Diggers' Diary: Lazerton Chapel
Dig It! Lazerton chapel
On Sunday 19th July, three intrepid young archaeologists joined the archaeological team from the Wessex Academy for Field Archaeology to explore medieval Lazerton chapel near Blandford in Dorset.
Jude, Finn and Sami were the three lucky winners of our Dig It! excavation competition.
They spent a full day on site learning the skills that it takes to be a real archaeologist.
"I was really excited to win a place to join the dig at Lazerton. When we first got there Julian Richards showed us around Mick's Barn and walked us over to the site. He gave us a quick tour and introduced us to the other archaeologists. We were given an area next to the south wall of the chapel. In the first layer we found a range of medieval pottery and what seemed to be pieces of a Roman pot, which wasn't too surprising as the site is close to the Roman settlement at Hod Hill. We also found nails which the archaeologists think were used to attach the flint roof tiles.
We had a really interesting talk from the soil, snail and poo expert! I know it sounds bad, but it was a really good talk. He explained the layers in a big deep ditch that had been dug. He explained how the green sand had been dumped in the ditch as there were no rocks or anything in it, which proved it had been put there by man. Why the greensand was there was a bit of mystery. They believe it would have been quite boggy and in winter it might even have been underwater. Below the green sand was a dark soil which had cracks in it which they think was because it would have been a meadow.
Near the end of day I found an Oyster shell which had a green stain on it. Luckily Julian was there and he said the green stain was a good sign that it had been in contact with copper. I searched under where it was found with my fine tool and brush, and below found a piece of copper. This became the 17th special find! The archeologists marked its position and put it in a bag.
There were some other great finds on the site that day. Two skeletons were found, one they named Bobbie. Another exciting find was a piece of handmade pottery which might have been Saxon, which is what they had hoped to find.
Then it was time to go home. What I learnt and enjoyed most about the experience was that each of the small finds helped us to understand more and more about the site and how it was used. Thank you for a great day!"
"The best part of my day was watching the other archaeologists at work. The most interesting thing I learnt was that archaeology is not just about digging a hole but it's about carefully excavating a site and examining the objects you find to learn about history.
My most exciting discovery was when I found a massive nail. It was interesting to see the different types of nails and pottery.
If I had to describe my day in five words, I'd say: brilliant, fascinating and definitely fun!!"
"My day discovering the past of Lazerton chapel was absolutely awesome!
It all started with arriving at a farm just over the road from the site, here I met Julian Richards who gave us high-visibility jackets and told us a little about the work they had already carried out and showed us the survey of the chapel.
We were shown over the road and walked across the field to the site. When we got there we quickly got a spot near the wall of the chapel, set up and started digging. We were digging for a long while finding nothing of interest. Then in a blink of an eye we found something....... it was a skull!
Soon I was scraping around it but suddenly the earth I was scraping at just caved in. Inside looked like the other side of the skull. We had various other finds like toe or finger bones. Oddly, the skull we found was in two main pieces and lots of other fragments nearby. We wondered why the skull was like this and someone explained that probably this grave was disturbed when another burial was taking place. After we had done all of that it was sadly time to go home we had a great time! It was truly inspirational.
If I had to describe my day in five words, I'd say: brilliant, inspirational, exciting, amazing, unforgettable!"
Huge thanks to Julian Richards and the team at the Wessex Academy for Field Archaeology for looking after our young archaeologists so well, and for teaching them so much about archaeology.
And thanks to the fabulous people at Past Horizons who provided each of our winners with their own brilliant tool roll to use during the dig... and hopefully on other digs in the future too!
If you entered our Dig It! competitions this year but didn't win, don't worry... the competitions will be back in 2016, providing amazing opportunities for young people like you to work on real archaeological sites across the UK!
Just visit the YAC website regularly to see what we've got planned – or sign up to our e-newsletter by entering your email address in the box which appears on the bottom of every page of the YAC website.