I promised that there would be more than one blog post as I couldn’t fit all the exciting news from Lyminge Project HQ into one blog post!
Some of you will already be aware of this news as we have been talking about it, but it’s only now that we’ve had time to put all this into a post to officially announce on the web and social media.
After we finished the last AHRC funded excavations on Tayne Field last year, working madly overtime to get everything done, we were left with a conundrum. A week after the official end of the dig when all students, staff, and volunteers had packed up and gone home, our Site Director Gabor Thomas, myself (Alexandra Knox), and staff members Aiji Castle and Emily Harwood remained on site for a week trying to get every last bit of archaeology recorded (not forgetting our finds supervisor Helen Harrington and those finds volunteers who also gave the project masses of overtime!).
We succeeded, but only because we reluctantly came to a halt on the excavation of the ‘blob’, the enormous midden feature in Trench 1. During the six week dig we were able to put a major east-west trench across it, as well as two smaller north-south trenches, and to excavate a 1 x 1 m grid across the entirety of the 8 x 15 m midden area. The central trench got down to almost 2 m deep, and coring proved that there was still a way to go. We placed plastic over the archaeology before backfilling, in the hope that we might be able to come back to finish the job at some point in the future.
We shall not be able to fully excavate or even make this central trench deeper, partly due to safety but also because of the sheer quantity of material. We knew, however, that we had to get more answers, particularly to the questions of the origins of this rather peculiar hole in the ground, and its full size and relationship to the Bronze Age ring ditch, all questions necessary to be able to publish our results. We began to think about coming back for a very short dig this summer, but of course even the smallest volunteer focused dig costs. We applied to the Up on the Downs Partnership for a small grant of £10,000 to enable us to do this.
We are thrilled to announce that we have been successful in our application to the scheme! Up on the Downs is a £2.5 million Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Scheme that aims to make a significant difference to the easily recognisable and iconic landscape of the Dover and Folkestone area, particularly by investing in heritage, landscape and wildlife, and most importantly community, and we are so pleased that they have recognised the Lyminge Archaeological Project’s past and future contribution in these areas by awarding us part of their funding. You can see the other types of projects that they have been able to fund here. Their website has a nice summary of the work they’re funding with us too!
Combined with a generous private donation received at the end of the last dig, we are now fully equipped to be able to get our ‘final answers’ from Tayne Field. This summer, from 3rd – 29th August 2015, we will be running a four week excavation to tie up these loose ends from the ‘blob’, and we will be, as per usual, accepting volunteers.
The dig will not be on the same scale as those from the past three years, with a much smaller core team, a shorter dig season and targeted trenches rather than large open area excavations, but all this should be plenty to help us answer those remaining research questions! Depending on the archaeology we may need to cap digging volunteer numbers per day, but we will absolutely be taking volunteers, particularly for finds washing and processing. More details about how to sign up to volunteer will go up soon, and if you have volunteered before, we’d love to have you back!
Don’t forget that this season will be absolutely the last excavations that we’ll be undertaking on Tayne Field, as our plans for the future of the project (grant dependent of course) involve post-excavation work and analysis, publication and a whole range of exciting outreach work. If you want to volunteer or visit the site this will be your last chance!
We’ll also be having our usual Saturday site tours and perhaps even an Open Day, so watch this space for details – planning is in full swing so it won’t be long! You can subscribe to the blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@Lymingedig) for real-time updates.