Posted by: archaccess | July 28, 2015

Dunwich Dig – Day 1

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Dunwich Dig 2015 has commenced! Access Cambridge Archaeology and the HLF-funded Touching the Tide  have joined forces once again to bring a community archaeology project to the Suffolk Coast. The nine-day event, 27 July – 4 August, will see a series of 4 trenches being opened and excavated throughout the village of Dunwich on Greyfriar’s Trust property. Supervised by archaeologists from ACA, the trenches are being excavated by local volunteers. Some spaces are still available. If you’re interested in joining the dig, get in touch at access@arch.cam.ac.uk.

The headquarters for the duration is the Reading Room (behind the Dunwich Museum) where you can pop in to view the finds and find out more information, or simply have a tour round the trenches – there are signs, arrows and maps dotted throughout the village to guide you.

Nina and Carenza greet members of the public to Trench 4

Nina and Carenza greet members of the public to Trench 4

Pop in to Trench 4 in the beach car park. Sited at the edge of the medieval harbour and near the Hospital of the Holy Trinity this area could be rich in pottery. It’s also near the Beach Cafe, famed for its fish and chips. Follow the signs up the footpath to Trench 3 which is placed along the medieval continuation of St James’ Street. We’re investigating the road’s date and construction. Then carry on up the path along the cliff edge to Trench 1 just outside the wall of the Greyfriar’s Friary. Trench 2 will be opened later in the week.

The story so far:

Yesterday was mainly spent clearing back and opening the trenches, although signs of medieval Dunwich have already started to appear. Trench 4 in the car park contains the strongest evidence so far with several sherds of medieval pottery and one tantalising glazed roof tile, evidence of a nearby high status building, possibly the Maison Dieu hospital.

Glazed medieval roof tile - possibly from the Maison Dieu Hospital

Glazed medieval roof tile – possibly from the Maison Dieu Hospital

Trench 3 shifted loads of soil yesterday, but are still really in the top soil layer. However, this was not without a moment of panic as remains of a potential unexploded ordnance were uncovered. It could simply be an unexploded “paint can”, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Possible ordnance from Trench 3....

Possible ordnance from Trench 3….

Searching for the remains of medieval St James' Street in Trench 3

Searching for the remains of medieval St James’ Street in Trench 3

Trench 1 are also still in the top soil, but a possible darker feature, either modern or an earlier pit perhaps, appeared in the southwest corner. Lots of potential!

Trench 1 along the edge of the Friary wall

Trench 1 along the edge of the Friary wall

Follow our blog or come out and see us to see what is revealed as the dig goes on. Our Open Day is Saturday 1st August when tours of the site will be given by site director, Dr Carenza Lewis. We look forward to welcoming you on site!

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