MAY 14/15 – BIG DIG 2016

Histon and Impington Village Society Archaeology Group

Download this report as a PDF (good for printing):   HistonImpingtonBigDigMay2016

May Pottery report from Time Time’s Paul Blinkhorn PotteryreportHisImp1415May2016

Your committee are pleased to announce that over 80 people came to enjoy taking part in an extremely successful first BIG DIG on a fine and mostly sunny weekend. We excavated eight test pits – all surprisingly different in character, emphasizing the varied archaeology and geology underlying the villages and the desirability of getting to understand it better.  Interesting finds were made of all periods from Bronze Age and Roman, with a wide selection of medieval pottery and later glazed and Victorian items.

 

Digging for the May Histon Big Dig

Dig

Sieveing finds, Histon big dig

Sieve

Washing finds in the Histon big dig

Wash

 

Burgoynes Farm Close

Burgoynes Farm Close

Melvin Way

Melvin Way

A party atmosphere soon developed and all were unanimous in saying how very much they were enjoying making new friends in the village and with our outside helpers from Chesterton, St Ives, Huntingdon and Spain. Warmest thanks to the test pit providers, who bravely let us dig their lawns up and were so generous in their support with cake and drinks.

Park Lane

Park Lane

Water Lane

Water Lane

Our success was in a large part due to the expert supervision, help and advice of the three experienced excavators supervising us: John Stanford, Field Director of the Fen Edge Archaeology Group,  Paul Clarkson who has done much field work and Terry Dymott, Field Director of the Cambridge Archaeology Field Group. Thank you all.

New School Road

New School Road

Cottenham Road

Cottenham Road

Thanks also to our committee members Jane, Lynn, Alison, Roger and Steve who have worked hard to contact and visit people and distribute and collect all the equipment.

The Old House Station Road

The Old House Station Road

The Old House Station Road

The Old House Station Road

Prior's Close

Prior’s Close

After the digging we met at the St Audrey’s Close Community Centre where Nick Gilmour of Oxford Archaeology East kindly came to examine and discuss the finds. As well as the variety of finds, he was very impressed by the amount of digging and sieving that had been done, and some of the depths achieved, particularly where the soil was hardest.

Nick Gilmour of Oxford Archaeology East

Nick Gilmour of Oxford Archaeology East

The main lesson learnt was the need for an early start, so that time is left for those last few more packed deep layers where the very oldest finds are made. Also the need for strong men to dig into the clay-based areas of the villages.  One secret of success is the thoroughness of the sieving – finding everything you can – and we have been very good at this.

Early pottery near Impington Church

Early pottery near Impington Church

Late Bronze Age near Histon Church

Late Bronze Age near Histon Church

A varied selection of medieval pottery from Prior's Close. Possibly cleaned out of the Brook.

A varied selection of medieval pottery from Prior’s Close. Possibly cleaned out of the Brook.

Flint scraper from the Old House

Flint scraper from the Old House

A very old bone

A very old bone

The pottery and bone finds will now be sent off for expert identification and dating, leading to the preparation of a full report in due course.

The next digging weekend is 18/19 June, when we will explore some more areas of the village. If you enjoyed this week, we do hope you would like to come again so that we can benefit from your help and experience. If you know of anyone else who would like to come and be involved, do please put them in touch on davidoates11@gmail.com  or 07539 222469. We are also planning to dig on 16/17 July and 6/7 August.

David Oates                                                                                                            16th May 2016.