Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mud pies and boar sausages!

What a glorious weekend!
On Saturday eight SAW children undertook the challenge of excavating a test area adjacent to a very old boundary ditch in the middle of Priory Country Park in Bedford. Research undertaken previously in Bedford Borough Council's Hiatoric Environment Record, had shown the children that there was evidence, in the form of photogrphs, maps and records of earlier excavations, to indicate that there had been a Roman villa or farmstead nearby under what is now the lake!

Priory Country Park lake, looking south.

 The children were very excited at the prospect of conducting their own dig to see if this area remained undisturbed and perhaps held further Roman remains...

The ground was broken early on Saturday morning amid light showers and intermittent sun, but by 9.30 the rain, which varied from downpour to torrent, had set in for the day! Archaeologists, Rangers, SAW staff and mud-plastered children battled-on valiantly, but by 12.30 we beat a retreat to safety, though having discovered some Roman roof tile fragments and some intriguing variations in the ground.

Sunday and 'The Making of Bedford' event.
The weather looked as unpromising as that of the previous day, but with good heart and tremendous help from SAW parents, Albion Archaeologists, Rangers and Education volunteers, we set up three event stalls, a viewing position for the excavation and an Iron Age living history display with cooking food (including boar sausages!), spinning and weaving and a display to mark the roundhouse project. The children looked splendid in the costumes they had made and 'had had made'!


When they were not being Iron Ages dwellers the children resumed the excavation of the boundary ditch site and were rewarded by finding more roof tile, 'St Neot's ware' potsherds, a fragment of a mortarium and what was identified as a flint core.

Everything was recorded on site and the archaeologists are now trying to piece together all the evidence and later the shildren will have to help compile a report of the excavation.
Many thanks to all for a very special weekend.

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