Bones without Barriers, Jigsaw, Pimms and Strawberries

conference poster

A busy week for outreach here at Oxford Archaeology East! I work on the Jigsaw Cambridgeshire community archaeology project linking up with local archaeology groups across the county and providing them with free training, equipment and advice (courtesy of HLF!). I also work on other outreach projects for the company.

Yesterday I was working on the Bones Without Barriers project – the outreach arm of the Oakington Anglo Saxon dig, of lady buried with cow fame! I was digging testpits with Trinity School Foxton, a special school with 25 students. We’ve been on a number of school trips together and this was the most engaged I’ve seen them – a really happy atmosphere as they enjoyed digging, sieving and washing finds. We dug a 1m testpit and uncovered a concrete wall foundation. We then extended the testpit widthways and to our surprise found another concrete wall foundation running parallel to the first one! It was sitting on top of a pit cut into natural and filled with Victorian rubbish – so maybe it was a Victorian loo! We need to do some documentary research to find out….

Today I’m loading the van, printing off name stickers, buying strawberries and making Pimms mixture for our annual Jigsaw Groups’ Summer Conference. Many of our 21 groups are bringing displays of their group’s recent archaeological research, and will be mingling, drinking Pimms, eating strawberries and admiring the archaeology-themed cake! This after a morning course on Testpitting, for which we have 35 people booked already. It’s great to be working on such a successful project which is engaging so many people across the county.

On Monday we’re off to the British Archaeological Awards for which we’ve been shortlisted to the top three for the Best Community Engagement Archeology Project! We’re very excited, so will be cleaning the mud out of our fingernails and dusting off our best frocks for the occasion… Not many chances to dress up in community archaeology!