Monthly Archives: May 2016


Our final day of this dig was not as warm or as sunny as previous days but our spirits remained strong, the number of members attending was still high and everyone had a great time. It was especially good to see so many young people coming along, a sure sign that the future of archaeology is bright. Plans and sections have been completed and notes made so that we can return to carry on later this year.


AREA A: This area was finished and planned beautifully thanks to one of members who is an architect. One interesting find was a lovely pottery base. see below.DSCN1929

AREA B: This area is still a mystery; is it a stream, a ditch or has it been both? Our student members enjoyed carefully removing pottery and some very fragile bone from B1.DSCN1933

In B 2 Ashley was able to show us something he has found previously on this site; the bottom of a ditch isn’t always where you think it is. Today we found pottery underneath an area of clay that could well have been mistaken for the natural. We will be returning to this area later in the year to complete our investigations….DSCN1938Area C: Work continued on the area under the cobbled causeway. Under the wattle and daub found yesterday there is an area of burning. A post hole seems to go through the whole lot!

Area E: This area is adjacent to Area D and contains dark fill and some large pieces of pottery. Two of our members worked very hard here today, I’m sure that they’ll sleep well tonight! (won’t we all)



DAY TWO of the Gestingthorpe Romano British dig.

29th May 2016

Another day of fine weather and conviviality with good friends old and new! Many thanks to Ashley Cooper for making us so welcome at Hill Farm.

News from the trenches 

Area A: Work was hard going on heavy clay. However the team worked cheerfully and found some interesting Roman greyware pottery. What are they digging? They have no idea!

Area B: We are unsure if the ditch we’re working on is natural or man made. Interestingly it shelves gradually on one side and steeply on the other. Plenty of pottery has been found but very little bone.

Area C: More pottery has been found in the area of clay. In the post hole area a collapsed yellow ocher wattle and daub wall has been found with pottery underneath. See below:

Area D: The ash filled post hole was planned and some of the team moved into Area E: Here a possible ditch was dug  containing fragments of bone and pottery including a jaw bone.

Area B with Area C in the background.                Wattle and daub in Area C






Amy Peacock, an A level student at Colchester Royal Grammar School reflects on her first dig – 28th May 2016

The Gestingthorpe Romano British dig was my first organised dig. Although I had a few beginner’s nerves, the Stour Valley Community Archaeology members were so welcoming and instantly included me as part of their group. The landowner, Ashley, kindly informed me about the history of the Roman Villa, as well as the work he was doing on the site to ensure I had substantial background knowledge. His enthusiasm and passion is really inspiring. I spent the majority of the day in the trenches, learning the proper techniques for archaeology, and I was fortunate enough to find several interesting pieces of pottery, despite the incredibly hard ground!

I found it very beneficial to take part in an official dig, as I’m now starting to understand, not only how to practically apply archaeology, but also how records are taken and the way that finds are correctly sorted. I’ve always been interested in archaeology, and now that I’ve begun to actively take part in the communities, I know that I never want to give it up. So thank you to Ashley and SVCA for making my first day as an archaeologist so enjoyable and informative, and thank you to Jane Crone for telling me about the work of the SVCA and for inviting me along.

Thank you for your lovely blog Amy- it was a pleasure having you with us! Jane

Day one: 28th May 2016, news from the trenches

Day one was a great success, everyone enjoyed themselves and we certainly filled our finds trays with interesting things.

Here are a few notes on progress so far:

Area A:  Saw investigations into a row of flints and stone proceed well, (see below). Star find was part of a pot with burnt material inside,see above.



Area B: Here we were working on a ditch first found by Ashley 20 years ago. The surface has been cleaned and we have begun to work on finding the profile. A great deal of pottery has been found, including some pieces from the same pot. See below…DSCN1905

Area C: After cleaning back a possible post hole is being investigated. Adjacent to this is a flint area overlaid with clay containing pottery (including samian), glass, nails and part of a pair of tweezers, see below. DSCN1906

Area D: A previously dug pit was reopened and found to contain charcoal deposits. DSCN1897

Area C with Area D in the background.


The Gestingthorpe Romano British site – planning for this weekend’s dig.

Committee members met this afternoon to decide on a plan for our dig this weekend. It looks like we are going to have a very interesting time. We will be looking at least 4 areas. Area A has an interesting stone feature and we will also explore areas where interesting lines appeared on the magnetometry survey . Area B looks like a ditch and contains pottery. We will try to find the edge of the ditch and investigate the ditch coming from Area C which appears to join it. Area C has a cobbled area, possible post holes and some pottery.Area D has post holes to explore.







To wet your appetite for next weekend here is a copy of the press release.

During this coming Bank Holiday Weekend (Saturday 28th– Monday 30th May) members of Stour Valley Community Archaeology (SVCA) will be engaged in another of its series of community archaeological excavations, investigating the location of a ‘lost’ Roman road and a Romano-British settlement close to the site of a known Roman Villa. Based in the vicinity of Bulmer & Gestingthorpe, Essex, this will be an opportunity to discover more about our local heritage.

As well as using traditional excavation techniques, there will be an opportunity ( as part of a joint venture with Long Melford Heritage Centre) to use Ground Penetrating Radar equipment to help survey the site.

Volunteers of all ages from the local community are welcome to join us and take part in our activities over the weekend ( no previous experience necessary) or just come to visit and find out what we do!

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact  Corinne Cox ( 01787 379410) or e-mail:  

Opportunities for volunteers with Suffolk Archaeology at Fornham All Saints

ARCHAEOLOGICAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY – please let us know via the web site if you would like an application form and we’ll email one to you.

 Suffolk Archaeology CIC are currently digging a large excavation between Bury St Edmunds and Fornham All Saints. We are able to offer a limited number of places for volunteers to take part in the excavation and post-excavation work.


We can offer 6 places a day between 9.30am- 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Initially we can only offer places until 10th June, but may be able to extend this. You need to be reasonably physically fit and willing to work hard! You would be digging archaeological features and recovering finds.


We can offer up to 6 places carrying out post excavation work in our warehouse every Tuesday between 10am- 3.30pm. You would be washing and marking finds, processing and sorting environmental samples and will have an opportunity to compare the results from one feature to another.

Opportunities are currently available for anyone aged over 18 years.

If you are interested please fill in the attached form (or include all the relevant information on preferred dates, fieldwork/post excavation or both) on an email and return to; or by post to;

Suffolk Archaeology CIC, Unit 5, Plot 11, Maitland Road, Lion Barn Industrial Estate, Needham Market, Suffolk, IP6 8NZ.

In the case of oversubscription you may not get as many days as you would like. Successful applicants will receive an information pack via email outlining the project in greater detail.