Posted by: archaccess | October 14, 2014

Shefford 2014 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA)

Shefford 2014 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA)An additional field academy was run for Bedfordshire Middle School students in the town of Shefford last week, marking the end of the 2014 excavation season for ACA.

Robert Bloomfield Academy, Henlow Church of England Academy and Etonbury Academy are member schools of Bedfordshire East Schools Trust (BEST) Archaeological Society. Their students dug six archaeological test pit excavations supervised by ACA in 2012 and this year, 64 Year 7 and 8 students were involved in digging another 13 pits in Shefford. Lee Thomas, a teacher at Robert Bloomfield and founding Chairman of BEST Archaeological Society, not only coordinated the students taking part but also liaised with local residents to find sites to excavate, provided equipment and refreshments as well as taking on a very enthusiastic role in the digging! The test pits were located in the gardens of private properties on Great Hill, Clifton Road, High Street, Ivedale Drive, Hitchin Road and The Wharf. Our base for the two days of excavation was Shefford Town Memorial Hall.

The students worked in mixed-school teams of 4 or 5, and made excellent progress on the first of the two days of digging after having a briefing on how to excavate and record the test pits. They then valiantly finished digging and back-filled as the rain showers worsened on Thursday afternoon. Despite the weather, the students’ enthusiasm evidently wasn’t dampened with one commenting afterwards: “I really enjoyed this trip and I will never forget this amazing experience. Thank you HEFA!” (GH).

Paul Blinkhorn, post-medieval pottery specialist, was on site both days and his final pottery report is already available to download on the Shefford report webpage here. Test pits 12 and 13, sited in the same garden on Clifton Road, found a large quantity of Victorian pottery and domestic refuse including a flat iron and a bone domino piece. Test pits 5 and 6, in the front and back gardens of a house on Ivedale Drive, were the only ones to find Medieval pottery including shreds of Early Medieval Sandy Ware (1100-1400 AD) and a sherd of Brill/Boarstall Ware (1200-1500 AD).

On their third day’s visit to Cambridge last Friday, the students were welcome by warm sunny weather which was a welcome relief after Thursday’s rain. They had a taster lecture on medieval settlement studies from Dr Carenza Lewis, Director of ACA, and then split into groups for lunch and a tour at one of Emmanuel, St Catharine’s, Trinity and Trinity Hall Colleges. Katie Vernon, Schools Liaison Officer for both Trinity Hall and Robinson Colleges gave the group a general overview of life and learning as a university student in the afternoon, and the day finished with a review of the test pit findings in Shefford.

In feedback after the event, 87% of the participants rated the field academy as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. Many of the students relished the chance to meet and work with students from the other schools with one saying she “found (HEFA) very interesting – I liked working with new people” (GR). Another felt he had gained “life skills like working with people I don’t know, teamwork and working independently.” (FJ). One of the staff members said afterwards that he had “thoroughly enjoyed working in an out of school environment with the children, especially where I am not the expert and learn with them” (MO).

This was the last excavation of 2014 for ACA but plans for next year’s programme of school field academies and community fieldwork. At the end of the tenth season, a grand total of 1891 archaeological test pits have been dug by school students and members of the public under the supervision of ACA over the past 10 years. The team will be spending the winter months processing finds from the 2014 excavations as well as report writing and publishing, evaluating activities for funders and setting up next season’s activities.

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page.


  1. […] No poo in the sewers, please… Unearthing South London: A place in the country The story of London Tweed Sherlock style: Q+A with artist Kasia Wozniak Hidden London – Guess The Building Sherlock Holmes launch party 1978: science & the great kite craze AA79 is nearly ready to go to the printers… AA – Online First! What’s New with Ezra-Nehemiah The 1954 Hague Convention at 60 The Current State of Ugaritic studies The Dutch and the Ancient Near East The Early Bronze Age I Site and Necropolis of Jebel al-Mutawwaq, Jordan Lumpy Bumpy Pudding Moanhenge 2: Goodbye Tarmac, Hello Obama Arte-Factual: Tomb Raider 3: Apsaras, the Celestial Dancers of Hindu Myth The Parthenon Marbles in the Louvre Archäologische Kriegsverluste im Gaza-Streifen Programmtip: Das geplünderte Erbe HNR workshop Bochum Call for papers CAA2015 in Siena Some archaeological field observations from Groot Genhout (Limburg, the Netherlands). Mummy coffin and OSU History of Art study THE AMAZING NEWARK EARTHWORKS ON THE MENU AT THE SCIENCE CAFE WORLD HERITAGE OHIO ICE AGE SPEARPOINT COPIED WITH SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY Papyri Bononienses Open Access Journal: The Biblical Annals Open Access Journal: TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism New Open Access Book: Israel and the Assyrians Deuteronomy the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon and the Nature of Subversion, by C. L. Crouch Les inscriptions grecques de Thespies Online Recogito Open Access Journal: Antiguo Oriente: Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente Open Access MARC record set for online Metropolitan Museum of Art publications Open Access Journal: Revue d’Histoire des Textes (RHT) Open Access Journal: Exemplaria Classica Open Access Journal: Spicae: Cahiers de l’Atelier Vincent de Beauvais A Bibliography of Semitic Linguistics (1940-2012) By Gregorio del Olmo Lete Open Access Journal: Oxford Faculty of Classics Newsletter Open Access Publications of the Center for Hellenic Studies Amanuensis V1.4.2: Amanuensis is a search tool for the juristic sources of Latin Antiquity Open Access Journal: Studia Hermetica Journal Open Access Journal: Bulletin de l’Association Pro Aventico Publications de l’École française de Rome at OpenEdition Books Open Access Journal: EPEKEINA. International Journal of Ontology. History and Critics That is not a stegosaurus Useful tip on how to sharpen a 3D still in Photoshop! Shefford 2014 Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: