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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Show Will Go On!

"The completed roundhouse was due to form the centrepiece of the living history contribution to ‘The Making of Bedford’ event, to be held on Sunday 17th July, involving cooking, spinning & weaving and a range of other crafts.  This event will still run, despite recent circumstances.

Cllr Doug McMurdo, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture, at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Everyone’s passion and enthusiasm for this project is evident as the participants are keen to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and carry on with their planned iron age living history display. I am sure the occasion will continue to be a popular one that generates just as much interest, thanks to the spirit of all those involved.”

The project is part of the national ‘Festival of British Archaeology’ and will host results of an excavation of the burn site and provide a display of the roundhouse construction process - visitors will even get the opportunity to have a go at wattle and daub construction!"
Bedford Borough Council Communications Team -  Press Release. 4/7/11

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sad News

In contrast to the happy faces in the last post, everyone will be less pleased to see that due to the unwelcome attentions of 'persons unknown', our nearly completed 'iron age' roundhouse, has been destroyed by fire today. Somebody lit a fire at the back of the building causing the thatch to catch light, after which the roof and some of the wattle walls had no chance.

We will be consulting as to the best course of action as to whether to rebuild and if so where this can be.

I'm sorry to have to post this news but I hope the people concerned will realise something of the distress they have caused.