The Essex Dig and Sow event for the East of England’s Cultural Olympiad took place in Clavering last Saturday, our first dry excavation in a month! Twenty-nine test-pits were dug by local residents and volunteers in the village and surrounding countryside in an Olympic race against time to dig down back in time. Conceived by the Pacitti Company arts group, the excavations are part of a region-wide community exploration of finds from homes of the past. After completing their ‘dig’, residents were asked to ‘sow’ a silver charm back into their completed test-pits to leave a contribution to the archaeological record of homes of the future.
Amongst our finds from the past was an almost complete seventeenth century Harlow slipware cup was found just under the surface of a gravel driveway. Another test-pit found a trading token referring to a ‘Thomas’ of Manuden. Thanks to our finds expert, Carole Fletcher from Oxford Archaeology East, a large quantity of medieval pottery was identified from Middle Street, in the heart of the village.
A huge thank you to Jacky Cooper of the Clavering Landscape History Group for recruiting test-pit sites in the village and organising the provision of tea and bisucits at our base at the Christian Centre. The feedback after the event was exceptionally positive and people seemed to really enjoy taking part in a communtiy event. There was “the sense of everyone joining together in the village: it was a shared experience” and “comaraderie with neighbours.” Another resident commented that it was “a wonderful community project which tied in well with the Cultural Olympiad. It was fascinating to see the huge array of finds from various periods in time.”
The digs feature in the Herts & Essex Observer, with a slideshow of finds including the slipware cup. You can read the article here.
There are another two Dig & Sow events taking place in Norfolk and Bedfordshire over the coming month and registration for them is essential, for more details please see the On Landguard Point website here.