Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Digging deep, very deep

Most people who dig their plot go little further than spade deep.  That will not be the case in Dorchester-on-Thames where the archaeology indicates there may be the remains of a Roman town.  The University of Oxford has gained the funding to undertake projects including digging deep in Dorchester's allotments.

Dorchester is not the only place in the country to investigate what is deep down in the ground.  In Ipswich the People’s Community Garden at Maidenhall Allotments the plotholders themselves ran a community dig in 2011 with the hope of finding relics.

And just this year MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) archaeologists have been working with members of the public to excavate Stepney City Farm as part of a Crossrail community archaeology project as part of a 2013 Day of Archaeology.  Just last year a test pit was sunk in the allotments in Iffley.

Back in Dorchester, I remember walking down from Wittenham Clumps into the town many years ago and to be met with the sight of Channel 4 cameras rolling as the pilot episode for Time Team was being recorded.  Would we happen upon the remains of Aelfric of Eynsham if we started digging?  Probably not, more likely would be the remains of the train station that supported the Sugar Beet factory.  But you never know until you start to dig!

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