Community digs to shed light on 1500 years of village history

Volunteers from the weekend's digging in Great Bowden
Volunteers from the weekend's digging in Great Bowden

Roman and medieval pottery and even a gaming chip from the 14th century were found during archaeological digs in Great Bowden over the weekend.

Three test pits were in the village as part of Great Bowden Heritage and Archaeology group’s ‘Dig for Bowden’s Hidden Past’ project - made possible thanks to a £7,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thirty volunteers helped with the project, which will explore the development of the village over the past 1500 years.

One test pit was dug at the Shoulder of Mutton, one near the village hall and one in the garden of an old house facing the Green. More digs are planned between now and next year. To get involved email or visit

Rosemary Culkin, project leader, said: “It’s early days yet but finds ranged from Roman and Medieval pottery to a 14th century gaming chip from the pub garden, to horse shoe nails, and even what looks like old badger bones.

“It’s hard work, but many hands make light work and we had a group of very enthusiastic volunteers.

“The Heritage Lottery award enables us to significantly increase our equipment giving many more people the opportunity of getting involved in the project and their heritage. It will also provide training, professional analysis, and a report by Access Archaeology Cambridge, led by Dr Carenza Lewis.”

Already other test pit sites have been volunteered near The Green, Dingley Road, Knights End, Main Street and Langton Road.

With 30 test pits to dig before August 2014, sites in other parts of the village will be needed to complete the picture.

Just as important are volunteers to help with digging and finds processing.

Rosemary added: “Digs take place over two days and are not too onerous and if the weekend is anything to go by. They are lots of fun, although it is unlikely that “treasure “ will be found.”

To get involved email or visit