Big Dig to provide hands on history in Wisbech

Young Archaeologists!
Taleyna Fletcher

Budding archaeologists are set to uncover more of Wisbech’s history during May half term as a ‘Time Team’ style community dig gets underway.

Around 150 people young and old are ready to get their hands dirty in ‘The Big Dig’ as part of the Heritage Lottery-funded Wisbech High Street Project.

Working alongside professional archaeologists from Archaeology Project Services (APS) and supported by local amateur group FenArch, participants will take part in a real archaeological dig in the gardens of Wisbech and Fenland Museum.

The dig will take place over five days, from Tuesday, May 29, to Saturday, June 2, with digging and soil sieving across four test pits spread over the gardens.

Places for the half-day archaeology sessions were filled within days of opening, with all the activities being provided completely free of charge.

Spectators are welcome to attend and see the work in progress. There will be a chance to view the ‘finds’ as they come out of the ground and displays about the history of the site.

There will also be children’s activities and an opportunity to explore the museum – which is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the UK.

Taleyna Fletcher is Townscape Heritage Officer for the Wisbech High Street Project at Fenland District Council, which is delivering the project with support from several local organisations including Wisbech Society and Wisbech Town Council.

She said: “Everyone involved is really excited about The Big Dig – its location within the town has huge potential for archaeological remains from all periods. We’ll be in very close proximity to the 12th century St Peter and St Paul Church, on the edge of the moat of the original Norman Castle and also, when the current museum was constructed, an Anglo-Saxon brooch was discovered.

“Aside from the archaeological potential, The Big Dig gives individuals of all ages the opportunity to participate in a real archaeological investigation and to be able to enjoy a new experience. My own experience of community digs in Wisbech in the past has shown that residents are incredibly enthusiastic about learning more about archaeology and their town’s heritage.”

An exhibition displaying the finds and results of The Big Dig will be held at The Gap at 24 High Street, Wisbech, and at the museum next year.

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