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  • David Quick

The Dig starts!

At long last, after months of planning and preparation, and despite stormy skies, the Petersfield Big Dig was officially started this weekend. Councillor Crissey declared the event open on Sunday by kindly cutting the turf of a test pit with a very shiny spade at the Avenue Playing Fields dig site . He was of course accompanied by the Town Crier, Faye Thompson, and by Juliet Smith, our archaeology director.

As seen below, Faye kindly helped with erection of our display tent, where we have boards explaining what we are doing and examples of some of our finds. The team in the tent was kept busy talking to interested passers-by, helped by the nearby car boot sale which attracted lots of people to see what we are up to.

Meanwhile our diggers were busy removing the turf from the test pits, which have been sited in a place that looked interesting on the geophysics scans we had carried out on 20th April. At the moment we don't know what used to be in this area, because the old maps we have don't show any buildings - so it may have once been gardens or allotments. Time will tell!

You normally dig a test pit to a depth of one metre, stopping if you find any archaeology. The Mayor had a go at trowelling, after being shown the correct technique by Davy. Over the rest of Sunday the team gradually worked their way deeper, starting to produce quite a few small finds. Carol can be seen here with the finds trays, weighing, measuring and recording each item.

Meanwhile test pits were also started in a private garden where the owner has kindly given us permission to explore. Here too there were plenty of finds. Lyn reported that this team found what appears to be a paved or tiled floor about 35-40cm down.

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