Dunwich Dig – Day 2

Day 2 of the Touching the Tide Dunwich Dig saw many Day 1 volunteers returning for more action. The camaraderie and esprit d’corps has already started to develop as has a real sense of trench loyalty – an example of how community archaeology really brings people together. 
Trench 1 near the outer edge of the Greyfriar’s Friary ruins, supervised by Jess Rippengal zooarchaeologist from the University of Cambridge, uncovered the first feature of the Dunwich Dig. The Trench 1 team carefully cleaned and recorded the wall feature and today’s plan is to remove it and see what lies beneath. Is it an in situ wall? Is it collapsed rubble from an earlier wall? Or, is it something else? Keep an eye on the blog to see what happens! 


Jess and Sarah record the feature

Trench 3 along the continuation of St James’ Street, under the supervision of John Newman archaeologist and pottery expert, slaved away removing topsoil from the raised end of that trench and finally found the bottom of the top soil. Thankfully, no further WWII implements have revealed themselves, however, interestingly, the finds from the lower layer of the topsoil were predominantly of a 17th-18th century date. We are heading in the right direction!


John and Geoff shift soil from the hollow of Trench 3
The “car park trench”, Trench 4, supervised by Cat Ranson, ACA archaeological supervisor, is really the face of the Dunwich Dig. As coach loads of visitors and tourists come to the seaside for their fish and chips or their ice creams they pop along to Trench 4 to see what’s happening. 


Visitors flock to Trench 4
Yesterday, although numbers were down in this trench, spirits were high and a lot of topsoil was shifted. Both site director, Dr Carenza Lewis, and Touching the Tide project manager, Bill Jenman, mattocked, shovelled and dug their way through tonnes of earth. Further medieval clues were again revealed with more pottery and further glazed roof tile turning up. But the topsoil is still carrying on and, indeed, embedded in the topsoil at both the east and west ends of the trench are hints at Dunwich Beach’s more recent past – two WWII-era barbed wire fence posts. 

The rain came down fervently in the last few minutes of the dig, but if spirits and bodies were dampened it was all soon made better by delicious cake back at base….thanks, Bill!


The dig carries on until Tuesday, 4th August. A few volunteer spaces remain; please email access@arch.cam.ac.uk for further information. 

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