Monthly Archives: September 2014

Booking for the ACA 10th Anniversary Public Lecture

Access Cambridge Archaeology

Booking for the ACA 10th Anniversary Public LectureThere are a limited number of places still available to attend Dr Carenza Lewis’ public lecture to mark ACA’s 10th anniversary.

In the lecture, she will remember the outreach unit’s early days, celebrate some of the highlights of the last decade and also look to the future, with questions and comment from the audience afterwards. This is as an opportunity to bring together as many people as possible who have been involved with, or supportive of, ACA at any time over the last decade, whether for a single day or over years, whether just recently or a decade ago, whether as a youngster or someone with many years’ experience under their belt!

To attend the lecture, please ensure that you reserve a place through the Festival of Ideas website under the event ‘From Time Team to Archaeology for All’ here.

The lecture will take place between 6:30pm – 7:45pm…

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Goldingham Hall Dig September 2014 Comes To An End

Sunday 14th September concluded a very successful dig at Goldingham Hall, with a great turn out of people coming to our open day. This might have been the last official day, but work still had to be completed on Monday.

Monday was attended by David Gevuax, Peter Hart, Tim Dennis and Aldous Rees. David and Peter came to finish off section drawings and help Tim set up and take photos. We are very grateful to Tim Dennis for taking vertical photos of the site (see example image below) and plotting in the positions of all the trenches with a total station. This will give us an exact location of the trenches within this field.

Photo 1: Image of trench D from above – showing building

One of the most exciting discoveries of this dig had to have been the millstone pieces which are indicative of a mill being present on our site. This mill could have been a post mill or a water mill, lower down the hill on Belchamp Brook. It would be exciting to find the location and type of this possible mill in future digs.

The building in trench D also did not disappoint during this dig, with a number of horse nails and a Jew’s harp coming out of the postholes. The nails could be late Anglo Saxon, but are most likely to be around 1200 in date. This helps to give a date for this building.

Photo 2: Image of the nail found

Photo 3: Jew’s Harp

To make sure that we did not miss any metal finds within the spoil heaps, Tim Fairbairn spent an afternoon metal detecting and found another horse nail from Trench D.

Photo 4: Tim metal detecting spoil heaps

We would like to thank everyone who volunteered on this dig for making it so successful and helping SVCA discover more of Goldingham’s secrets. It surely will reveal many more in the years to come!!

Photo 5: Aerial view of the site from Tim’s pole cam

Continuation of SVCA’s Inaugural Excavation at Goldingham Hall

Access Cambridge Archaeology

Continuation of SVCA's Inaugural Excavation at Goldingham HallMembers of the recently formed Stour Valley Community Archaeology (SVCA) continued their archaeological investigation of Goldingham Hall with supervision from ACA last week.

SVCA organised and ran their first archaeological excavations at Goldingham Hall, near Bulmer in Suffolk, at the end of May, continuing the excavation of three trenches (A-C) opened the previous October. The aim of their three day dig this September was to open another two trenches (D and E), close to those already dug, in order to shed further light on the posthole and ditch features identified by the landowner, Ashley Cooper, seventeen years ago and confirmed by a geophysical survey conducted by David and Aline Black in 2013. Goldingham Hall is documented in the Domesday Book as the site of a medieval manor and the programme of community excavations so far have revealed a range of features dating from the 10th to the later 14th century…

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Goldingham Hall Excavation Day Four 14th September

Today was spent recording, photographing and planning the new features and trenches at Goldingham Hall. Our Open Day this afternoon was well attended with several local people paying a visit to the site. Julie and Ashley gave tours and we had a lot of positive feedback. We were also fortunate to have Dr Carenza Lewis of Access Cambridge Archaeology on hand today to summarise initial thoughts on the features and finds brought to life over the past few days of digging.

Final finds washing

Recording in Trench D

The structure in Trench D may indeed be two separate buildings. There is both evidence for traditional style separately placed post holes as well as posts placed in one long post trench. This appears to marry up with similar features in Trench C, parallel to D. The early horseshoe nails and Jew’s harp recovered from this trench point to the higher status for this part of the Goldingham site.

Fiddlehead nails from Trench D

Steve, Peter and David get to the bottom of things in Trench E

Julie shows some of today’s visitors round Trench E

Trench E further down the hill is in stark contrast to Trench D. This looks more like an area where many day to day processes would have been carried out; milling, brewing, butchery etc. It is worth noting that this area is downwind of the manor dwelling site! Goldingham Hall would have been fairly self-sufficient during the medieval period with various servants and craftspeople working together to meet the needs of the lord and lady of the manor.

Carenza explains some of the finds to some of our young visitors today

It was another successful dig for SVCA and we were lucky to have beautiful weather over the four days. This site keeps presenting more questions every time we dig here, but we are fortunate to have the opportunity to excavate here. It is our aim to keep returning to Goldingham in the future; who knows what may turn up next time!

Goldingham Hall Excavation Day Three 13th September

The third and final day of digging at Goldingham Hall in Bulmer, Essex began with tantalising features and questions and ended with the same. This site just keeps revealing its secrets a little at a time!

