In July 2014, Leicestershire YAC joined volunteers in Anstey to take part in a community dig as part of the Charnwood Roots Project. Over the weekend of 26 and 27 July a number of test-pits were opened across the village in gardens and public spaces to see what could be discovered about Anstey’s past.
Leicestershire YAC was kindly given two test-pits (one on each day) on public spaces close to Jubilee Hall and Packhorse Bridge. Both days were very hot and our YAC’s did a fantastic job opening, recording and fully completing both test-pits.
Our first test-pit near Jubilee Hall (Test Pit 13) was very tough with natural clay layers not far beneath the top-soil, making digging and sieving a hard task. We collected pieces of pottery and found the dig’s first coin – a One Penny piece dating to 1966!
On the second day we opened a new test-pit close to Packhorse Bridge (Test Pit 15). Dating to around the 16th/17th century this bridge was the main route to Leicester across Rothley Brook. This test-pit was slightly different in that the top-soil was more silty and the natural clay layers were a bit deeper. We found more pieces of pottery and had a small flurry of finds in one part of the pit which included a Sixpence dated 1950, a surveyors peg and a shaped triangular piece of chalk which stood out as there were no natural pieces of chalk discovered in the pit. We discussed this with other volunteers at the finds hub, who said that this reminded them of family members who were builders and remembered them using pieces of chalk shaped like that as part of their trade. We felt that this told a nice little story, with the test-pit being located near to a wall, of a builder putting the wall up or fixing it at a later date.
We are all very proud of our YAC volunteers as their hard work has contributed to the new understandings about the history of this village, so a big well done to all those involved.
The project has put together a video documenting the weekend, which includes some familiar Leicestershire YAC faces!
We have also been given individual reports for our Test Pits and the overall conclusions from the dig;