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  • David Quick

Day 8 - Radio Stars

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that I missed a day yesterday, for which I apologise. We were so busy with visitors, it being a weekend attracting lots of passers-by, that I had no chance at all to take any photos. Hopefully we will make up for it this evening.


As the title implies, Juliet and I have been on the radio this evening. Sarah Dell contacted us a few weeks back inviting us to be interviewed about the Big Dig on the 'Sarah and Andy' slot from 6pm to 7pm on Wey Valley Radio, so we turned up at the studio and had a lovely time. It is really interesting seeing the inside of a studio and how the show is produced. It hopefully gave us a chance to promote what the Big Dig is all about.


Today was scorching despite the overcast and most of us really caught the sun today. You have to be really careful on archaeology digs because you don't notice it during the day. Despite the shortage of experienced volunteers needed for a weekend I think today went very well. Here is a round-up of what has been going on.


Our project manager, Keith Baker, has been an absolute star.

Keith (right) giving a guided tour to some of our site visitors.

When he wasn't touring round checking how things were going and setting up arrangements for digging in residents' gardens he spent most of the day acting as a steward because of a dearth of volunteers this weekend. I have lost count of how many people we have spoken to and taken around the site over the first week but it is several hundred. I think he looked quite relieved when seen here packing up at the end of the day.

Keith heaving a sigh of relief at the end of another successful day.

Also stars in my book were the Finds Team seen below. With very little help and support they just got on with cleaning finds, sorting them and then recording them.

Sorting the finds trays and recording the items found.

Deciding which finds to keep and which to re-deposit.

Entertainment was again provided by my 2-year old grandson, Ted, seen here next to a pensive-looking Carl. Shortly afterwards I discovered that Ted had been pooing his nappy!

Guess which one has just filled his nappy?

It is amazing how much equipment you need to run a 2-week dig and the first half-hour of each day is spent transporting the gear from the store to the dig, display and finds areas as seen here.

Getting all of our equipment out of the groundsmen's store after morning brief.

A cluster of wheelbarrows helps to move the bulkier items.

Over in Test Pit 4 I am beginning to wonder whether, as hoped, the diggers are coming down at a depth of about half a metre on a buried wall. No dating evidence as yet and we need to explore further.

What appears possibly to be a wall, in Test Pit 4 next to where Romano-British features were found in 1988.

Another view of the feature in Test Pit 4.

This is Davy opening up a new test pit over what appears to be an east-west parchmark and an area showing as 'solid' on the geophysics scan. Too early to tell what might be there.

But in my opinion these are the real stars of the last two days. These younger members of the dig team have quietly got on with what they were asked to do, have supervised themselves and completed all their own paperwork. They were digging today in the fenced-off part of the children's play park, next to where the workmen had found large Romano-British (Alice Holt ware) pottery from large storage jars. And as you can perhaps see from the right-hand finds tray, their reward was that towards the end of today they have started finding lots more such pieces.

Our youngest diggers with their latest finds.

Tomorrow we have a visit at 10.00am by a community TV reporter who wants to interview some of us. Should be interesting! To finish, here are 5 drone photos from this afternoon.

The main dig site showing the display and children's area (bottom-right) and the locations of most of our test pits.

A vertical view of the children's play park, fenced off while workmen are replacing the old wooden fence with metal railings. Our test pit where we have found large pieces of Romano-British pottery is centre-right of this view.

A drone's eye view of the team digging in the fenced-off play park.

Today's overhead view of the presumed Victorian garden feature - plinth for something like a statue or sundial.

Vertical view of the foundations of the WW2 'British Restaurant' wooden hut.

I hope that I may be able to share some virtual 3D models of some of the test pits but these take my PC several hours to produce. Thanks for reading these updates; I enjoy hearing from many of the site visitors, who tell me they have been reading them to follow our progress.

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Alton Big Dig

East Hampshire's community archaeology group with 160 volunteer members working under professional archaeologist supervision, exploring sites at Alton, Colemore and Stroud near Petersfield.

Email: altonbigdig@gmail.com

East Hampshire Community Archaeology

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