The last of our three Heritage Lottery funded digs will take place this summer, starting on Saturday 12th August in the parish of Boxford about half a mile from the village centre; it will be in a field off the Winterbourne Road. We will be working for 2 weeks and volunteers may come and go as convenient for them. However, it is useful for us to know which days volunteers are coming. So please let me know which days you plan to come. Please note Mondays of both weeks will be REST DAYS!
We start with a daily briefing by a professional archaeologist Matt Nichol from Cotswold Archaeology at around 9am; have breaks mid morning and afternoon, stop for lunch and finish around 5pm. Volunteers are covered by insurance – not that we have ever had to claim. There are portable loos on site and a large marquee to provide cover.
We will be excavating a known Roman villa site and another Roman building, which we found by doing a geophysical survey a couple of years ago. It could be another villa or a large agricultural building but since it has not been disturbed we hope to have some decent finds. An excavator does most of the heavy digging and then volunteers move in afterwards.
We also process and document finds and we use volunteers for this too – so there are different opportunities for volunteers. All tools are provided, and professionals will be on site at all times to provide guidance and help. If you would like to volunteer – the only things that you need to provide are gardening gloves to protect your hands, sensible footwear, old clothing depending on rain or sun, suncream, a hat/waterproofs, your lunch and plenty to drink. If you have a garden kneeler you might like to bring that to protect your knees!
We have a good mix of volunteers and hope that some of our 6th formers and Uni students will return again – they seem to have enjoyed their past experiences and for those applying to universities, joining in this kind of project does look good on a Uni application, even if they don’t plan on studying archaeology.
For “old hands” please come with buckets, trowels, hand shovels and wheelbarrows if you have them. We will be putting up the marquee on Monday 7th August – if anyone is available to help with this, will you please give me a call or email, so we can finalise the time.
We especially hope locals will make the most of this last great opportunity to discover more about the place in which they live – particularly as they may not only discover Roman remains in their own gardens but understand and appreciate what they find!
Many thanks and look forward to meeting you.
Boxford History Project 01488608422 email@example.com
Confirmed start date at last! Saturday 12th August at 9am at the Mudhole site on the Winterbourne Road from Boxford for our last Heritage Lottery Funded dig into Roman sites in Boxford.
The site will be found about half a mile out of the village of Boxford – from Boxford Church take the Winterbourne Road and drive past Boxford Farm and through small area of woodland (Boxford Common) – our site is the first field on the left before a house with stables (Mudhall Cottage). Car sharing will be helpful as there is limited space in the field and it’s not safe to park in the road.
For newcomers, you don’t need equipment but please come with old clothes, sturdy footwear, wet gear, sun hat and sun cream to cover all eventualities, plenty of water, your lunch and snacks, some gardening gloves and garden kneeler if you have one. Loos and shelter will be on site. You will be covered by insurance – although we have never had to make a claim! Training is also provided by professional archaeologists. If you are a student, taking this kind of opportunity looks really good on your CV or Uni application. We usually start with a coffee and briefing session about 9am, have morning and afternoon breaks, a lunch stop and finish around 5pm.
For old hands – if you have any bits of equipment, buckets and wheelbarrows etc, they would be very helpful – please make sure they are clearly marked with your name. Thanks.
Entry to this site is free – you just need enthusiasm! There are all sorts of jobs – not just digging – the topsoil will have been taken off by a JCB but finds processing which means washing and sorting finds, and recording and photographing is available. So something for everyone. If you have any queries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to seeing you.
How the other half lived……………………………………in Roman times!
We have been very fortunate in securing another engaging and knowledgeable speaker for this HLF funded series of lectures which run alongside the excavations into Roman sites within Boxford.
John Shepherd is currently Andante’s Director of Archaeology. He is an archaeologist who has worked extensively in the field in Europe. He is a specialist in the study of ancient glass and co-authored the book “The glass workers of Roman London.”
Much of John’s career has been focussed upon Roman provincial archaeology, working at the Museum of London for over 20 years. He published Professor W F Grimes’s post war excavations on the London Temple of Mithras and the Cripplegate Roman Fort and also established the Museum’s Archaeological Archive and Research Centre. He left the Museum in 2004 to work more closely with developing the use of museum archaeological collections in universities and schools, as well as teaching at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute on various aspects of European archaeology.
He will be delivering his lecture “How the other half lived…………………in Roman times” at Boxford Village Hall at 7.30pm on June 21st. This should give us a clue as to what we might expect to find in a Roman home – like the Roman villa we will be excavating in August – if we are lucky to find anything in one piece!!
So two dates for the diary: 21st June for the lecture and 12th August for the likely start of the new Roman excavations – if you are interested in joining us for the latter, please email: email@example.com (You don’t need to be experts or proficient – just interested! There will be experts overseeing the work.)
Below some of the nearly 100 people who turned out to the see the results of this year’s Big Dig in Boxford yesterday. Members of BARG (Berkshire Archaeology Research Group), volunteers and Cotswold Archaeology were on hand to explain the site which contained not only Roman but Iron Age finds. It was good to see some of the younger volunteers sufficiently confident in explaining what they had been doing over the last two weeks. There were a number of aerial photos on display kindly provided by Richard using his drone. A few of the finds were on display – when they have all been recorded, they will be on display in Boxford Heritage Centre. Pottery, bones, shells and metalwork will all be sent to experts for identification; as well as large amount of soil samples taken for environmental analysis. Our thanks go to Cotswold Archaeology, BARG and all our volunteers without whom , none of this would have been possible. Especial thanks goes to Dave who ferried equipment around and Pru who washed innumerable finds almost single handed! Now we are looking forward to our last HLF funded project next year in August – another Roman villa – maybe two or perhaps the second building will be a barn or full scale brewery! Please contact Joy Appleton at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining us. It might be hard work at times but we do have a lot of laughs!! We hope to hold a feedback session later in the year. Please subscribe to get updates.
Gill’s task …………………….to meticulously draw the foundations and debris of our little Roman mystery building using a grid before we can excavate. She hopes to finish tomorrow!
Today’s thunderstorms mean no digging for a while as everyone is cleared off the field until the storms have passed but it’s quite a dramatic sight.
Photos courtesy of Lindsey.
This little building situated to the rear of the churchyard is now well and truly open.
There is an ongoing project to display and catalogue the many Boxford artifacts, photos, maps, books, files……………………kindly donated by many in the village and further afield over several years; as well as Roman finds from the excavation in 2013 and 2015.
For those new to the village, this building replaces the Victorian Parish Room located on Glebe land which collapsed in 2009 in a snow storm and followed the wishes of the parish in the 2008 Parish Plan to turn the building into a Heritage Centre. The building has largely been funded by the Payne-Gallwey Trust in memory of Sir Phillip Payne Gallwey, a previous churchwarden of St. Andrew’s Church and his mother Mrs. Janet Payne Gallwey, an active member of all village organisations. There have however, been significant and generous donations from other members of the community and the support of the Greenham Common Trust, West Berkshire Council and Boxford Parish Council.
It is manned by volunteers fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon and also by appointment for those involved in local history or family research. It will also be available for schools who have also expressed an interest in using the contents for history projects. There will be no charge for admission to Boxford residents past or present. We look forward to welcoming you.
Boxford History Project team (BHP)
Boxford’s new defibrillator is now functioning in the church porch at St.Andrew’s. In the event of an emergency, the 999 operator will advise the location and code to access the defibrillator. Thirty two people have signed up for Resuscitation Training which will take place at the Village Hall on September 12th and 19th. More money for the defibrillator, installation, maintenance and first aid training has been received and the total now stands at £2845! Well done Boxford!