Monday, 12 December 2011

Excavation - £31,900 grant kickstarts Bingham archaeology project

HISTORY experts are to dig up parts of Bingham to find answers about its past, following a £31,900 grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund.

School grounds, a pub's beer garden and even the vicar's back garden are to be visited by a team of amateur archaeologists.

The work is being masterminded by community group the Bingham Heritage Trails Association, and its chairman 71-year-old Peter Allen, of Grantham Road.

He said sections of land at both Robert Miles Junior and Infant schools could be dug up to see whether any clues to the town's Roman and Anglo-Saxon past can be unlocked.

The beer garden of the Chesterfield pub and the Reverend David Harper's garden at The Rectory, in East Street, will also be examined.

Several gardens of residents' homes will also be investigated.

Mr Allen said: "I'm excited about the project. I'm very pleased we have been awarded the money which has made all this possible."

Test digs are expected to take place through January and February, while the main digs have been pencilled in for March and April – and could last for several months.

"We haven't put a time limit on ourselves," Mr Allen said. "If it takes months then so be it, we want to do a proper job."

A similar project was undertaken by a community group in the village of Kibworth in Leicestershire and their efforts ended up being made into a television documentary which was aired on BBC Four.

"We had this idea way before the Kibworth lot made a TV documentary," said Mr Allen who has been chairman of his group since 2000. "It looks as though we're following them, but we're not we've wanted to do this for years."

The team will unearth the top five centimetres of soil in each location and use sieves to search historic relics.

Mr Allen said: "We hope to find evidence of any Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon farms or settlements that may have existed there as well as to investigate how Bingham developed in the middle ages."

As well as carrying out a series of digs the group also hope to examine the town's 18th and 19th-century buildings, some of which the group believe have never been correctly dated.

Earlier this year the group helped reconstruct a roman well found close to the A46.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to take part in this project should contact Mr Allen on 01949 831575.


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