Following last year’s successful digging of 12 test pits, Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) under the leadership of Dr Carenza Lewis are to visit Daws Heath for a second year. (For the 2103 dig, see other Archive articles under the “All Our Stories” project and the report on the ACA website at http://www.access.arch.cam.ac.uk/reports/essex/daws-heath ).
As in 2013, this will be part of the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) in which 40 students from Southend borough schools will gain experience of 2 days of archaeological excavation and reporting in gardens volunteered by local residents followed by a day at Cambridge University.
A further test pit will be dug by AGES AHA, the local community archaeology group, and this pit will be open for public viewing in a Bramble Road front garden opposite St Michael’s church.
Most sites have been selected, but if you wish to volunteer your garden in Daws Heath for the 2 days, there are a few vacancies and there is always a need for reserve sites, so please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. All volunteers will be kept informed of the results of the dig, both in their gardens and across Daws Heath as a whole.
Last year, pottery was dated on site by Paul Blinkhorn and found to spread from AD1350 to Victorian. This year, more sites should complete the view of the development of Daws Heath.
It is not possible to predict what exactly will be found, that is partly the joy of excavation. Last year’s highlights included a fragment of a (AD 1470-1650) French brandy flask from a former farmhouse (evidence of smuggling?), an early Bronze Age post hole on the site of the earliest structure ever found in Daws Heath and an old (possibly Edwardian) boot. So anything is possible!
The first day finds (and some of last year’s results) will be displayed at St Michael’s Community Room on Thursday 5th June with refreshments available from 10am to 12 noon, but by all means come to see AGES dig on the Wednesday and take advantage of the usual St Michael’s coffee morning just across the road.
Terry Barclay (Local HEFA Co-ordinator), Secretary for AGES AHA and one of the Editors at the Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive