ARCHAEOLOGY NORTH DUFFIELD(AND) was formed in 2008 as a group within the structure of North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society (NDCHS). Until this time,

the Society had not engaged in archaeology in any form.

Our journey started when a piece of Roman pottery was found in a Society members garden in Broadmanor-the first piece ever found in the village to our knowledge. At the same time the Society became aware of an extensive spread of crop marks (see later explanation) raising the awareness that our village had been in existence for a lot longer than our research had shown.  Researching history can really only tell you anything when it has been written down and, since the Romans introduced writing to these islands, that is when most history actually starts.

The only problem with archaeology is that, because the people leaving their traces in the landscape, pottery, structures etc for us to find, did NOT write down what they did or how they used them, then we have to try to understand for ourselves. Just look at the prolonged discussion about who built Stonehenge, how they built it and why they brought the stones from Wales.

A small group of interested members decided to form AND each making a donation, small sums of money to give us a ‘fighting fund’. We then successfully applied for a small grant from Communities in Partnership (later to become Community Engagement Forum) and this allowed us to purchase a set of tape measures.

Our plan was to investigate the historic environment of the village by means of landscape characterisation, archaeological fieldwork and studies of aerial photographs and crop mark transitions. It was of particular importance to us to involve local people, especially school children, in our work in investigating and caring for their local heritage and introducing more people to archaeology.

In those early days we had a group of people, many of whom had no previous archaeological experience, but, we also had others who had been volunteering for archaeological digs and local archaeological courses as well as people with a range of specialities that would be very valuable in our work.

We were lucky to have the professional support of Dr Jon Kenny, then employed by York Archaeological Trust as Community Archaeologist, as well as forging links with York University Department of Archaeology and the Council for British Archaeology also based in York.

Our first venture into the world of ‘real’ archaeology was to make use of the crop mark maps we had obtained. We started a programme of field-walking (see separate article) using our members, children from North Duffield Primary School, archaeology students from York University and a growing team of volunteers from surrounding groups and societies.

We have built up considerable experience and expertise in our time in archaeology and would be happy to discuss the way we went about things with community groups considering a venture into archaeology. We are happy to make our equipment available to other groups on payment of a small charge to cover costs of maintenance, replacement and repair of equipment. We have all the form and methodologies as well should you be interested. Just email us for further details.

Roman grey ware found in Broadmanor