Test Pitting in Snape has the Go Ahead on 7th- 8th May

As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Touching the Tide scheme, residents of Snape and the surrounding area will have the chance to carry out small archaeological ‘test pit’ excavations to find out how the area has developed over hundreds – even thousands – of years in the past.

On the weekend of Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th May 2016 we ask you to join us in the village of Snape, a picturesque village sitting on the northern bank of the River Alde in east Suffolk. We are looking for both volunteers to dig the test pits and gardens/land where the test pits can be sited. It will also be a great chance for the community to get together and to make new discoveries.

Snape FW
Fieldwalking in February 2014

ACA has already undertaken fieldwalking in Snape with Touching the Tide in early 2014 that was focused to the rear of the modern development opposite the primary school in the north of Snape that was swiftly followed up with two geophysical survey training days in a field 1km east of the village in the early spring. Both of these were very successful in involving members of the local community adding to the local knowledge of the area.

The test pitting in Snape on the 7th and 8th May will be a great opportunity to further what is already known about the village, have you ever wanted to know what is under your back garden? Now is the chance to find out!

Test pits are just 1m², create a minimum of disturbance to your garden, and can be sited anywhere you wish. The digging can be done by you, your family and friends, or by others. Full instructions and expert support are provided throughout. The idea is to get as many test pits in different locations in Snape as possible. We’ll identify and date all the finds. Then we’ll be able to put them on a map of the village and find out how the village developed over hundreds, or even thousands of years!

What will happen?

  • Test pits are just 1m² and create a minimum of disturbance.
  • They can be sited anywhere you wish (on unscheduled land).
  • The digging can be done by your, your family and friends, or by local school pupils or by interested members of the public from elsewhere.
  • Property owners who aren’t digging their own pit don’t have to be present during the excavation, although you’re welcome to get involved with the excavations and ‘your’ digging team if you want to.
  • Finds are washed and recorded and retained for analysis, after which they will be returned to property owners, if requested.
  • The small amount of spoil created is sieved onto tarpaulins, preventing damage to lawns.
  • Test pits are completed in two days and back-filled, with any turf replaced neatly. The site should be invisible within a few weeks.
  • Results will be communicated to everyone who’s interested via the Snape Village Website, the ACA project website, written reports and a follow-up talk.

7 5


Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before – there’ll be full instructions and lots of archaeologists on hand to help! Whatever size your garden is, it can probably fit a 1m2 pit. Using tarpaulins for spoil protects lawns and pits can be located anywhere to avoid precious plants and special features. Don’t worry if you think your property isn’t very old or very interesting – sometimes the newest houses produce the oldest finds!

How can I get involved?

  1. You can dig your own test pit in your own garden/property in Snape
  2. You can offer your garden/property in Snape for someone else to dig
  3. You can offer to dig someone else’s garden/property in Snape
  4. You can offer digging equipment for someone else to borrow
  5. You can help manning the town hall and preparing refreshments for diggers over the weekend

What should I do now if I’m interested?

  1. To register to take part contact ACA on access@arch.cam.ac.uk or 01223 761519. Give your details (name, address, phone, e-mail) and please say what you’d like to do.
  2. Talk to friends, family etc. to see who else would like to join in, either with you or on their own pit.
  3. Keep in touch with the organisers so they know that you know what’s going on, and who has confirmed they’re going to take part
  4. Think about where you might want to dig, what equipment you have and what you’ll want to borrow or lend.
  5. Spread the word and encourage others to get involved!
  6. For further information keep an eye on the Touching the Tide website and the ACA website

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