On the 4th
April 2011 Manuden
was visited by 28 secondary school students, aged between 12
and 16, from all over Essex and as far afield as Canvey Island.
Under the direction of Carenza Lewis from Cambridge University
Department of Archaeology, previously a member of Channel 4's
Time Team, the students dug test pits in seven gardens in village.
Teachers from the students' schools as well as Carenza's expert
assistants supervised the operation.
The object of the exercise was not only to find out the
origins of the village through unearthed artifacts but also
to give the pupils a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate
in the event. It challenged their ability to work in teams
of three or four with strangers, as the students from the
various schools were mixed up. It also required them to persevere
as sometimes the work was demanding and the weather inclement.
The kind householders who allowed the students to dig test
pits in their garden were rewarded with a window into the
history of what lay below their lawns. After the turf had
been carefully removed and set upon a tarpaulin, a one metre
square pit was dug and excavated, 10 cm at a time, to a depth
of approximately 1m 10 or as deep as was feasible in the
time allowed. The soil was sieved and the artifacts washed
and removed for collection.
Some test pits were more productive than others and a lively
competition arose between the students at each test pit to
see who could find the most artefacts or dig the deepest pit.
At the end of the day, to the householder's relief, the
soil was all returned to test pit and the turf put neatly
back on the top.
The artefacts are now with Cambridge University click here to
see their pottery report.
The test pits were in the following gardens: Trent House,
Hill House, The Old Wall House (46 & 48 The Street),
Cedar House, Manuden House and 24 The Street.
The photographs above were taken over the 2 days and more
may be seen at the Access
Cambridge Archaeology website.
For more information check out http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/aca/excavationreports.html.