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3.2 Fen Edge & Rivers Archaeology

Engaging with local communities to explore the true extent and wealth of their local archaeology in the Fen Edge & River Valleys.

Delivery Lead Organisation: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service (SCCAS)

Project Update

Geophysics Training Video

Click the video to watch how our volunteers got on:

Geophysics Training photos

Geophysics Training West Stow Country Park - October 2021

Read more about the training on the Suffolk Heritage Explorer blog post.

October 2021

October saw the start of our Fen Edge & Rivers Archaeology project. Led by Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service this project aims to reveal the extent and condition of buried archaeology at key sites in the project area focusing on the Lark Valley. We will explore under-investigated sites and the peripheries of known sites to stitch this historical landscape together, revealing how the river and its surrounding landscape were used through time. This month we have been focusing at delivering geophysical training to volunteers at the site of West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village.

September 2021

Volunteer Opportunities Coming Soon!

Photo credit: Alan Clarke

 

With the help of volunteers, we will be conducting geophysical surveys and fieldwalking. Through this project, we hope to reveal the extent and condition of buried archaeology at key sites in the project area focusing on the Lark Valley. We will explore under-investigated sites and the peripheries of known sites to stitch this historical landscape together, revealing how the river and its surrounding landscape were used through time.

The local community will take a direct role in investigating under-explored sites and the pheripheries of known sites, including: the known site of West Stow Anglo-Saxon village which has earlier Iron Age settlement activity; the Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery at Lackford, where this community was possibly buried; Icklingham, a focus of Roman activity; and the mysterious Black Ditches.

Together these archaeological sites represent evidence of intense historical activity and land use in the Lark Valley. With the help of local volunteers we will carry out a landscape-scale investigation creating the opportunity to stitch this archaeological landscape together, revealing how the river and its surrounding landscape were used for the survival of prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon communities.

With the direct involvement of local volunteers we aim to:

  • Survey the perpheral extent of West Stow Anglo-Saxon settlement to reveal unknown archaeology on the heathland areas by the river
  • Define the extent of Lackford Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery and its relation to to the riverside settlement at West Stow, to inform future management plans before potentially further damaged by agriculture.
  • Trace and fill in the blank gaps, in between the extant Black Ditches in order to characterise their extent and purpose.
  • Explore uninvestigated heath land at Icklingham to ascertain the extent of Roman and Anglo-Saxon activity further up the river valley.

Hands-on volunteer training in geophysical survey, field walking and finds identification on and around these sites will be crucial in investigating the true extent of below ground archaeological assets in the Lark Valley.

These non-intrusive survey techniques are responsible methods of archaeological investigation and work well on the soils and geology of this area and will be used to reveal buried archaeological features. They allow large areas to be covered, enabling the archaeology to be investigated at a landscape level.

West Stow Country Park will host a training hub for volunteer goups as a base to teach initial geophysical survey and fieldwalking techniques, and then use these skills in the field to survey the neighbouring sites at Lackford, Cavenham and Icklingham.

Aims/Objectives

To engage with local communities to explore the true extent and wealth of their local archaeology in the Fen Edge & River Valleys.

To reveal how past communities used and lived within these landscapes, and train volunteers to use modern Geophysics equipment to explore, understand and record hidden heritage.

Summary

This project will deliver volunteer training in non-intrusive archaeological survey techniques, including geophysical survey and fieldwalking, and associated finds identification and processing.

The results of this training will reveal the extent and condition of buried archaeology at key sites in the project area focusing on the Lark Valley.

This project will also explore under-investigated sites and the peripheries of known sites to stitch this historical landscape together, revealing how the river and its surrounding landscape were used through time.

These activities will enable the local community to access and interpret their newly discovered heritage and contribute to the constantly evolving story of Prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon communities in the river valleys. Nationally important archaeology in this area includes the known site of West Stow Anglo-Saxon village, which has earlier Iron Age settlement activity; the Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery at Lackford, where this community was possibly buried; Icklingham, a focus of Roman activity; and the mysterious Black Ditches at Cavenham.

Please Note: due to COVID-19, engagement and training activities including the archaeological geophysical survey and fieldwalking events, have been put back to 2021

If you’d like to get involved in this project, or sign-up for our mailing list, contact us at: bfer.admin@suffolk.gov.uk

Resources

Coming Soon