University gives Bury students a chance to try archaeology first hand

Thomas Brett with a tiny Victorian pottery doll that would have been made for a dolls house. 
Pictures Mark Westley
Thomas Brett with a tiny Victorian pottery doll that would have been made for a dolls house. Pictures Mark Westley
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Students from two Bury St Edmunds schools had the chance to try archaeology first hand when a team from Cambridge University held a dig in Rickinghall and Botesdale.

The dig was organised by Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) for 24 students from King Edward VI School and Subil Andrews Academy.

Maise Baldwin, and Lilly Genner sift through finds from pit one

Maise Baldwin, and Lilly Genner sift through finds from pit one

Emily Ryley, ACA administrator, said the students made six one-metre square test pits across the villages.

“It was a team excavation to see how the village developed,” she said. “Hopefully, we can come back next year and find some more.”

A few days later, the students went to the university to learn how to write up dig reports and to get a taste of university life.

Emily said: “We had a lovely response from the community, too. Chatting to local people, what was great was that this team of students were so well behaved and engaged – they were a credit to their schools.”

Caitlin McKay, Lauren Taylor and Samuel Vernon with Alison Dickens, head of ACA

Caitlin McKay, Lauren Taylor and Samuel Vernon with Alison Dickens, head of ACA

The students dug to a metre down . Emily explained: “Sometimes you dig down 10cm and go back 2,000 years but in other places you go down 10cm and you’re still finding plastic bags.”

The students’ finds included Neolithic flints, medieval pottery and plenty of 19th and 20th century pottery, including a tiny Victorian pottery doll. The finds go on the ACA’s website this week at http://www.access.arch.cam.ac.uk/reports/suffolk/rickinghall-and-botesdale/2017