North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society

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The various elements of the Project(see under Heritage Lottery Fund).


In 2011 the group entered our first event in this Project, the Big Village Dig 2011(BVD) into the Council for British Archaeology's - Festival of British Archaeology which was to run for the last two weeks of July, 2011.  The group had already canvassed residents to donate a 1x1 m area in their gardens to be dug as a test pit either by themselves under expert supervision, or by expert diggers, The purposes of the test-pit survey were to establish the 'core' of the village(where had the settlement started), who had lived here and could we find evidence of occupation prior to the documented existence of the village in the Domesday survey of 1086. Furthermore, the involvement of local people met one of the stated targets of introducing local people to their heritage and involving them in investigating and protecting it for the future. Some 25 residents volunteered to be part of the survey. This included the local primary school.


Planning started immediately with the Methodology of running the event taking precedence. It was essential that the work the group was about to do was conducted to professional archaeological standards. What is more, archaeology by excavation is a destructive process by definition and therefore protocols had to be in place to ensure conformity throughout the event as well as full recording practices as the actual excavation of that particular test-pit can never be replicated.


It was decided to dig each test-pit in 20cm 'Spits'. That is to say that 20cms of soil would be excavated and everything found within that 'Context' would be recorded and processed before the next 'Spit' was excavated. This ensured that stratified deposits could be identified. Normally, the lowest deposit in a test-pit is the oldest unless there has been some disturbance by ploughing or building work. A 'Context Card' was created to record these 'Spits' and a set of instructions to standardise the process across all the test-pits, irrespective of whether the diggers were experts or beginners. Invaluable assistance was provided in this matter by Hannah Baxter of YAT.


In addition, a further set of instructions was created to inform the diggers on how to proceed and a 'Excavation Kit' was put together which included everything needed to complete the dig, from trowel to all the forms for recording, scale bars and measuring sticks.


It was decided to use the school's offer of the playing field as a testing ground for the methodology and so a separate event was created, the Big School Dig,2011(BSD) not intended to be part of the CBA Festival. (See details under separate heading)



For all forms used and instructions etc see Resources


The re-construction of the roundhouse will take place on land loaned for the purpose close to where roundhouse hut-circle cropmarks appear and believed to be of Iron Age date. The group are currently constructing a post-and-rail fence to protect the roundhouse, whilst under construction, from marauding cattle.


A photographic record will be made and reports on this page will be made as the construction develops.


The group plan to conduct some trial excavations on one of the fields bearing cropmarks to confirm the existence of archaeology under the soil, to date and identify those features and to discover how deep the archaeology lies below the surface.