Festival of Archaeology Big Dig at the Smithy Heritage Centre

By Culture24 Staff | 27 July 2009
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a man and a boy taking part in an archaeological dig

(Above) The Big Dig. Picture. Picture courtesy Smithy Heritage Centre

As part of the Festival of British Archaeology, the Smithy Heritage Centre in Eccleston, Lancashire, has been holding a series of Big Digs to see what lies beneath the soil in the museum's grounds.

There is still a chance to get involved with the final excavations this weekend (August 1 and 2), where museum staff hope to add to the treasures they have already discovered.

Young archaeologists have been learning how to carry out a proper archaeological investigation using professional tools and find recording techniques.

"When we opened up the first trench we found the area had been dug up before, so we found quite a strange collection of pieces," says the Smithy's Joanne Chamberlain. "But when we opened up our second trench we came across our star find – a piece of worked flint.

"There have been Neolithic discoveries in the surrounding area before, so we are hopeful this could be another one – but we are waiting for an expert to view it."

a boy taking part in an archaeological dig

(Above) Getting to grips with the tools of the trade. Picture courtesy Smithy Heritage Centre

The digs have already proved popular with local people, who have kept coming back in the hope of making further discoveries. Chamberlain believes the dig will encourage young visitors to get involved with archaeological projects.

"We are hoping to inspire the younger visitors and we have had one lad who has been back everyday and has shown loads of enthusiasm for the project," she says.

"The kids have helped measure out the trenches, used trowels to dig, sieved the soil and helped wash and bag the findings at the end of each day, which they have really enjoyed."

For more information on the museum and its upcoming events visit the museum website.

See the Festival of British Archaeology website for more information about archaeology events near you.

To find out the best places to head for during The Festival of British Archaeology 2009, check out Culture24's Top Picks.

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