News

Round Two of Small Pits, Big Ideas

  • 16th May 2018

Another four test pits were recently excavated in the small Worcestershire village of White Ladies Aston, as part of the HLF funded Small Pits, Big Ideas project we’re running on behalf of Worcestershire Archaeological Society. So, what did we find this time?

As with those dug last autumn, all test pits were excavated by Looked After young people with support from University of Worcester archaeology students, WAAS & Green Fingers staff. Using Prof. Carenza Lewis’ methodology of digging 1m2 holes down in 10cm spits, we hoped to find pottery discarded by earlier residents and explore the origins of this historic settlement. Carenza’s model for researching the development of rural settlements has worked well in East Anglia, and our first four test pits suggest that it will also work in Worcestershire.

This time around we allowed ourselves 2 ½ days to dig and backfill the test pits, as two days felt a bit short last time. Three pits produced incredible quantities of finds, including miniature medicine bottles, spacers and other ‘kiln furniture‘ from a porcelain works and a sherd of (the elusive) medieval pottery. Our fourth test pit was located on the southern edge of the village and appeared to confirm that this area lies outside the historic core of White Ladies Aston.

Three fragments of circular white kiln spacers

Fragments of ceramic spacers used in porcelain kilns to separate items (8cm scale)

Hard work over, the last afternoon was spent looking through finds, making replica pots and exploring what life in a medieval village was really like. Feedback from our young participants was pretty positive, with most saying they learnt something new and had more fun than expected, but we’ll hopefully have future opportunities to refine our test pit events (not sure we can do anything about the weather though… ).

Group measuring test pit depth

Measuring the depth of Test Pit 8 during some typically British weather

Finds from both the October and April series of test pits are now washed and awaiting professional analysis at The Hive by our finds specialists. Keep your eyes out in a month or so for the full results and big ideas these small pits have found.

Thank you to Heritage Lottery Fund for funding this project.

 

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