Saturday, 20 June 2009

Day 8 - Open Day

Today's Open Day included displays by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park, two World War 1 British Tommy's, and an RAF sergeant, (World War two of course), with a collection of vintage armaments.

We were pleased to see large numbers of local residents come along during the day to find out about what we have been doing during our time here. Guided tours of the trenches and excavations were held throughout the day. The level of interest was fantastic and very welcome, with a real sense of community interest and involvement in the project. Indeed, several people indicated they would come along and help if ever we were to be back again, which is great.

Meantime work continued within the trenches themselves. Debate continued to rage regarding the sequence of events surrounding the site of the anti aircraft guns. The pit full of World War 2 rubbish continued to become deeper and wider and we found more interesting items. The zig zag trench back filled with sandbags also proved very deep and, despite much mattocking and hard work, no bottom was found. We also found that the presumed Home Guard firing position sited at the lower end of the park turned out to have been back filled with sand from sandbags at some stage.

Among the most exciting finds today was a large portion of a military vehicle tyre. This was excavated in the rubbish pit, but the fragility of the remains meant that it had to be recorded in situ. Fortunately however after excellent painstaking work by Anna in that trench she did manage to lift a fairly large section intact.

Beside the World War 1 gun platform we excavated an extent of armoured copper wire believed to be of World War 2 date. The possible line and direction of this was identified by metal detecting and about 45 metres down the hill was found to change direction. The new line was found to directly correspond with cable that had been previously found and photographed by the previous Time Team dig.

A great day and many thanks to all the organisations and their representatives who gave up their time to make it such. And a big thank you to the people of the locality who turned up in number to share the experience of Digging Dad's Army with us.

Tomorrow it's final bits of digging and patient recording of everything we have exposed before the daunting prospect of putting all the dug material back and returfing the site. All part of the archaeological experience!

Neil F/ RW

Not much to say tonight as I have been in PR mode all afternoon. The Open Day saw a great response from local people which just re-enforced the rationale behind DDA- it really is a people's project.

Our friends from 10th Essex WW1 Living History Group and Chris Gosling added period atmosphere and we joined our colleagues Sarah and Rebecca from Groundworks and Froglife in explaining the plans for the old Lily Pond/Quarry Pit at the south end of the Park to be turned into an environmental area and amphibian habitat. Archaeology and Ecology in tandem- after all we are all in the same game of understanding and improving the environment.

Clive Efford our local MP and Denise Hyland our Counsillor also visited us and stayed for the tour. It is really good to see this kind of work recognised in such a supportive but low key, no fuss way.

More on the archaeology tomorrow.

Andy B

Some images from today - more to follow

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to add that Clr John Kelly was on the first tour, too.