Nearly 90 participants from the Nayland community excavations earlier this month provided feedback on the activity. A Heritage Lottery funded Managing a Masterpiece event, Access Cambridge Archaeology supervised the digging of 34 test pits in the Suffolk village by local residents and volunteers.
96% of participants rated the community dig as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, and 97% of participants would recommend the activity to others. One participant described the event as “a triumph and well organised, enjoyable and constructive, and good for community spirit.” Another recommendation of the test pit digging read “Archaeology is about our history, it belongs to all of us. Why not? Being actively involved is very different to just reading about it. It is very social, you begin to feel one of a team, one of a community.”
Many of the participants praised the community spirit of the event, especially the generous refreshment provision, and one participant said that“it was great to be part of something that involved so many of the village and that feeds into a much bigger picture.”
82% of participants will take more interest in the archaeology and heritage of Nayland in the future, and 84% of participants will take more interest in archaeology and heritage more generally in the future. Participants were impressed to discover that their results would be contributing to the CORS research project at the University of Cambridge, and that they were valued contributers, with comments such as “this is an excellent way of relating academic studies to actual reality” and “excellent briefing and preparation before made me feel confident to work independently.”
The Nayland community dig was the sixth collaboration between Access Cambridge Archaeology and Managing a Masterpiece in the Stour Valley, and the archaeological expertise and support was often singled out as a highlight of the experience. A quote from a regular volunteer read “I’d like to say how well the Cambridge team support us diggers. We are never made to feel ignorant (even if we are!) or foolish. We are always treated with friendliness and respect – you really are a great team! Thank you.”
Over the past two weeks, the pottery has been dried and separated, weighed and photographed and has been delivered for specialist analysis today. The pottery report will be uploaded to the Nayland Excavation Report webpage here in the next few weeks.