So here we are at last breaking soil! We have the permissions in place to begin the dig and here is the first archaeology taking place today. Gabor has decided to carry out some test excavations in the New Churchyard before moving back closer to the church to explore the known remains there. The current 2m square is straddling the path that leads from the Old Churchyard up to the War Memorial.
Just below the surface is a dump of clay Kent Peg tile. It isn’t obviously old and appears to be possibly 18th or even 19th Century. It could be demolition debris from a building close by, but we don’t know of any buildings very close, so it may have been a dump just to fill in a bit of a hollow when this part of the churchyard was a meadow. One fragment of tile has immortalised a dog who was walking over the tiles as they dried in the open prior to firing.
Prior to excavating the area of what we believe is an Anglo-Saxon church, the ground by the south door of the standing church has been cleaned up. You can see the viewing platform taking shape above it. This will enable visitors to watch the dig while it is taking place.
The viewing platform should give a good view of the site as it extends down the side of the church.
The platform looks down on where we know there are buried walls from pictures dating back to the original excavations in the mid 19th Century. The engraving below dates to 1861.
The site is still being prepared for excavation and once the viewing platform is complete, it will be necessary to have a digger on site to remove the tarmac from the paths. We are currently expecting that it will be possible to start digging archaeology in earnest next week.
We will be contacting by email everyone who has volunteered to help to let you know about the vital health and safety briefing that everyone must attend before they can work on site. Unfortunately, because of the delays caused by the objectors to the dig, we only received the go-ahead to proceed at the end of last week. This has made it very difficult to plan ahead and give everyone who wants to be involved much notice. Please bear with us. We will be in contact as soon as we can.