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Ipswich, Suffolk

Embracing the spirit of Dig & Sow for the Cultural Olympiad, the second test-pit digging event took place in the People’s Community Garden at Maidenhall Allotments, in the south of Ipswich in September 2011.

Contradicting the foreboding weather forecast, the sun came out to shine on the 50 volunteers who worked on 7 test-pit sites in the community garden plots. Prehistoric finds are common in this area of Ipswich and, as we expected, a number of worked flints were found. However, we were surprised by the amount of medieval pottery excavated considering the prior lack of evidence for occupation in the area during this period.

The test-pits were filmed as part of the On Landguard Point feature-length film released in Spring 2012 to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad. The film explored notions of ‘home’ and the allotment excavations demonstrate how home can extend beyond your doorstep to a community of people with a common interest in the past and the importance of projects such as the People’s Community Garden for bringing them together to enjoy this unique ‘outdoor learning resource’.

Click here to view the project report.


100% of respondents rated their experience of the excavations as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 91% would recommend the activity to others.

"Enjoyable experience. The good weather helped. Thanks for the opportunity to dig." (CR, Ipswich resident)

"Just good weather. Friendly people enjoyed the experience, would do it again." (NM, Ipswich resident)

"Enjoyed all aspects of this experience and would willingly do it again." (SB, Ipswich resident)

"It is a highly satisfying feeling to work as part of a team to complete a manual task for the benefit of the local community." (LB, Suffolk resident)