 and were supervised by teachers from all three schools and Year 12 students from William de Ferrers School. After receiving a briefing on Day 1 from Alison Dickens, ACA’s new managing director, about how to excavate and record the test pits, the students made their ways out to site to begin the excavation.

We had two days of mainly sunny weather – feeling cold in the wind and watching out for sunburn were the two factors on everyone’s mind and a number of groups also were provided with both snacks and drinks to help with the digging.

TP 6h

A table for the paperwork and free drinks at TP 6

All the test pits recorded a number of both 18th and 19th century finds with only a few of the test pit yeilding finds of an earlier date. Medeival pottery was recorded at TP 2 if the far west of the town, along Queen Street as well along North End, Burnham Road and out at Southminster Hall. On the afternoon of day 2 a mud stone and tile wall, likely of medieval origin that was excavated from TP 10 at Southminster Hall, between the house and the moat. The wall was identified along the section edge so its full width and function was not able to be identified during the limited time available to us on site., but it was an exciting find for the students involved!

TP 10t

 

Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, and John Newman, pottery expert, toured the test pits providing guidance on excavating and recording techniques as well as identifying finds and pottery sherds. Having experts on site is always popular with the participants and staff, one student said “I enjoyed being with different people who enjoy doing the archaeology dig.” (MC) and “I have learnt skills on how to understand what I have found in the earth, such as rolling glass and Victorian and medieval things.” (LB)

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John Newman dating the finds from TP 7

The students recorded all of their findings context-by-context in their individual Test Pit Excavation Record Booklet. This is not only an invaluable asset in helping to produce their written assignment, but also informs academic research and becomes part of the permanent record about each test pit kept on file at the University of Cambridge.

Once the pottery report is ready it will be available on our website here. The results so far though from both years of excavations suggest that we are still yet to find the Saxon origins of the town (Souminster is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086), but the extent of the medieval settlement now recorded has expanded. The focus of the medieval village would have been around the church and Station Road, but we are now seeing medieval pottery turn up in outlying areas of the town, for example at the far western end of Queen Street, although of course this may just represent the presence of manuring the fields surrounding the settlement.

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A taster lecture on medieval settlements by Debby Banham

The students spent the third day of the HEFA in Cambridge where they learned not only about university but also about how their individual test-pits fit into the wider picture. Carenza’s lecture on medieval settlement studies and the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement (CORS) project is always popular, especially as it’s the first time most of the students have experienced a university lecture. The students then split into groups for lunch and a tour at one of Selwyn, Emmanuel and Clare Colleges. These tours were given by the schools liaison officers (SLO) from each of these colleges. Rachel Ayres, SLO for Clare College, then gave a presentation to the pupils about the University of Cambridge, as well as applying to university and life as a university student. One student commented after ” I have gained more experience about college/university life” (MM).

The day concluded with Dr Jenni French, Research Fellow in Archaeology and Anthropology, giving a presentation on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation. These reports go on to form part of the archive at The University of Cambridge.

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Group shot at TP 8

In feedback after the HEFA 98% of participants rated the field academy as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. The students enjoyed meeting and working with new people and working in a team as well as visiting the University of Cambridge and learning more about university and archaeology. Students commented, “I have learnt more about University and whether I want to go to University” (AF) and “I feel that I am more confident around new people and working in a team” (MG), “I gained valuable archaeological experience which could be used in further life” (FR). School staff commented, “The students have gained knowledge to look further and respect other peoples thoughs and comments” (JI) and “They have gained indenpendent learning and problem solving skills..” (JW).

ACA would like to thank the students and staff of the three schools involved for making the Southminster HEFA another successful event. Special thanks to David Stamp for being the beacon school coordinator and circulating around the test pits both days and to Ron Pratt and Kay Maudesley for organising the pits. Thanks also must go to Bernie Steel and Pat Sheehy of the Maldon Archaeological and Historical Group for providing additional supervision for the youngsters involved.

Posted by: archaccess | April 19, 2016

Learn about Osteology!

