Community time team set for major archaeological dig in Dove Valley

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Archaeologists say they hope to unearth exciting ancient projects on a community dig starting this month in Sheen.

Beginning on June 20, the Tudor Farming Interpretation Group will join professional archaeologists, historians, heritage interpreters and more than 40 volunteers to undertake excavations at the Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle Farm.

The Heritage Lottery Fund project is called Peeling Back the Layers and community groups and local schools will be picking up their trowels too, with initial surveys suggesting they could find thousdands of years worth of artefacts buried in the soil.

Project manager Dr Catherine Parker Heath said: “Although the project is focussed on finding out about the medieval and post-medieval times, we are also prepared for archaeology from any period.

“The Dove Valley is rich with archaeological material. We can’t wait to see what we uncover.”

The farm lies just across the River Dove from the early Norman motte and bailey castle at Pilsbury and on the side of a valley that has been used for Neolithic burials, Bronze Age barrows, Romano-British settlements, Medieval granges and World War II bunkers.

Therer wil be a free open day on Saturday, June 25, 11am to 4pm, where members of the public can find out how to excavate a trench, what to do with the artefacts uncovered, and discover how the historic documents and archaeological surveys helped determine where to put the trenches.

On any other day until July 9, individuals are welcome to visit the site by booking in advance and a volunteer will be happy to give them a tour.

Young archaeologists and students from St Thomas More Catholic School and Buxton Community School have already been helping to confirm the existence of archaeology under the ground with magnetic imaging surveys, and working with the Tudor Interpretation group to find out about the lives of people who have used the site over the centuries.

For more information, visit www.peelingbackthelayers.org or call 01298 83282.