Press Release – June 2021

Registrations open for 2021 Community Dig 19 – 22 August

Acting chair of Hyde900, Caroline Scott, warmly welcomed being able to announce the fifth Hyde900 Community Dig thanks once again to the generosity of local householders in the area of the inner precinct of Hyde Abbey. ” I really thank them for offering their gardens so that local residents and those from further afield – of all ages – can experience the excitement of rediscovering this important abbey, the final resting place of Alfred the Great.”

The dig, to take place August 19th to 22nd   will be returning to the area of the abbey cloisters where the 12th century stonework of the original cloister arches was found, and which is now on display in the Winchester City museum. Dig organiser, David Spurling, explained “the previous digs have given us many wonderful finds that are helping us know more about the abbey, almost totally destroyed soon after the Dissolution. Whilst we have now located for the first time the positions of the east and south range of cloister buildings, the west range is still completely unknown. The gardens we have been offered are ideally placed to help us – and the over 100 volunteers who take part – solve the next piece in the jigsaw.”

Local residents John and Ingrid Martin commented “We have always wondered about the stones we found when we were digging a sandpit many years ago in the garden. We were one of the first to offer our garden for the community digs and are so glad Hyde900 will now give us the opportunity to solve the mystery. We can’t wait to join in with the other volunteers uncovering what is below our lawn”

Whilst the finds from the 2020 dig have yet to be fully analysed, there is now a lot more known about the diet of the abbey’s inhabitants, thanks to major finds in a garden further up King Alfred Terrace. The deposit of food waste found adjacent to the exciting discovery of the remains of a two storey building has thrown light on the seafood rich diet they enjoyed, whilst the nationally important find of over 5 Kg of medieval window glass points to the importance of the building.

The dig is open to anyone above 5 years old – although those under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult, Those wanting to be kept informed on the progress of the project, and to have priority access to bookings, are invited to register on the Hyde900 website, where further information on the dig is already available.