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Southminster 2017 Test Pit Location Map

Southminster 2017 Test Pit Pottery Report


In May 2017 a total of 10 1m square archaeological test pits were excavated in Southminster by 38 Year 9 and Year 12 students from Plume Academy, William de Ferrers School, The Sandon School and Ormiston Rivers Academy. These were dug as part of the Independent Learning Archaeology Field School (ILAFS) programme, formally known as 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 10 test pits excavated in 2017 were the third year of digging in Southminster to bring the current total number of test pits excavated in the town to 32 and in 2017 were mainly sited centrally through the settlement. For the first time in 2017 evidence for Iron Age activity was noted in Southminster from a single pit excavated on the King George V memorial playing field (SOU/17/8). In 2015 Bronze Age activity was noted further to the west. A nearby test pit also yielded Roman pottery (SOU/17/7) which adds to the distribution of Roman activity already noted from the 2015 test pits only. Six of the test pits yielded high medieval pottery with then another five yielding later medieval pottery and supports the notions from previous years that there was a shift in the settlement during the 14th century due to the various socio-economic factors of that time, including the Black Death. There is still a focus of activity around the church and to its south and east, which has been a consistent result of the three years of the test pitting. Also as in previous years the activity was seen to increase again into the post medieval to the 19th century when Southminster was considered to be a small town.