The Daws Heath Dig June 2013

An "All Our Stories" Project

At a previous test pit
Cambridge Archaeology
All pottery will be washed
Cambridge Archaeology
In a back garden
Cambridge Archaeology
In a front garden
Cambridge Archaeology
Digging for All Our Stories
Echo and Maxine Clarke


As part of our current All Our Stories Project, Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive has been asked by Carenza Lewis of Cambridge Archaeology to co-ordinate arranging sites for 10 to 15, 1 metre by 1 metre, test pits; mostly in Daws Heath gardens.

The Archive is excited to help with a rare and wonderful opportunity for the people of Daws Heath to learn more about the history buried beneath their properties.

The overall brief is to learn more about the development of the Daws Heath community over time. We know there was an old farming community amid the heathland and woods prior to the residential developments, but how old and where? Is there something to be found relating to the development of the Victorian community around the triangle?

Students from four Southend schools, already separately arranged by the university, will do most of the digging as part of a Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) project; starting late Wednesday morning following training in a local hall by Cambridge University archaeologists.

Some additional test pits may be dug by the property owners themselves and by the locally-based Ages Archaeological & Historical Association.

The digs will then be completed and backfilled on the second day, Thursday.  All finds will be initially identified on site, and then taken to the excavation base at a local hall before transfer to Cambridge University for a full, expert identification and detailed report on each test pit.

The school students will then be given an opportunity to visit the university on the Friday to encourage their interest  in pursuing an education at university level.

Each participating land owner will receive a report written by the student, overseen by the university Archaeology department and the Archive expects that extracts from the overall report will appear on this web-site.  Cambridge University may return later to summarise the results to the Daws Heath community at a suitable venue.

After an article filling the front and inner pages of the Castle Point Echo, there has been a very good response from Daws Heath residents volunteering their gardens.

So far, the likely locations of the test pits have been identified and arrangements are being made to confirm the university’s final selection with a few reserves to allow for any cancellations or to be considered for possible future projects.

Once confirmed, the location of the hall to be used as the excavation base will appear in this article, hopefully with some indication of how members of the public can visit to view some of the finds on the Thursday and perhaps see some of the digging in progress.

More general information about the HEFA project in general can be found at

(All the archaeological photographs with this article are from previous Cambridge Archaeology digs elsewhere in earlier years and are reproduced with their kind permission).

Click here to link with our blog of the All Our Stories project.

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