Five test pits were excavated in the northern half of Long Melford by 20 Year 9 students from Thomas Gainsborough School and Ormiston Sudbury Academy. The test pitting was part of the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) programme undertaken by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) in East Anglia, which aims to raise the aspirations, enthusiasm and attainment of 14-17 year-olds with regard to higher education by making a valuable contribution to current academic research at the University of Cambridge, into the development of rural communities and settlements in the past.
The 2016 excavations followed on from those undertaken in Long Melford in 2011, 2013 and 2014, bringing the total number of test pits so far excavated in the village to 73. Perhaps surprisingly the 2016 yielded no Roman pottery, but does show that the majority of the Romano-British activity that has so far been found through the test pitting is in the south of the village. Only one test pit had Late Anglo Saxon pottery that was from the top green, where in previous years test pitting additional Late Saxon pottery and building remains have been recorded, so there is likely a Late Saxon site just south of the church and hospital. A single test pit also yielded high medieval pottery from opposite the green and continues to suggest that the medieval occupation of Long Melford was spread out along a lot of the length of the village, with almost two separate areas of settlement; one in the north around the church and then in the south. All the test pits produced later medieval pottery and continues to suggest that the village was not greatly affected by the Black Death and other socio-economic factors during the 14th century, the village was thriving and the two separate foci began to become one settlement. This was further demonstrated with a range of post medieval and later pottery wares recovered from all the test pits that show that the village continued to develop and grow to the settlement that is seen today.