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Test Pit Excavations with Touching the Tide in Southwold this August

last modified Jun 03, 2014 02:32 PM
As part of a Heritage Lottery Funded landscape partnership project, ACA will be supervising a long weekend of community test-pit excavations on the Suffolk coast at the end of August 2014.


Over four days, from Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st August 2014, residents of Southwold and Reydon will have the chance to carry out small archaeological 'test pit' garden excavations to find out how the area has developed over hundreds - even thousands - of years in the past. The project is supported by Touching the Tide, a Heritage Lottery Funded scheme taking place along the Suffolk coast from Covehithe to Felixstowe between 2013-2016.

Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) ran archaeological training days on geophysical surveying and fieldwalking with Touching the Tide earlier in the spring, and the test pit excavations in August will be another great chance for the community to get together to make new discoveries and develop new skills. ACA have run similar community test pit excavations in the Suffolk towns of Clare and Nayland, as part of a previous landscape partnership project, Managing a Masterpiece, and over 90% of the participants in these events recommended the activity to others. The local coordinator of the Nayland community test-pit excavations said afterwards thank you so very much for such a special project. The village is still buzzing and I think the community has come together even more and greatly benefited from a shared experience.”

ACA were also on the Suffolk coast earlier this year in the nearby village of Walberswick for two days of test-pit excavations with secondary school students as part of a Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA), and it will prove interesting to contrast the development of this site with Southwold and Reydon as Walberswick does not appear to have a later medieval decline, unlike many other East Anglian villages which see a 50% drop in pottery usage after the 14th century compared to before.

ACA are liaising with Southwold Museum & Historical Society to recuit local residents to offer their gardens to dig and take part in the excavations. If you would like to offer your property to be dug or would like to volunteer to take part in the excavations, please contact Chris Cardwell, a trustee of the Southwold Museum & Historical Society, by e-mail, phone or post. The e-mail address is, the telephone number is 01502 726097 (leave a message) and the postal address is Southwold Museum & Historical Society, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ.

Those who are less physically able are also very welcome to get involved. Less strenuous roles will be available, and will be much appreciated. People of all ages, with or without previous experience, are welcome to take part - an enthusiasm for finding out more about the past is the only requirement!

ACA's Director, Dr Carenza Lewis, will be in Southwold next weekend for the Touching the Tide Celebration Day showcasing the current work of the landscape partnership scheme and its upcoming projects. You can join Carenza this Sunday, 8th June 2014, from 10am until 4pm at Southwold Boating Lake and Tea Room to hone your digging technique with a seaside bucket dig (shown right) and find out more about the August test pit excavations.


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