Residents in Bingham are being invited to take part in a project that could help unearth more about the town’s historic past.
Mr Peter Allen prepares his garden for the dig.
Bingham Heritage Trails Association is hoping to dig about 50 one-metre square pits at various sites, including in residents’ gardens.
The association chairman, Mr Peter Allen, said although the group had completed field walks on farmland, a third of the parish was covered in houses meaning there was potentially more to discover about Bingham.
“There are lots of puzzles about the history of Bingham,” he said.
“We do not know where the original Anglo-Saxon village was, nor where the church was before St Mary and All Saints’ was built in 1225AD.
“Then there are the matters related to the whereabouts of the medieval St Helen’s Chapel and the windmill near School Lane.”
The group has drawn up a list of 42 sites where they would like to dig pits and have started obtaining permission from landowners.
“So far 16 landowners have given permission for 20 pits,” Mr Allen said.
“We also need to find able-bodied volunteers who would like to take part in the project as the trails association has a membership of mainly retired people, many of whom would have difficulty doing the sort of manual work required in this project.
“We will take out the soil and subsoil in 10cm layers. Each layer will be put through a riddle to separate out anything of archaeological interest. The finds will be bagged and taken to be washed and identified.”
Once the group has permission to dig 30 sites, they will put in a bid for Heritage Lottery funding.
Members will be working closely with archaeologists from Trent and Peak Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. Each pit is expected to take a day to examine and gardens will be left as they were found.
Two schools, Carnarvon Primary School and Robert Miles Junior School, are also due to take part in the project, which it is hoped will start in September.
In addition to the dig, the trails association plans to research more of the old buildings in the town, particularly ones that have wooden beams.
The vice-chairman, Mr Geoff Ashton, said: “We have a couple of permissions already but we would very much like to hear from people who live in old houses and who are prepared to let us in to sample the beams and tell them how old the building is.”
For more information or to take part email firstname.lastname@example.org