Community Dig group

Householder Chris Scott (right) brings the probing team a very welcome cup of tea

Exciting preparations have been taking place in King Alfred Terrace in readiness for next month’s community dig. Ground probing in the gardens of houses number 15 and 10 has revealed tantalising results. A metal probe, inserted into the soil at intervals to measure the depth to a hard surface below and to take tiny samples at that level, has turned up evidence of mortar and imported stone in the proposed dig area at number 15.

In the garden of number 10 probing revealed a firm surface over 70% of the area, 40cm below the soil surface, much of which contains clear traces of buried mortar. It’s too early to speculate about exactly what this could mean but it has certainly made everyone involved in planning the dig very eager to see what is down there.

 

Dig host Chris Prior moves his shed in preparation for the Hyde900 dig

Meanwhile, at number 14, householder Chris Prior has nobly moved his shed in order to allow Hyde900 to excavate the area below it. The shed stood immediately adjacent to where spectacular stones from a Norman cloister arch (called abaci and voussoirs) were uncovered within part of a wall from the medieval abbey during last year’s dig. The chance of finding more of these stunning carved stones or other equally wonderful artefacts buried beneath Chris’s shed was too exciting to pass up. Hyde900 is extremely grateful to Chris for moving it in order to make it possible to continue the excavation of the medieval wall, not to mention his volunteering to spend the Easter weekend removing the concrete slab.

For full details of plans for the dig – and the results of last year’s dig – download the illustrated Dig Proposal here.

To book to take part in this year’s dig, please click here.

For the dig location and public parking details please click here.

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Community Dig 2018

datePosted on 14:09, March 1st, 2018 by Website Admin

Bookings now open for the 2018 Hyde900 Community Dig April 27th- 30th

 

Hyde900 are organising a further community dig event to take place April 27th to 30th following last year’s highly successful event. We very much hope you will take part or visit the dig on the Open Day on Sunday April 29th. Full training will be given and booking is now open on

Please click here to book your session(s)

For the dig location and public parking details please CLICK HERE

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Community Dig 2018-Announcement

datePosted on 10:01, December 31st, 2017 by Website Admin

The Hyde900 Community Dig returns for 2018!

The dates for your diary are April 27th to 30th

For the third annual Community Dig, we have been invited back to numbers 14 and 15 King Alfred Terrace (courtesy of Chris and Anne Prior, and Justine Field), as well as a completely new area at number 10 King Alfred Terrace (thanks to Chris Scott), to continue the exciting excavation of the abbey cloisters.

In 2017 the finds proved to be of international significance, and the display of part of a stone arch of the Norman cloister is destined for Winchester Museum.

Those who attended last year’s dig may remember that the stones from the Norman arch were found in an area next to the shed at number 14. Chris Prior will be moving the shed to allow us to explore the medieval wall and paved area that continued underneath it. Altogether there will be at least four new sites to excavate, all in the expected area of the Norman cloisters, so we are anticipating a fascinating dig.

Once again, Winchester Archaeological and Local History Group (WARG) will be providing a full roster of supervisors for all stages – digging, sieving, finds processing and recording, together with the equipment. David Ashby of the University of Winchester returns as advisor to the dig, and we are also extremely lucky that Dr John Crook, Consultant Archaeologist to Winchester Cathedral, will be with us again for the event.

We are delighted to be supported by  CBA Wessex and the Aviva Community Fund, and sponsored once again by Belgarum Estate Agents.  We look forward to welcoming their Managing Director, John Leeson, back once more to open the dig.

As before, the cameras will be there courtesy of Solent Moviemakers to record the highs and lows of the excavation. There will be a daily blog which will enable you to see all the action on the website as the dig progresses.

Please click here to book your session(s)


Reconstruction of the cloister arcade of Hyde Abbey (Photo Mike Caldwell)

Reconstruction of the cloister arcade of Hyde Abbey (Photo Mike Caldwell)

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Rediscovering Hyde Abbey

datePosted on 09:41, November 21st, 2017 by Website Admin

2018 Hyde900 Community Dig  

This year’s Hyde900 dig at 14 and 15 King Alfred Terrace (courtesy of Chris and Ann Prior and Justine Field) yielded finds exceeding all expectations. Justine’s garden yielded a minute “Christmas Pudding Doll” – put in Christmas puddings in Victorian times – whilst Chris and Ann’s garden Norman stonework “of international importance” (Professor Biddle, Professor of Archaeology, University of Oxford)

The display features the voussoirs (wedge shaped stones) and an abacus (sitting above the capital) which match with the capital and springer stone from the abbey unveiled to an invited audience in St Bartholomews’s Church at the King Alfred Weekend.

