Before returning to the office for winter hibernation amongst the mountains of find bags, we had a last set of test-pit excavations to pilot the new Cambridge Archaeology Project (CAP) in Isleham, Cambs. ACA were working with Mildenhall College of Technology to dig 12 test-pits which will form the basis of GCSE History assessed coursework of Year 10 students at the school.
They are currently studying towards the ‘History Around Us’ module in the OCR History A (Schools History Project) qualification and will use the results of their test-pit digs and documentary sources to reflect on this historical site in its wider context. An archaeological investigation is ideally suited to the aims of the module and provides an exciting fieldtrip opportunity which brings the past to life! Following several lessons in school learning about life in medieval villages, the students really enjoyed the hands-on experience working with their friends outside of the classroom, especially the excitement of ‘not knowing what you were going to find!’ One student thought that collecting her own data would help improve her grade, ‘I think seeing actual artefacts coming out of the ground helped a lot. It makes it easier to understand‘ and another that by spending two days in the village, she would ‘know more about the area and I am more likely to remember the information I learnt’.
Nine of the test-pits were in the exisiting village but the other three were in a sugarbeet field to the south-west which is the probable site of Little Isleham, a deserted medieval hamlet, located for us by Christopher Goodwin. Initial dating of the pottery from these test-pits suggests that it was occupied during the later twelth to thirteenth centuries.
Many thanks to Vernon Place, representing the Isleham Society, for his help finding test-pit sites as well as to Richard Kerridge, Head of History, for his collaboration at Mildenhall College of Technology.
If you are interested in booking a CAP course for your students, please see further details on our website.