Community Dig

Between the months of July and October 2005 community volunteers in the town of Middlewich, Cheshire, were involved in a public archaeological excavation on land at Buckley’s Field adjacent to King Street, the Roman heart of the town

The Middlewich Community Dig developed out of the ‘Roman Middlewich Project’, a Heritage Lottery funded programme which served to open up the rich archaeological legacy of Middlewich to the general public between 1998 and 2005.

033A successful application for a grant was made to the Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) in 2005, the main aim of which was to provide an opportunity for members of the local community to become actively involved in archaeological investigation. Prior to this, the involvement of the community in archaeology had been very limited- the last major series of such amateur excavations were undertaken in the 1970s by John Bestwick, the results of which were never fully published.

The Community Dig took the form of a lecture series, geophysical survey, evaluation and full scale excavation.

This website has been prepared with ongoing community involvement supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The post-excavation analysis was undertaken alongside a series of lectures and workshops designed to illustrate how the finds and data from the excavation are interpreted to tell the story of the site and its place in the history and development of the town.

This section of the website is presented as an interactive report showcasing the results of the dig. To read the report in order, simply navigate through the drop-down menus on the right in sequence. Alternatively you can skip directly to a section that interests you. You can listen to our architects here. The categories are (please click):

Results of the dig

Uncovering Buckley's Field

This section describes the process of undertaking the Community Dig in detail. From the initial planning stages, geophysical prospection and trial trenching through to completion of the main excavation, the menus on the right give information about the technical aspects of the dig and the deposits that were found.

In each section you will also find most of the original technical reports in pdf format which can be downloaded. Read about the background to project, the decision-making processes that led up to the main excavation and the detailed excavation results.

Site Description

Archaeological and historical background

The Programme

The Geophysical Survey

The Evaluation

Phasing

The Finds

Read about all of the artefacts recovered during the excavation. This section is broken down into artefact types, and includes illustrated specialist reports which discuss the meaning of the artefacts and what they can tell us about the site. Take a look here. 

Galleries

Whilst the dig was ongoing, many of the paticipants took the opportunity to take photographs of the site and the types of work they were carrying out. The following galleries have been compiled from those images. You can click on any image to enlarge.

 

Further Reading

Further reading from John Bestwick here and here.

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