Volunteering opportunities at Peterborough Cathedral Excavations


Archaeological Excavations at Peterborough Cathedral are to be run jointly by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), both of the University of Cambridge alongside the Peterborough Cathedral Archaeologist as part of Peterborough 900 campaign. The dig culminates in the Peterborough Heritage Festival, which takes place over the weekend of the 1st to the 3rd July 2016 and has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The excavation will run from Wednesday 22nd June through to Sunday 3rd July and a total of six trenches will be opened in the Garden House area (see map below), in the north-west part of the cathedral precincts. The trenches have been sited following a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey on the land and it is believed that finding archaeological remains pre-dating the abbey are fairly low, so the main focus of the archaeology will probably be on the Late Anglo Saxon period and later. There is a possibility that the burh (or burgh) wall crosses the garden area; this was constructed in 1005 AD when the entire precinct was fortified after the abbey was re-built following Danish and Viking raids from the continent. It was when the burgh was constructed that the original Saxon name of Peterborough, Medehamstede, was changed, first to Goldenburgh and then Burgh St Peter or Peterburgh (after the saint dedication of the church and the presence of the burgh – an Old English name for fortified settlement).

Garden House Location Map

How to be involved:

Volunteers are invited to take part in the excavations for a minimum of three consecutive days. Those wishing to work for further days will be put on a waiting list in case there are still spaces available shortly before the dig. The excavation is open to all ages and abilities, as there will also be opportunities not only to excavate but to be involved in less physically demanding tasks too. Children under the age of 16 may be considered, but they must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

All volunteers will be able to work with both professional archaeologists and members of the cathedral staff. No previous experience is necessary and the allocation of places will be on a first come first served basis. Prioity will be given to those living in and around Peterborough.

If you want to take part in the excavation or for more information please email ACA directly on access@arch.cam.ac.uk or phone 01223 761519.

For those who do not want to dig please come and visit us anyway as we will be holding tours daily. Also keep an eye on our blog here as well as social media accounts Twitter: @AccessCambridge and @pborocathedral and on Facebook.

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