In 2008 and 2009, HEFA (Higher Education Field Academy) came to Castleton, led by Carenza Lewis of “Time Team” fame. Students aged 14 – 17 from Cambridgeshire joined Hope Valley College students to dig the test pits over a two day period. CHS liaised with local people to identify locations for test pits in the village, which were in gardens, common land, and one was in the car park of a local factory. Six test pits were dug in 2008 and four in 2009. Click here for 2008 and 2009 Reports.
On the basis of the HEFA experience of similar projects in Cambridgeshire, and Castleton’s history as a planned village from the 1100s, there was an expectation that medieval pottery and perhaps other early artefacts would be easily found. However, whereas relatively recent artefacts (from 18th century to modern day) were well represented, only a few sherds of medieval pottery turned up. This suggested either that the medieval population did not use many pottery vessels (perhaps wooden ones instead) or that Castleton’s population during the medieval period was low.
The HLF funded project in which further test pits were dug in both Castleton and the neighbouring village of Hope generated similar results.
A few photos of the 2008 HEFA project in Castleton
… and of the 2009 HEFA project in Castleton (which was wetter)