Trench D (one of the tidiest trenches of all time!) possibly contains beam slots relating to the structure there. All of the postholes and pits in this trench have been excavated and most have been recorded already. It will be great to get the dateable finds analysed to reveal a more specific date for this complex!

A view of Trench D

Sarah hard at work with a mattock

Cat, Ellie and Louise recording features in Trench D

Major labour was needed in Trench E today as excavating on several larger features needed to be concluded. The dark ditch feature which appeared on the original geophysical survey was completed as were the rather confusing pits in the centre of the trench. These pits produced several pieces of quern/millstone made from an igneous rock. Perhaps this part of the site was a production area where grain was being milled, dried and threshed? Those bread ovens aren’t so far away!

A team of strapping men (some young, some young at heart) dealt with the ever-deepening ditch features at the far end of Trench E. The layers are clearly evident and this feature will be finished tomorrow. The layer of large flint nodules was removed this morning (could this have been the threshing floor?) but the chase for the bottom of the ditch continued all afternoon as finds kept coming up. What will tomorrow reveal?

Trench E

Graham excavating the pit features in the centre of Trench E

Pieces of the quern/millstone from these pit features

Adam and Chris get to the bottom of things

“Poet” Dave finds the ditch coming through

Cat points out a few things

We had a few visitors around site today and Ashley graciously showed them around. Just a reminder that our Open Day is tomorrow 2-4pm. Please pop on down to see first hand what’s been happening over the last few days.

Ashley and David discuss the geophysical survey

Ashley explains the Goldingham Hall site to some of today’s visitors

SVCA would like to say special thanks to Cat Ranson, Access Cambridge Archaeology, David and Aline Black, Ashley Cooper and Aldous Rees.

Goldingham Hall Excavation Day Two 12th September

Goldingham Hall Day Two

On the second day of the excavation at Goldingham, further work was carried out on the postholes and ditches in the two trenches. The postholes in Trench D have revealed a number of pieces of pottery and charcoal which can be used to date these postholes, which will then give a date for this building. Today was a very successful day with many of the features in Trench D being excavated and drawn.

Trench E, which also had postholes and ditches, revealed a ditch which has a lot of burnt clay and charcoal. It is possible that this ashy soil and burnt clay came from the ovens discovered at the site earlier in the year or other ovens which future digs will reveal. A number of pieces of pottery and bone have been found in this ditch. There is still a third ditch or pit to be excavated tomorrow.

There is a lot more to archaeological than just digging, as explained by Jill Williams, who described her day washing finds:

“The sun was shining when we arrived this morning, so Kathryn and I moved our table outside, filled our bowls, donned our rubber gloves and started scrubbing.
Emerging from the mud today were pottery rims, bones, shells, daub and flint. We have had visits from local schoolchildren, a passing lorry driver and all our diggers.
Who says washing and recording finds isn’t fun!!”

Photo 1: Jill and Kathryn washing finds

Photo 2: Some of the washed finds

We also had 30 schoolchildren from Bulmer primary school attend, and they were all keen to get digging.

Here is a blog entry by a year 6 pupil from Bulmer School:

“We walked up the dusty road while watching two dogs by a trench. We were showed the way to trench B, which was very deep and had to be fenced off. The trench we were digging in was said to contain lots of oyster shells that people would have eaten hundreds of years ago. Then half of us were taken to another trench (trench E) where we were to do some sieving.

We were given a trowel each and a sieve per group of two or three. Some of us found lots of interesting artefacts, such as carved flints, pottery and sometimes bones. Beside the trench sat a large pile of brownish soil and next to that was a smaller pile of black soil. We were told to sieve the black soil over the top of the pile of brown soil.

When the sieving was over we were showed black circles in the soil that are probably where wooden posts were stuck in the ground, possibly there to hold up the roof of a barn or house. Then that group left for digging with two baskets full of artefacts.

Back at the digging in trench A practically a hundred oyster shells were found along with pottery, flint and bones. We had to scrape at the mud with trowels until we found something, then we would dig around the object and take it out before placing it on a tray.

After that we had a break and lunch and a chance to relax. Then we did some metal detecting in groups of six with sadly no luck. Meanwhile other children scrubbed and washed the finds, except objects like clay, charcoal and other fairly soft finds. Then, after a long day we walked home.”

Bulmer Primary School pupils sieve for finds at Goldingham Hall

The spoil heap reveals treasures for pupils from Bulmer Primary School

Comment by Jane Crone from Travels in Time Archaeology

“In the afternoon the Key Stage 1 children from Bulmer School visited the site. Despite being so young they already seemed to know a lot about archaeology and were keen to discover more. They did some field walking and found some medieval pottery, tile, and LOTS of small toys. Someone suggested that Mr Cooper had dropped his toy box out of his tractor! They also had a look at the archaeologists at work and saw some of the things that had been had found today. They were very interested in the animal bones as they show what people ate in the past.”

Bulmer School’s day was organised and run by Jane Crone and Ellie Mead from Travels in Time Archaeology. For more information on activities for primary aged children please contact them via .

