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Looked After Children enjoy Testpitting

tp Published Monday, 13th November 2017

Looked After Children in Worcestershire have investigated the history of a local village with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Worcestershire Archaeological Society received £9,700 from HLF for this exciting archaeological project, 'Small Pits, Big Ideas'.

During half term, 15 children dug four 1m by 1m test pits in back gardens across the village, which had been kindly volunteered by residents. The project was a great opportunity for those taking part to try something new, and with the guidance and help of archaeologists from Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service and students from the University of Worcester, interesting finds started appearing in no time.

The thrill of being the first person to hold an object after hundreds of years was rewarding after all the children's hard work digging. All the finds from the test pits are helping us to piece together the village's origins and history, so the children also helped uncover this story and contribute to archaeological research. After two days of digging, the group came to The Hive to help wash and record their finds and discover more about them.

The project was supported by Professor Carenza Lewis, formerly of Time Team, who has dug 2,000 test pits in East Anglia to investigate the origins of villages.  The methodology has helped tell the story of medieval settlements there, and it is hoped we can do something similar in Worcestershire. We were thrilled Carenza could come to visit us on the Monday and help inspire the young people.

There will be another set of four test pits across the village in a few months' time, after which the dig will be written up and the finding shared with local residents.

Cllr Anne Hingley, Chairman of Worcestershire County Council, said: "We're very lucky in Worcestershire to have history all around us, and archaeology is such a wonderful way of discovering the past first-hand. Teaching Looked After Children about archaeology is a fantastic cause, and it was magical to see their eyes light up at the prospect of unearthing a piece of Worcestershire's history. I had a great time getting involved and learned a few things about the valuable work that archaeologists perform every day."

Bob Ruffle, Chair of Worcestershire Archaeological Society, said: "It was a great few days both in terms of the young people learning about archaeology and enjoying themselves as well as helping to uncover finds relating to the village. We are grateful to the National Lottery players for helping to make this possible."