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As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Managing a Masterpiece scheme, in Spring 2011 Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) gave Clare residents, school pupils and members of the public the chance to carry out their own small archaeological 'test pit' excavations throughout the village of Clare to find out how the town developed over hundreds and thousands of years in the past.

Fifteen test pit sites were dug by 106 Year 7 and Year 8 (11-13 year old) students from Clare Middle School over two days at the start of April 2011. 18 staff members, 2 governors and 3 friends of the school were also involved in supervising the students.

A further eighteen archaeological test pits in private gardens and fields were dug by over 80 Clare residents, members of Clare Local History Society and numerous other volunteers with connections to the Clare community over the weekend of 7th-8th May 2011.  

Click here to view the project report.

Click here to view a press report.


94% of respondents rated their experience of the excavations as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while 92% would recommend the activity to others.

 “It is great fun for all ages - we camped in the garden we were digging overnight! Fully enjoyed whole experience and can't wait for the results! More please!” (A&GR)

“It was very well fun and organised. There was no confusion as to what should be happening and when. Felt my contribution was valuable and acknowledged by staff members. A great experience all round!” (CS)

“It is fun and educational and you get to work with great people. It is good to know that while you're having fun, you are doing something for university research.” (BS)