Kelmscott Community Archaeology: School Outreach 2023

During the second year of our three-year Community Archaeology Research Programme (CARP), which we are undertaking on behalf of the Society of Antiquities at Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, 29 local Farmor’s School students (now in Year 8) and 4 school staff returned again to learn more about the village’s history and to take part in further activities after their initial introduction to the project last year.

Farmor’s School students identifying archaeological remains from various sources

After arriving and a receiving a project re-cap, the students separated into groups to do a consultancy workshop in Kelmscott Manor’s Learning Barn.  Using a series of historical maps, aerial photography, LiDAR and geophysics to help them identify potential archaeological remains in the village of an earlier medieval settlement, the exercise helped to prepare them for identifying these features ‘on the ground’ later that day and why we chose specific areas to investigate further using a series of evaluation trenches.

Students excavating one of the Manor Farm field’s evaluation trenches

The students then moved to Manor Farm field where two evaluation trenches were being excavated, targeting features identified in the imagery the students were studying.  The group was split into two, taking turns to join a finds handling workshop and experience digging in one of the evaluation trenches where they found a variety of artefacts including bone and pottery, working alongside Cotswold Archaeology fieldwork staff and volunteers. With the results from this field, particularly the 11th – 13th century deposits found, it would suggest that the land around the manor was actively used for agriculture during the medieval period.  Further evaluation trenches were investigated in the Car Park field, showing that the medieval village may have also extended to the east of the village’s church.

During the finds handling workshops, students studied artefacts from our outreach collection and finds recently unearthed from the evaluation trenches, including artefacts from a variety of periods and made from different materials, including bone, pottery, flint and metal.  We also had time to visit other areas of the village where further evaluation trenches were to be explored the following week.

Students discussing and handling archaeological finds

The students were certainly excited about re-visiting Kelmscott’s archaeology project, with more than half of the students taking away our careers leaflets, giving details about future careers with company and the archaeological sector generally.  One school staff member is also now an ongoing Cotswold Archaeology volunteer!

We look forward to welcoming Farmor’s School back to Kelmscott Manor during our final year of the project in 2024!

Caz Adams
Outreach and Community Engagement Officer

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