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Long Melford: Students dig deep to find real wealth of treasures

16:13 14 June 2014

The archaeological dig taking place in Long Melford. Left to right: Jasmine Brien, Francesca Swystun, Connor Robinson, Brandon Masheder and Carenza Lewis.

The archaeological dig taking place in Long Melford. Left to right: Jasmine Brien, Francesca Swystun, Connor Robinson, Brandon Masheder and Carenza Lewis.

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Although it was the first time many of them had wielded a shovel or used a sieve, students taking part in an archaeological dig in west Suffolk still managed to unearth a wealth of interesting finds.

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Under the watchful eye of a team of experts from Cambridge University, including Carenza Lewis from TV’s Time Team, the 40 students from senior schools in Sudbury, Great Cornard, Sible Hedingham and Haverhill joined a community excavation at Long Melford village green.

Among the treasures they discovered at the site close to Holy Trinity Church, were medieval and Anglo Saxon pottery, old coins, numerous bones and a post hole believed to have been from an Anglo Saxon building.

The schools are involved in the Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) scheme, where participants spend two days running their own small one-metre square archaeological excavation within living villages.

The idea is to apply and develop a wide range of learning skills, to boost students’ academic confidence and give them a taste of life and learning at university level.

According to local historian Rob Simpson, who co-ordinated the event with district and parish councillor John Nunn, the dig also helped to uncover evidence of Long Melford’s Saxon and medieval past.

Mr Simpson said: “The students found a lot of interesting items which in time will show up even more evidence. By the second day, they had really got into the dig and seemed to enjoy it. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to experience real archaeology with the help of experts.”

Mr Nunn said the discovery of the Anglo Saxon post hole, from a settlement 1,600 years old, was of particular significance in archaeological terms.

He added: “We also uncovered human remains including what we believe could have been a baby. All of these items will yield more clues about Long Melford’s past once they have been analysed.”

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