Discovering Bromborough: village test pitting

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Project Overview

Discovering Bromborough was a two year community archaeology project conducted at the heart of Bromborough Village on the Wirral. The project was funded by two Heritage Lottery Fund grants in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 we also undertook a larger open-area excavation at Bromborough Courthouse. You can learn more about this by clicking here: Bromborough Courthouse.

In total fifty test pits were excavated in residential and business premises and on open public land.

Test Pit Dist

The 2013 project demonstrated that the core of Bromborough village was seemingly lightly occupied until at least the 10th century. It recovered the first evidence of Roman ceramics found in the village but only in small quantities. It also unearthed the first piece of early medieval ceramic evidence in the form of a sherd of 10th-11th century Stamford Ware. Numerous ceramic sherds dating from the 13th-16th centuries demonstrate that the village reached its peak in the 15th century before an apparent decline. Revival did not take place until the 18th century, where numerous evidence was found for habitation within the village’s core. In 2014, our results confirmed this interpretation whilst expanding the distribution of the test pits to better understand the extent of the village development. To learn more about the results from the test pitting project please download the excavation report, which details the information from each test pit and provides a general overview of how the village developed, illustrated through maps and images of the finds. You will also find specialist reports on the different types of artefacts recovered, such as animal bone, pottery and clay tobacco pipes.

Download: Discovering Bromborough Test Pit Report: 2013 and 2014

Finds from the test pits. Neolithic arrowhead, Roman ceramic cup sherd, medieval glass, 13th century jar rim and 17th century artillery shot (L-R).

Finds from the test pits. Neolithic arrowhead, Roman ceramic cup sherd, medieval glass, 13th century jar rim and 17th century artillery shot (L-R).

The project attracted a large cross-section of the community, from school children to retiree's. Throughout the project Big Heritage taught local volunteers how to excavate, record and process the finds and features they unearthed in their own back gardens and the villages communal areas.

Volunteers learning how to excavate and record a test pit, undertake survey and washing the artefacts

Volunteers learning how to excavate and record a test pit, undertake survey and washing the artefacts

Whilst the Discovering Bromborough volunteers were hard at play we also took the opportunity to film the project and get some feedback from people who were taking part. The first video is from the 2013 season and the second one is from the 2014 season.

Discovering Bromborough from Big Heritage on Vimeo.

Discovering Bromborough 2- Moats and Manors from Big Heritage on Vimeo.

As part of the project we also offered opportunities for the volunteers to undertake some specialist training in a variety of areas: animal bone, human remains and pottery. These sessions gave the volunteers insight into how the artefacts recovered were used to understand their village and how they would be recorded and cared for in the future.

Training in pottery, animal bone and human remains

Training in pottery, animal bone and human remains

Finally, we asked our volunteers to help us curate the artefacts from the dig and create a temporary museum display at the end of 2013. Volunteers undertook their own research on a particular find, usually something that was found on their property or something they found themselves during the excavation. Their display was exhibited in a pop-up museum designed to engage the local Wirral community.

Curated artefacts from the dig and Rob Henshaw, DB1 Volunteer, with his museum board.

Curated artefacts from the dig and Rob Henshaw, DB1 Volunteer, with his museum board.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the project please contact joanne.kirton@bigheritage.co.uk. You can also take a look at the Discovering Bromborough blog that documented the project as it happened. There's a lot more information on there and plenty of photographs. Head to http:// www.digbrom.com