Based for the first time at East Rudham in Norfolk, we completed our 10th HEFA of the year in all types of weather. Students from Fakenham Academy, Alderman Peel High School, Cromer Academy, Litcham High School and Thomas Clarkson Academy
6th Form students from Fakenham learnt valuable leadership skills as they supervised the majority of the test pits. Learning how to encourage, record and organise are vital skills which will be highly useful to them as they write their university applications in the next few months. Many of them had participated as students, and we even had a trainee teacher return with his old school, proving that these HEFA have a lasting positive effect on students.
Day 1 had a wet start but the students made good starts to their excavations, finding mostly modern remains, but a few fragments of medieval pottery. On day 2, on-site pottery expert, Andrew Rogerson, identified several interesting finds including large sections from the rim of a 12th Century bowl. As always, make sure to check our website in the near future for the complete pottery report.
On the third day of the HEFA, the students arrived to a rather overcast Cambridge but enjoyed the chance to see how their excavations had informed our knowledge of the archaeology and populations in East Anglia. Nick James gave a taster lecture on medieval settlement studies and the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement (CORS) project. The students then split into groups for lunch and a tour at one of Emmanuel, Sidney Sussex and Selwyn colleges. This was particularly useful for the 6th form students as they had the opportunity to actually experience how the university operated between the departments and the colleges and get a feel for how they might fit in.
The two-hour afternoon session was comprised of a talk from Ed Penn, Schools Liaison Officer for Jesus College, about life as a university student followed by a presentation from Jeremy Bennet on how to structure and present a written account of the excavation.
In feedback after the event, 100% of the participants rated the field academy as ‘excellent’ or ‘good. The students thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work as part of a team, learning new skills and finding things. Staff who attended appreciated this variety of skills and experience we offer. Of particular value to students was the opportunity to see how to produce university style work and “the freedom/ independence of being in charge of your own research”. One student commented on the other benefits of the field school saying “I have gained confidence in a social way as I am now not as nervous speaking to new people”.
It’s not the only excitement we have had today as it is also the first day of the community excavations at Peterborough Cathedral. We’re excavating on the North side of the Cathedral, and the first volunteers have just got cracking. Currently in the upper levels we’re finding some really fun things from the 19th and 20th centuries including intact bottles and jugs. We’ll be keeping you up to date as things progress with regular blog posts and tweets.
A big thanks to Revd Dr Edward Bundock from St Mary’s Church for being so hospitable while we used the church as our base. We look forward to further excavations in the area in coming years!