Posted by Emily Gillott at 17/02/2014 14:20:05
We will be running a volunteer excavation at Rufford between 7th and 18th July this year (excluding weekends). The first week will be run as a field school, and the second week will be a general volunteer dig. No experience is necessary and spaces are very limited.
The abbey was founded in 1146 by Gilbert de Gaunt, Earl of Lincoln, and completed in 1170. It was a Cistercian abbey dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. The Cistercian monks, also known as ‘white monks’ because of their natural white clothing, believed in living an austere life, dedicating themselves to hard work and prayer. Although it was only a fairly small abbey it was moderately wealthy. It was one of the first to be affected by Henry the VIII’s dissolutions in 1536, after which it passed into the hands of the Talbot family and then the Saviles to be used as a country estate.
Part of the structure of the medieval abbey survives where it was incorporated into the grand house built by the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury. It is the ‘best-preserved remains of a Cistercian abbey west cloister range in England’ (English Heritage).
The Community Archaeologists will be running an archaeological Field School and volunteer excavation to investigate some of the medieval remains, with the aim of answering some of the questions we have about the site.
Archaeological Field School - Mon 7th to Fri 11th July
This week is ideal for people who want to get a proper introduction to professional excavation techniques. We will be carrying out targeted excavation in the grounds of the medieval abbey. The dig day will commence at 9.30am and finish at 4pm, with time for lunch in the middle.
If you wish to sign up to the field school you must be able to come for all 5 days. If you have been on one of our field schools before you are welcome to come again, but priority will be given to people who haven't attended one of our Field Schools previously.
Volunteer Excavation - Mon 14th to Fri 18th July
This week is for anyone to join in with, although it may not be suitable for young children (please get in touch if you have children who would like to participate). We will be carrying out targeted excavation in the grounds of the medieval abbey. The dig day will commence at 9.30am and finish at 4pm, with time for lunch in the middle.
You can come for as many or as few days as you like. No experience is necessary, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. This excavation is part of the National Festival of British Archaeology, so check out their website for details of other events that may be taking place in your area.
If you have any questions, or would like to book on to either of the above excavations, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0115 969 6525 or 0115 969 6522.
Please keep in mind that excavation is a physical activity, and we will not be doing post processing (pot washing etc) on site. If you are interested in helping out with post processing activities, such as pot washing or data entry, please get in touch with us to see what opportunities we currently have.
This summer the County Council’s Community Archaeologists will be leading a huge range of archaeological activities at both Rufford Abbey Country Park and Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve. They will be returning to Rufford Abbey Country Park to carry out some excavation work on parts of the medieval abbey grounds. They’ll also be running archaeology-based family events and workshops at both Rufford and Sherwood Country Parks, so you can drop in and see them and learn more.
Watch this space for more details!
From July to September this year our volunteers have contributed a massive 1128 hours of their time to our projects. Brilliant! Huge thanks to all who have come along.
We're currently looking at the possibility of setting up an experimental archaeology area for a couple of years. It would be an area which people could use to carry out archaeological research in experimental archaeology, and also where we could put on workshops and sessions to allow people to experience history first hand!
We can't say much more at the minute, but we would very much like to hear from you if such a space would be of use to you. Are you a student looking to study experimental archaeology for your dissertation? Are you part of an archaeology or history group and fancy having a go at recreating a kiln or sunken floored building? Someone with a conservation interest who fancies trying their hand at traditional charcoal building?
Get in touch with us if this is something that would be of interest to you, at email@example.com