Community Archaeology and the Teffont Archaeology Project Exhibition

Last summer I was able to take part in excavations of the landscape of Teffont in Wilshire, for 2 weeks I was in Glebe Field. This area was the focus in previous seasons of fieldwork and uncovered a Roman building with a courtyard and a track-way leading up to the higher ground of the Upper Holt. The 2012 season focused on a shrine located in the Upper Holt wood and areas of Prehistoric, Saxon and Medieval activity in the wider landscape. I was also given the opportunity to take part in community test pitting and supervised a test pit in one of the local gardens. This was a rewarding experience which certainly made me more confident! Further to this for a recent exhibition about the project I was given the task of creating an exhibition board detailing community archaeology in Teffont, below is my contribution, test pit 2 was the one which I excavated.

Teffont Archaeology Project website: http://www.teffont.org.uk/

Community archaeology and engagement has been paramount to the Teffont Archaeology project, a collaboration with local residents to understand the surrounding landscape of Teffont Evias. Local volunteers took part in fieldwalking in 2008 on Glebe Field and an area of interest was established. Volunteers also contributed to the digging of test pits in 2009 discovering Roman occupation, and have continually been involved in decisions and subsequent excavations throughout the project. Community engagement extends to contributing to the village fete in 2011, holding talks and events locally throughout to disseminate research and findings, and inviting the Wiltshire Young Archaeologists Club to attend annual open days. Excavation has been complimented by collaborations with metal detectorists, who also showcased finds to the community during the 2012 season end of project talk. An earlier talk also occurred in 2012 outlining the project to residents and subsequently a major extension of engagement took the form of garden test pits. The project has provided archaeological training for students and local volunteers, plus has reached over 50% of the Teffont Evias and Teffont Magna population through talks, open days and site visits.

The community garden test pits of 2012 offered the project a window into areas we would not normally be able to investigate. This enabled the main excavations to be placed in a much wider context and provide a glimpse into the history of Teffont across many periods. Students and residents cooperated an excavating a 1.5m by 1m test pit in each garden, recording differential layers through context sheets and drawings, a summary is presented below. This project enabled residents to join in learning more about archaeology and their properties, a rewarding experience for both residents and students.

The results from the test pits was extremely varied, some more complex than others, with artefacts ranging from Roman to modern. A test pit closer to one of the main excavation trenches provided a piece of medieval green glaze pottery, roman pottery, metal and worked flints, providing further information relating to the nearby trench. Another test pit revealed a layer of cobbles, a horseshoe, and slag waste material associated with possible metalworking nearby in the post medieval period. Two of the test pits contained more substantial and varied evidence, test pits 1 and 2.

Test Pit 1 – This test pit was located behind Greystones House on higher ground, two layers of limestone slabs were established purposefully and compactly arranged in order to create a floor or level for a wall. These layers on limestone differ in that the top layer comprised smaller pieces with larger underneath. Associated finds in this test pit included pottery, bone and iron.

Test Pit 2 – Close to the B3089 in the garden of The Pightle this provided insight into a relatively modern Teffont, located near the 1950s/60s petrol pump and also an old forge. A substantial amount of material was retrieved including post-medieval pottery and a vast amount of metal indicating this area may have been used for disposing of metal working waste. The variety of other find categories included ceramic building material, glass, bone (sheep mandible), slate, nails, and clay pipe. Artefacts of special mention include worked wood which appears to be a handle and an intact ornate glass container, although its function is unknown. Rubble, arranged slabs and bricks, plus a large piece of corrugated Iron suggest a semi-permanent structure on site.

Test Pit 1

 

Test Pit 2

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