Worcestershire YAC's Second World War dig
On Sunday 24th September 2017, members of Worcestershire YAC had a go at excavation at Lickey Hills Country Park which is between Worcester and Birmingham. The Park is now looked after by Birmingham City Council.
The history of the park
The earliest evidence of human activity at Lickey Hills dates back to prehistory; a Neolithic flint arrowhead was found on Rednal Hill in the park, which can now be seen at Birmingham Museum.
In Roman times, a road was constructed over the Lickey Hills to transport goods and people between the Roman camp at Worcester and Metchley Fort in modern-day Egbaston in Birmingham.
After the Norman invasion of 1066, the Lickey Hills were part of the royal Manor of Bromsgrove and were used as a royal hunting park stocked with deer and rabbits.
Fast-forward to the reign of Queen Victoria in the late 19th century... there was much development in the area around Lickey Hills, with the arrival of the railway. Many people from Birmingham and the Black Country travelled out to the Lickey Hills to enjoy a day out and picnic. They travelled by tram from central Birmingham to Rednal. On busy Sundays, people had to queue to catch a tram back to the city!
In the Second World War, the Army's Royal Engineers constructed several buildings on top of Beacon Hill including a ranging station and a searchlight base... and it was evidence of these structures that the Worcestershire YAC members set out to find!
The Second World War structures on the top of Beacon Hill were used by Air Raid Wardens, who watched for fires over the south of Birmingham, and by aircraft spotters from the Royal Observer Corps who were responsible for operating the air raid sirens when the area was under attack from German planes.
Unfortunately, we didn't get down to the Second World War levels during our day of digging, but we did find a variety of bottles, including a Birmingham Co-op milk bottle, a Corona pop bottle and a martini bottle top. So we know that people in the 20th century were drinking a remarkably wide variety of liquid refreshment up on Beacon Hill!
The members enjoyed being to have a go at digging and finding out about the different skills archaeologists use on site, including surveying and plan drawing.