Osteoarchaeological Project

Date and Time: 9th July 2016: 10am to 5pm
Location: North Hertfordshire Museum, Brand Street, Hitchin SG5 1JE

Interested in getting experience on human remains: the bones of the body, identifying sex, age, and illnesses of individuals from past populations?
North Hertfordshire Museum is hosting a one-day hands-on human remains workshop as part of a project to further our understanding of health in and around Baldock, Hertfordshire, the site of small Roman town. It will allow people the opportunity to directly analyse human remains from the Roman and early Medieval periods. This is an ideal opportunity for members of the general public, undergraduates and graduates in archaeology and forensics, medical professionals, museum staff, local archaeologists from societies as well as anyone who wants to know more about osteology and what human remains can tell you and how to handle and curate them. It is a great way to gain hands-on experience of human remains in a museum environment and learn about the past from people who lived through it.

Classes are limited to twelve students to ensure maximum access to the remains and guidance from a trained osteoarchaeologist with experience on hundreds of skeletal remains. This is a general course suitable for anyone and the day revolve around handling skeletal remains. The day will include:
•Training in how to identify different bones and layout a human skeleton
•Determining sex, age, and height of individuals
•Identifying different pathologies and the health of a person at death
•Using skeletal remains and other evidence to reconstruct life in different periods
•Reviewing the different stages of skeletal remains from burial, archaeological excavation, osteological study, curation or reburial.
•Learning how to curate and record remains

OsteoArchaeology Course Flyer

OsteoArch Booking Form

Posted by: archaccess | April 19, 2016

Blo Norton Higher Education Field Academy

Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) held its second Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) of the 2016 season this week in Blo’ Norton, Norfolk. The six test pits were excavated on the 13th and 14th April by 21 Year 9 pupils from King Edward VI School and Hartismere School.

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Blo Norton Village Hall

The dig in 2016 was the second in Blo’ Norton by ACA, the results from the 2015 excavation can be found here.  The six pits were this year focused to the south of the village, particularly on Fen Road and The Banks, with two pits again sited in the north along The Street. The students worked together in mixed school groups of three or four students following on from an initial introduction and briefing from Alison Dickens, ACA’s new managing Director in the village hall.

 

The first day of the dig was full of sunshine and the groups managed to excavate the test pits to a depth of at least 0.4m. A range of finds emerged from the test pits including pieces of a coronation mug from 1937 of King George VI from along Fen Road as well as a few fragments of medieval pottery and a large number of batteries. The second day started off the same but ended with thunder storms rolling around, although they didn’t dampen the spirits of the students and digging with at least half the test pits reaching natural.

TP 1m

TP 1 and George

TP 6o

TP 6 in the rain but down to natural!

The initial test pit results suggest that all the test pit sites yielded pottery from the 16th/17th century and later, which correlates to when a umber of the houses in the village were built. Medieval pottery was recorded from both test pits 3 and 4 on Fen Road and is our first example of settlement at that time on the common edge in the far south of the village. A number of burnt stone and worked flints were also present along Fen Road that hint at prehistoric activity along the course of the Little River Ouse valley. The full pottery report and results will be available on our website here in due course.

The students spent the third day of the HEFA in Cambridge where they learnt not only about university, but also about how their individual test pits fit into the wider picture not only for Norfolk but across East Anglia. Dr Nick James gave the students a taster lecture on medieval settlement, focusing in particular on how the HEFA participants contribute to university research, an aspect of the programme that always ranks highly in student and teacher feedback.

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Dr Nick James giving the students a ‘taster lecture’

 The students then split into groups for lunch and a tour of either Peterhouse or Pembroke Colleges, which were given by either a representative or schools liaison officer (SLO) from each of the colleges. Emma Paulus, SLO for Pembroke College, then gave a presentation to the entire group about the University of Cambridge, post-16 options, A-Level choices and choosing degree subjects.

