Longstanton Community Test-Pit Digging, 10-11 October 2015

TP 6 at St Michael's Mount
TP 6 at St Michael’s Mount

This past weekend, Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) had the privilege of running a community test-pit event in the village of Longstanton, Cambridgeshire. ACA ran the event in conjunction with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) as an outreach project tying in the archaeology of Longstanton with that of the nearby, recently concluded excavations of the Phase 1 site at the planned new town of Northstowe. During these large-scale excavations by the CAU, four distinct sites from the Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and medieval periods have been investigated at Northstowe; could the Longstanton test-pits, a small snap-shot of this village’s archaeology, produce similar material?

Alison Dickens of the CAU discusses the Northstowe project
Alison Dickens of the CAU discusses the Northstowe project
Archaeology of Northstowe Phase One Site
Archaeology of Northstowe Phase One Site

Organised by Rodney Scarle and hosted by Hilary Stroude of the Longstanton and District Heritage Society a small cohort of 14 volunteers excavated a total of five test-pits over the weekend. Our base for the weekend was The Manor Longstanton which was also the site of one of the test-pits; the others were located in private gardens on Brewer’s Close, Brookfield Drive, Prentice Close and St Michael’s Mount.

Cat visits TP 3
Cat visits TP 3
TP2 hard at work
TP2 hard at work
TP 5 at The Manor
TP 5 at The Manor

All of the test pits produced interesting finds and aided our understanding of the development of this site. Most test-pits produced early pottery and once the finalised pottery analysis report has been completed it will be linked here.To see the pottery distribution map and find out more about the history of the area have a look at the dedicated Longstanton page on the ACA website.

Laure visits TP 1 nearest the Northstowe site
Laure visits TP 1 nearest the Northstowe site
Emma and Sheila at TP 3
Emma and Sheila at TP 3

Of particular note is TP 1 at the north of the village and, indeed, the closest to the Northstowe site. This test-pit produced early pottery and a Roman coin, a probable small bronze of Honorius (393-423 AD). It also included a feature at approximately 70cm which is a possible ditch terminus or pit edge. This feature also produced in situ pottery which, once analysed, will give us an approximate date for the feature.

TP1 finds
TP1 finds
TP 1 c. 4th-5th century Roman coin
TP 1 c. 4th-5th century Roman coin

In feedback after the event, 100% of volunteers rated the event as “Excellent” or “Good”. It is hoped that further community archaeology events will take place in the future to investigate this interesting site further as there is so much more to learn about not only its development but its relationship to the complex archaeology at Northstowe.

Rodney helps out with the sieving
Rodney helps out with the sieving
Examining the finds
Examining the finds

Thank you again to all of the volunteers who came out to make this another successful community event and special thanks to Rodney for organising and Hilary for hosting. We hope to be visiting you again soon!

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