STArting the HEFA Season in Stapleford

TP 4gThe first of the summer’s Higher Education Field Academies was run by Access Cambridge Archaeology last week. HEFAs are three day aspiration-raising courses which give young people the opportunity to do their own hands-on archaeological investigation that will give them the skills and confidence to raise their ambitions for the future.

Twenty-seven students from Sawston Village College, Linton Village College and The Manor School, Cambridge, attended the academy in Stapleford last week. This was our first visit to the village and the students dug eight archaeological test pits over the two days, and even found time for an additional slot trench adjacent to the deepest test pit on the final afternoon.

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Most of the sites dug were in residents’ back gardens but we were also invited to dig in the playing field of Stapleford Primary School which was visited by pupils at the school at regular intervals.

The HEFA participants were looking for evidence to date the origins and development of the village, and our pottery specialist Paul Blinkhorn was on hand to identify finds. The pottery report is already online here.

After the two days in the field, the students visited the University of Cambridge to analyse their results and learn more about life and learning at a top university. The feedback was excellent with 96% of the students rating the HEFA as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. One student said “thank you for this opportunity, it has been fantastic to be a part of it” and another said “it was a great experience and thank you for involving me!”

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Many thanks to John Street of Cambridge Archaeology Field Group (CAFG) for identifying sites to dig and booking the village pavilion as a base for the two days. Thanks are also due to Susan, Robert and Terry who are also members of CAFG who gave their time to supervise test pit groups, as well as regular volunteers Claire and Sue, and new volunteers Zenobia and Georgie.

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