One of the aims of ACA’s HEFA programme is to raise students’ aspirations of going on to higher education after school. Learning more about university in general and visiting the University of Cambridge specifically contribute to raising these aspirations and always receive good feedback from both students and staff.

TP 6l

Pottery expert John Newman talking with the home owner about what was found

Day 3 concluded with Dr Jenni French, Research Fellow in Archaeology and Anthropology at Peterhouse College, gave a presentation on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation. Students who submit a report receive detailed feedback and a certificate from the University of Cambridge. This feedback can then be used in future university applications, CVs etc. and their reports form part of the permanent archive.

In feedback after the event 100% of participants rated the field academy as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Students commented, “I really enjoyed being outside and trying new things. I find working outside of the classroom really fun.” (KO), “Being able to find out the previous history of the village through findings in the ground.” (TA) and “I have also learned how to apply and why I should go to University. I have also gained friends.” (HRC)

Staff also commented, “The session on report writing was excellent and gave the students all they needed to do a good report” (RM) and “The students have developed stills relevant for GCSE and A-level study and their interpersonal skills.” (SH)

 

TP 1g.JPG

George VI Coronation mug from 1937 found from TP1

ACA would like to thank the students and staff of the two schools involved for making the Blo’ Norton HEFA a successful event. Special thanks to Dave and Sheila Williams, seasoned ACA volunteers, for helping supervise, John Dixon and Stewart Hall for their help and support in organising the HEFA, as well as the SLO’s from both Peterhouse and Pembroke and Doctors Nice James and Jenni French.

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Archaeological Excavations at Peterborough Cathedral are to be run jointly by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), both of the University of Cambridge alongside the Peterborough Cathedral Archaeologist as part of Peterborough 900 campaign. The dig culminates in the Peterborough Heritage Festival, which takes place over the weekend of the 1st to the 3rd July 2016 and has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The excavation will run from Wednesday 22nd June through to Sunday 3rd July and a total of six trenches will be opened in the Garden House area (see map below), in the north-west part of the cathedral precincts. The trenches have been sited following a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey on the land and it is believed that finding archaeological remains pre-dating the abbey are fairly low, so the main focus of the archaeology will probably be on the Late Anglo Saxon period and later. There is a possibility that the burh (or burgh) wall crosses the garden area; this was constructed in 1005 AD when the entire precinct was fortified after the abbey was re-built following Danish and Viking raids from the continent. It was when the burgh was constructed that the original Saxon name of Peterborough, Medehamstede, was changed, first to Goldenburgh and then Burgh St Peter or Peterburgh (after the saint dedication of the church and the presence of the burgh – an Old English name for fortified settlement).

Garden House Location Map

How to be involved:

Volunteers are invited to take part in the excavations for a minimum of three consecutive days. Those wishing to work for further days will be put on a waiting list in case there are still spaces available shortly before the dig. The excavation is open to all ages and abilities, as there will also be opportunities not only to excavate but to be involved in less physically demanding tasks too. Children under the age of 16 may be considered, but they must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

All volunteers will be able to work with both professional archaeologists and members of the cathedral staff. No previous experience is necessary and the allocation of places will be on a first come first served basis. Prioity will be given to those living in and around Peterborough.

If you want to take part in the excavation or for more information please email ACA directly on access@arch.cam.ac.uk or phone 01223 761519.

For those who do not want to dig please come and visit us anyway as we will be holding tours daily. Also keep an eye on our blog here as well as social media accounts Twitter: @AccessCambridge and @pborocathedral and on Facebook.

Posted by: archaccess | March 21, 2016

Hillington Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA)

The 2016 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) season kicked off last week in Hillington, Norfolk. The 36 Year pupils in charge of digging the 9 test-pits in Hillington were from Springwood High School and King Edward VII High School. James Smith, teacher at Springwood High School, coordinated the students taking part while Margaret MacDougal of West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society (WNKLAS) liaised with local residents to find sites to excavate. The 1m square test pits were located in the gardens of private properties on Station Road and Wheatfields. Our base for the two days of excavation was The Ffolkes Arms Hotel and Country Club.

