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Digging Grove Park & East Finchley

By Tina Paphitis, on 2 August 2013

We had a busy week of digging from Monday 8th July to Sunday 14th July, with excavations taking place at opposite ends of London. During the week, Gabriel, Sarah and Tina opened a trench in the garden of the Ringway Centre in Grove Park to teach local Primary School children about archaeology and get them digging! They also learnt about processing and drawing finds, and went on a nature walk with Earnie and Stephen.

We also dug a few test pits in the woods. Our aims were to understand a little bit more about the land around the Centre, and we found lots of domestic and gardening detritus in the test pits, including bits of clay smoking pipes, pottery, a metal bucket and ceramic building material. The schoolchildren were fantastic and worked extremely hard in the main trench, which was mostly formed of clay: lots of clay + hot sun = difficult digging! Here, we found more clay pipe and pottery, a marble and a few bullet shells, but the vast amount of clay we had suggests this was mainly a landscaped area to create a garden. We also had a visit from the Mayor of

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We are very grateful to three Institute of Archaeology graduate students for their hard work helping with digging and teaching at Grove Park: Paul (MA Public Archaeology), Lewis (MA Public Archaeology) and Alex (MA Archaeology). We couldn’t have done it without them! We also had three second-year undergraduate students from Birkbeck University helping us out during the week with test-pitting.Lewisham!

We all had a great time at Grove Park, and would like to thank Stephen for his hospitality and all the wonderful schoolchildren we met! At the end of the week, Sarah and Tina took the tools from South London to North, ready for the Big Dig Weekend at East Finchley.

Sarah joined the East Finchley Community Trust for the East Finchley Big Dig on 13th July.  The launch had attracted 3 groups of participants and a number of other test pits were opened by Roger Chapman from East Finchley Community Trust.  Excavation was tough, as the weather was very hot.  Sarah worked with Hendon and District Archaeological Society on a geophysical survey of part of the Martin School playing field. This was added to the data from previous surveys, with hopes of finding out more about the mystery structure found on the school dig days. More on this soon!