Sixteen test pits were excavated over one weekend in October 2014 by the residents of Nayland and many volunteers with the support of Dedham Vale AONB, Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society and the Nayland with Wissington Community Council. This followed on from the highly successful community test pit dig in Nayland in 2012 when 34 test pits were excavated across the village as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Managing a Masterpiece project.
The 2014 test pits, like those excavated in 2012, were widely distributed across the village and bought the total number excavated in Nayland to 50. The 2014 results supported the earlier work in indicating little evidence for settlement on the site of the present village prior to the 12th century. Only a small number of pits have produced pottery of late Anglo Saxon date and the location of these suggests that a small settlement may have been tightly clustered around the church. In contrast a large amount of medieval pottery was recorded from a large number of the test pits, suggesting that the village was thriving in the high medieval period when it was a sizable nucleated settlement, extending between Court Knoll to the south and Stoke Road to the north. Small amounts of medieval pottery were found in pits west along Bear Street, suggesting that there was a scatter of occupation following the River Stour. The volumes of later medieval pottery recovered indicates that the settlement was not adversely affected by the Black Death, being one of less than 10% of settlements in eastern England included to date in the CORS project to expand in the period after the mid-14th century AD.
Additional Roman activity was recorded in 2014 in the east of the village, along Court Street and Newlands Lane, adding to the Roman pottery that was found around Stoke Road in 2012 and perhaps suggesting that there was more activity on the banks of the river during the Roman period that previously thought. The presence of a single sherd of Iron Age pottery found from Alston Court also gives the first indication of prehistoric activity in Nayland.