TP 2bTest Pit 2 with St Marys Church in the background

The students worked in mixed-school teams of 4 and were supervised by Springwood High School sixth formers and members of WNKLAS. After having a briefing on Day 1 by Alison Dickens, the new Manager of ACA, about the introduction to the field academies and the aims of the project, Cat Ranson, ACA Archaeological Supervisor, went through how to excavate and record the test pits. The students then went on to make excellent progress throughout the two days of digging. The weather was lovely, clear blue sky days, although at times turned a bit chilly however, spirits remained high.

Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, and Laure Bonner, along with Alison Dickens and Laura James, toured the Hillington test pits offering guidance on excavating and recording techniques. We were also delighted that Andrew Rogerson, Pottery Expert of the Norfolk County Council could join us on the 17th March.

IMG_3557A lovely sherd of High Medieval Pottery from Test Pit 4

Andrew, identified a few sherds of Iron Age pottery coming from test pits 2, 4, 7 and 8, initially indicating perhaps that the oldest known settlement at Hillington originated in this southeastern part of the modern village near St Mary’s Church, with scatters up towards the main road. A sherd of Samian pottery was found in Test Pit 7 which means a trace of Roman activity was found near the Main Road (A148). Other identified sherds of later Ipswich and Thetford ware seemingly point to the spreading out of the village towards the northwest in the Middle to late Saxon period c. 700-1100 A.D. As always, make sure to check our website in the near future for the complete pottery report.

P1140523Everyone examines the finds from Day 1

On the third day of the HEFA, the students arrived to a rather overcast Cambridge the sun of the past couple of day had left us. Both schools took the opportunity in the morning to spend a little extra time seeing what the city has to offer before meeting us for the beginning of Day 3.

P1140515Tiny porcelain ear from TP 4

Day 3 of the HEFA began with a taster lecture on medieval settlement studies and the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement (CORS) project by Dr Nick James. The students were then taken on a tour of St John College and for lunch in the hall.

st johnsSt John’s College

The two-hour afternoon session was comprised of a talk by Megan Goldman-Roberts, the Schools Liaison Officer for St John’s College, about life as a university student followed by a presentation from Dr Jenni French on how to structure and present the written account of the excavation.

P1140430Group as they were about to hear from Alison Dickens

In feedback after the event, most of the participants rated the field academy as ‘excellent’ or ‘good. The students thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work as part of a team, learning new skills and finding things with one participant summing their HEFA experience up nicely: “I have gained a fun experience and now know a lot about being an archaeologist and about how to apply for university.” (SM) Another “enjoyed seeing a new part of the country and working with new people” (AC). One staff member said afterwards that she thought his students had gained “confidence, new skills and integration and teamwork.” (JS)

TP 6iTest pit 6 on Wheatfields

ACA would like to thank all the students and staff of the two schools involved as well as the dedicated members of WNKLAS for making this first HEFA of 2016 such a success!

 

Posted by: archaccess | March 4, 2016

MSRG Spring Conference 2016

msrg_logoThe spring 2016 conference of the Medeival Settlement Research Group (MSRG) will be held at the University of Lincoln over the weekend from Friday 29th April to Sunday 1st May 2016.

This conference will review recent archaeological investigations in Currently Occupied Rural Settlements (CORS) in eastern England, which is the focus of the majority of the work that has been undertaken by ACA over the years and a number of the speakers are coordinators from villages that have been directly involved with ACA and test pitting, either through HEFA or as community excavations.

The event will start on Friday evening with a wine reception at the University of Lincoln and a tour of the historic quarter. Saturday’s full day of papers will be followed by an optional conference dinner, while papers on Sunday morning will be rounded off with a trip to the nearby deserted medieval village (DMV) of Riseholme, iconic as the first DMV excavation to be published in Medieval Archaeology!

For further details on the conference programme and how to register, please read the PDF here or enquire directly on the MSRG website.

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