Hyde900 are delighted that the 2018 community dig can return to these gardens to complete the exploration of this key area of the abbey’s cloisters. In addition we will be putting test pits in an additional garden, 10 King Alfred Terrace, by kind permission of Chris Scott. Those interested in taking part will be able to register their interest via this website shortly.

In the meantime may we thank those of you who succeeded in voting for the Aviva grant. We reached just over 1000 votes, and will be informed as to whether we were successful on January 16 2018

 

We hope to see you at the dig – April 27 to 30.

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2017 Community Dig video

datePosted on 13:41, July 13th, 2017 by Website Admin

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HYDE900’s ‘COMMUNITY DIG’ POST-SCRIPT: FURTHER IMPORTANT MEDIEVAL FINDS FUEL SPECULATION ABOUT ABBEY’S CONSTRUCTION

In a remarkable post-script to the previous announcement  issued earlier today by Hyde900 concerning the

Intricately moulded stone find in Trench 7, 15 King Alfred Place

Intricately moulded stone find in Trench 7, 14 King Alfred Place

 discoveries made in its Bank Holiday Community Dig, we are delighted to announce a further important development.

Following the cleaning of stones this afternoon by Hyde900’s David Spurling in one of the principal excavation pits in King Alfred Terrace, householder Chris Prior decided to take a closer look at what had been exposed. Having scooped away some loose mortar he realised that what he had come across was, almost certainly, a capital to a column (a very rare object in the Hyde context). In fact, as he trowled further there appeared to be a series of these capitals.

In Chris Prior’s words, “I noticed that in the stone it was possible to see a very definite curved shape filled with mortar. So I had a dig around and it vanished into a bit of a void. As I looked more closely I noticed that the jointing of blocks on what looked like the surface of a wall was equidistant at about 280 millimetres and each one had a scalloped edge looking like the edge of a capital. And when we cleaned up further we saw the pattern continuing. So in fact we have found three – or maybe four – capitals making up the surface of the wall.”

COMMUNITY DIG UPDATE May 6 2017

Following further investigations, Hyde900 is able to report that the ‘capitals’ referred to in the report have now been identified, in fact, as ‘voussoirs’ (wedge-shaped stones which constitute an arch).
We will be issuing further information about this important find later on in the year when we hope to be able to put the voussoirs into the wider context of the abbey’s construction.

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DISCOVERIES ON HYDE ABBEY SITE BY VOLUNTEER ARCHAEOLOGISTS GIVE NEW INSIGHT INTO ANCIENT TIMES

David Ashby, University of Winchester and Advisor to the 2017 Hyde900 Community Dig, in Trench 7 with abacus

David Ashby, University of Winchester and Advisor to the 2017 Hyde900 Community Dig, in Trench 7 with abacus

Two major surprise discoveries lit up the final hours of Hyde900’s Bank Holiday Weekend Community Dig (supported by WARG, the society for Winchester archaeology and local history) to shed new light on the history of Hyde and to solve a mystery linked to St. Bartholomew’s church.

Excavations over the course of three days in the gardens of two houses in King Alfred Terrace covering what is believed to be the cloisters of Hyde Abbey had revealed a mass of building and other material dating back to the middle ages. However it wasn’t until the final day that startling conclusions were reached which could transform our understanding of this area of Winchester.

Potentially most important was the unearthing of a significant amount of Roman mortar fragments together with tesserae (small blocks of clay used in a plain mosaic floor) in one of the five trenches which had been opened up by the volunteer archaeologists. Located at a level lower than that of an adjacent wall and floor – probably part of the medieval monastery – this prompted a re-evaluation of the site. “The volume of material that we have found opens out the possibility of a building from the Roman era in this location,” explained David Ashby from the University of Winchester. “The Roman road from Winchester to Silchester ran about one hundred metres to the west and it is possible that this material came from a nearby house in the countryside just to the north of the Roman city. But we had never seen this before.”

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