Rich history revealed

The findings of a year-long project delving into Great Bowden’s past were revealed in a meeting this month.

Dr Carenza Lewis, who was part of television’s Time Team, presented findings to participants of the Heritage Lottery-funded Dig for Bowden’s Hidden Past project at its final event on Thursday, January 6, at Great Bowden Village Hall.

The project’s aim was to trace the village’s development over the centuries.

Great Bowden Heritage and Archaeology group along with some 100 volunteers, dug 30 test pits in gardens and paddocks in and around Great Bowden from July 2013 until July 2014. Dr Lewis said Great Bowden showed a marked difference to Kibworth, where a similar project was held as part of Michael Wood’s Story of England TV series in 2009.

Great Bowden showed a much greater and more rapid expansion in the 9th-11th centuries and a much smaller contraction after the Black Death period. Its pattern of development differs significantly from the norm in the East of England. Quite why is a matter for conjecture.

The heritage group’s project leader Rosemary Culkin said: “All volunteers worked very hard. A one-metre square test pit means digging and sifting through one ton of soil but it is fun especially when you come across the unexpected.”

Finds from individual pits revealed worked flint, traces of Roman occupation, masses of late-Anglo Saxon and medieval pottery, medieval roof tiles, a 17th century gaming jetton, a Victorian brooch and more. The heritage group is hoping to continue its test pit programme.

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