Loddon History Group

Loddon and District Local History Group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 1.30pm, in the Lecture Hall, St John’s Methodist Church, George Lane, Loddon. Admission is £2.50 and includes a cup of tea, and biscuit, after the speaker.

There is no formal membership, everyone is welcome.

Join us if you wish…..everyone welcome,  just turn up.

Please refer to our website – www.loddonhistory.org.uk  for full details of our booked speakers for the rest of this year….. and a great deal more.

The History Group has launched a new venture – The Loddon Parish Study, involving both archival research and archaeological test pit digging.

Loddon Parish Study….        

This year’s first Dig-it Day on Saturday 4th May, went very well.  We opened 5  test pits in back gardens along the main street in Loddon.  Pit One was very low lying and filled up with water in a very short time.    Pit Two was, unfortunately,  sited on yet another modern rubbish pit….so many broken bottles!  But the other three pits may well have produced ‘old’ pot sherds – all pot finds will be sent to Gressenhall for identification.  One thing we have confirmed –  previous residents of Loddon sure liked to smoke.  So many bit of broken clay pipe, as well as a selection of the actual pipe bowls.

Our dig on the Scarecrow Saturday generated a lot of interest, and the children loved digging in the spoil heap.

One local family was having alterations done to their house involving knocking two rooms into one.  This required digging two holes beneath an internal wall for new brick piers to support the ceilings.  They allowed us to sieve the resultant soil heaps and we have sent some very interesting looking potsherds off to Gressenhall.

We dug a couple of test pits at Hobart High School, close to the footpath from Stubbs Green to the village centre.  We did this during the school day, being joined by a group of interested pupils.  They seemed to enjoy the day.  Several classes came to see what we were doing, and why, and we answered lots of good questions.  Unfortunately, one pit happened to be on such compacted clay that it was near impossible to dig…..and eventually revealed no archaeology at all.  The other was a little more productive with Medieval potsherds and one possibly older bit of pot.  This seems to suggest there was no settlement along this footpath, but that the fields were cultivated and manured with household ‘compost’.  In the afternoon it rained, but we were able wash the finds and to examine some examples of ancient potsherds and prehistoric flints, that we have found in previous digs, in one of the school laboratories.

We completed our next Dig-it Day on Saturday 27th July, when we dug 3 test pits along the footpath from the church to Beccles Road.  We hoped to see if there was any settlement back from what is today the main street.  The results of our efforts have been sent to Gressenhall for identification.

There must be something about school playing fields which spell ‘difficult digging’.  Maybe it is the years of grass cutting and rolling, along with the hundreds of footsteps?  The Junior School welcomed us to dig on their field, but it was such hard going, one pit was abandoned by midday.  We didn’t find much of archaeological interest, but the pupils seemed interested and were happy to look at our ‘handling collection’ of previous finds.  Plenty of broken clay pipe again.

We were hoping to have one more Dig-It Day this year but unfortunately due to a bad weather forecast we had to cancel. The dig which was scheduled for Saturday 12th October will now, hopefully be the first of many next year.

 

Jenny in her pit.

Archaeological Test Pits – What? How? Why?

A test pit is a 0ne metre square hole, dug carefully in 15 cm ‘slices’.  The layers are photographed and/or drawn to record details.  The soil is sieved, with a garden sieve, with any finds being washed and stored in labelled trays for identification by experts later.  The spoil heap is usually swept with a metal detector to see if we missed anything.  Why?  Well, as you dig down you go back in time through Victorian, Medieval, Saxon, Roman and even prehistoric eras.  Mind you, we’ll be lucky to find any really old artifacts with a standard test pit as they can only be just over a metre deep, but any finds are great!

 

Don’t forget, we  need a lot of help – to mark up, dig, sort and wash finds, to record both pits and artifacts…and to fill in the holes afterwards.  If you would like more details or to get involved, visit www.loddonhistory.org.uk or contact us on loddonparishstudy@gmail.com .

Test Pit 8 in progress

 

On another topic, it was all of 12 years ago when we conducted our first Graveyard Headstone Survey – in our own Holy Trinity churchyard here in Loddon.  During this year some volunteers, led by Ros McCormack, will be updating the original results,  adding on any new graves, and also those old ones discovered when the churchyard undergrowth was cleared last year.  The records will be updated in the copy in the church porch.

 

You can link to the History Group website via –  Loddon History Group