More photos of today’s action will follow later, so keep watching this space.

Goldingham Hall Excavation Day One 11th September

Goldingham Day One

The morning was spent cleaning both of the new trenches, to identify the new features.
After the trenches were cleaned, digging of the features began.

In Trench E a section was dug through the large ditch which Ashley had found 17 years before. The bottom of this ditch looks like it is not far away and a lot of pot and burnt clay was found in it. Three postholes were also dug today and recorded. These appear to be running parallel to the ditch. During cleaning a new ditch feature appeared and this will be dug over the next few days. This could also be running parallel to the other ditch. There is also the terminus of a third ditch which has started to be excavated.

In Trench D, near to the large posthole, a number of postholes, ditches and pits have been identified and these will be dug tomorrow. During cleaning of these features some nice sherds of pottery came out. This trench also yielded fragments of bones and shells.

This site is once again providing a great insight into medieval life.
Thanks to Tereza Fairbairn for the photos and contributing information to the blog.

Photo 1- Trench D during coffee break

Photo 2 – A circular posthole or pit found in Trench D

Photo 3 – Phil doing a great job of cleaning and straightening the trench edge

Photo 4 – Diggers at work in Trench D

Photo 5 – Jill sieving finds from Trench D

Photo 6 – Some of the finds from Trench D

Photo 7 – Trench E hard at work

Photo 8 – SVCA’s Mascot

Photo 9 – Ashley admiring Steve’s and Chris’ hardwork in the ditch in Trench E

Photo 10 – A posthole found in Trench E, before excavation

Photo 11 – Excavated posthole in Trench D

New Trenches at Goldingham Hall, Bulmer

Today, 10th September, two new trenches were opened at Goldingham Hall, under the supervision of Cat Ranson from ACA, who will once again be supporting us on this dig. The Goldingham site was first discovered by Ashley Cooper in 1997. As ploughed the field he noticed small black patches of soil between the size of a cricket ball and a football. The plough had brought these pieces of soil to the surface.

Trench D being opened this morning, being watched by David, Ashley and Cat.

Ashley released the archaeological potential of these pieces of soil and measured and plotted them on a map (see Image below, of Ashley demonstrating the method he used to measure the soil locations within the field).

Ashley demonstrating the measuring system used to measure in location of black soil.

One of these spots of soil was marked with a post in the ground which has been ploughed, sown, sprayed and combined around for the past seventeen years. It is great that Stour Valley Archaeology can help discover the secrets of this site that Ashley has carefully left all this time.

Ashley standing next to the post that has been in place for the last 17 years.

The two new trenches have revealed a number of features to be dug. In Trench D which is next to the old trench C (the one with the big post hole or grain store in it, nearest to the tea shed) what is potentially another posthole and also a number of smaller postholes have been revealed.

Trench E, which is over the spot Ashley has farmed around, has what is potentially two ditches and also a number of small postholes. This gives us a lot to dig and will help us to understand this fascinating site even better.

Ashley’s delight as the digger reveals a ditch feature beneath that spot.

Jane, Cat and Ashley watch on as a new trench is opened.

The digger also filled in two deep ditches within Trench A today to make it safer for our open day (Sunday 14th) and the visit of Bulmer School on the Friday. We look forward to welcoming everyone else on site tomorrow.

Just a reminder of our open day on the afternoon of Sunday the 14th, where everyone is welcome to attend to see what we have found. It is heritage open day this weekend so come and find out about our exciting local heritage at Goldingham Hall in Bulmer.

The two ditches in Trench A being filled in.

Goldingham Hall Dig September 2014

Stour Valley Community Archaeology will be returning next week to Goldingham Hall, Bulmer to carry out further excavations on site there. From 11-14 September the local group, supported by Dr Carenza Lewis of Channel 4’s Time Team and her team from Access Cambridge Archaeology, will be investigating features possibly relating to a late Anglo-Saxon/early Norman manorial complex. This excavation carries on from one held by the group earlier this year where a series of postholes and medieval ovens were revealed. An Open Day will be held on Sunday 14 September 2-4pm for anyone interested in seeing what has turned up on this latest dig. For further information please contact

ACA 10th Anniversary Public Lecture by Dr Carenza Lewis

Access Cambridge Archaeology

ACA 10th Anniversary Public Lecture by Dr Carenza LewisEveryone who has ever been involved in ACA’s outreach activities with schools and communities; whether as a participant, volunteer or in a professional capacity, is invited to attend a talk in Cambridge to mark the unit’s 10th anniversary this October.
As part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Dr Carenza Lewis will be delivering a public lecture titled ‘From Time Team to Archaeology For All’ about the outreach work she has directed under Access Cambridge Archaeology over the last decade. Well-known from Channel 4’s Time Team and BBC’s Story of England and Great British Story, Dr Lewis will recall the highlights and legacies of the last ten years in which she has involved thousands of members of the public in making inspirational new discoveries advancing knowledge and enjoyment of heritage.

The public lecture is being held in association with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Curating…

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