We Dig Community Countdown to Christmas

2018 has been a busy year for the Historic Environment team. Part of this has been due to the post-excavation work of the We Dig Community. We thought we would celebrate the countdown to Christmas Day by sharing some of the results of the test pitting project in Bainbridge. We discovered over 12,000 finds! For each day of advent we will look at the project and review a selection of these finds. Continue reading “We Dig Community Countdown to Christmas”

Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge

We Dig Community is coming to an end in Bainbridge, but one last piece of fieldwork has been completed, a geophysical survey by Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG). Geophysical surveys (often referred to as ‘geophys’) are usually undertaken at the beginning of a project as they give you an overview of the site and can give you an indication of where to place your archaeological trenches. However, test pits, by their nature, should be a random snapshot of the archaeology of an area, so in this case the geophysical survey was being used to ensure that no large features were missed. Continue reading “Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge”

Final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop

We are holding our final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop as we only have a few finds left to process now. The workshop will be on the 28th September, from 10am till 5pm at Bainbridge Temperance Hall. (You do not have to stay for the whole session.) Everybody is welcome and no experience is required. However, spaces are limited so if you would like to attend please contact Hannah Kingsbury at Hannah.Kingsbury@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652343.



Finds Processing and Identification Workshop Take Two

Last weekends Finds Workshop was really successful and we got lots of finds processed and sorted! Our collection of identified finds is getting bigger and includes coins, clay pipes, Romano-British pottery, late medieval pottery, a bone domino and a WWII bullet.

We still have lots of finds that need washing, sorting and identifying so we are holding another Finds Processing and Identification Workshop. This workshop will be held on Thursday 14th September from 10am till 5pm at Bainbridge Temperance Hall. (You do not have to stay for the whole session.) Everybody is welcome and no experience is required. However, spaces are limited so if you would like to attend please contact Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons at Rebecca.Cadbury-Simmons@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652353.

Finds Processing and Identification Workshops

We Dig Community is running several Finds Processing and Identification Workshops now that the test pits in Bainbridge are all complete. Come along to find out about some of the post-excavation work required with the finds, as well as the opportunity to help uncover the history of Bainbridge.

The workshops will be held at the Temperance Hall in Bainbridge, on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September, 9am till 12:30pm and 1pm till 4:30pm.

Everybody is welcome, however spaces available for each timeslot are limited so booking is essential. To book a place please contact Hannah Kingsbury at Hannah.Kingsbury@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652343

We have reached Test Pit 24!

We have now reached Test Pit 24! We have also nearly finished the We Dig Community project in Bainbridge, as we will finish at the end of July.

The test pits have been placed in a variety of locations around Bainbridge, including the Village Green, resident’s gardens, and local fields. Test pit 24 was dug at Sycamore Hall, and residents were able to come out and see us in action and ask us questions.

Photo credit: John Buglass

These test pits have varied in their abundance of finds. However, we have found a range of artefacts. This has included late medieval pottery, parts of a possible rotary quern, and a whole host of post-medieval finds like fragments of pottery, clay pipes, building material. One of the most interesting finds to date has been a small bone domino.

Many children have descended on Bainbridge during this project to find out about archaeology and have a go at digging. The Young Archaeologists Club have come back and done another day digging. Test pits have been dug at Bainbridge Primary School by the Key Stage 2 pupils of the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools. Unfortunately it was too wet on the days Hawes primary school were going to come and dig, and we were very sad to have to cancel their outing.

Don’t forget that this Sunday we are having an Open Day. This is in celebration of the We Dig project so far as well as the Festival of Archaeology.

We Dig Community celebrates Festival of Archaeology!

We Dig Community is celebrating the Festival of Archaeology 2017. The Festival of Archaeology is a fortnight of nationwide events celebrating local archaeology that is co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology. Find out more about the festival at http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/about.

On the 23rd July, 10am till 4pm there are a variety of free activities taking place in Bainbridge. A guided walk of the archaeology of Bainbridge will leave at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, from the stocks on Bainbridge Green. This will include a rare opportunity to see the site of the Roman fort. Come along and see a test pit in action on Bainbridge green, and have a go at digging whilst you’re here. Find out how the We Dig project has progressed, including seeing finds from the excavations, and why not stop by and get a picture in our replica Roman helmet.

If you can’t wait till then, we are looking for volunteers. If you would like to get involved with ‘We Dig Community!’ and help out with this exciting archaeological project then get in touch! Contact Rebecca, on rebecca.cadbury-simmons@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652353.

Test Pits 4, 5 and 6!


The next three test pits have been excavated in Bainbridge, with lots of post-medieval finds found.


Test pit 4 was located in a garden in Bainbridge, and was dug by local volunteers. They managed to dig down to 80cm, which was not surprising in a raised bed. This is the deepest depth that we have managed to dig down to in Bainbridge so far. But this depth combined with the rain caused certain challenges as the sides kept collapsing.

Some exciting Second World War artefacts were found: a button from a Civil Defence uniform and a bullet. Civil Defence incorporated a variety of tasks in the aim to protect the public from military attacks, general emergencies, and natural or man-made disasters.

On the 20th of May the Young Rangers came to Bainbridge to excavate on the green. The session was so popular two test pits were started. The Young Rangers really enjoyed excavating, especially when they could use the hand mattocks, and were really interested in what they were finding.

Local volunteers took over in the afternoon, and due to time constraints test pit 5 had to be closed after 20cm, but test pit 6 continued down to 40cm (when natural was struck). The young rangers and local volunteers found lots more post-medieval finds, which are yet to be washed.

Test pit 5 will not be re-opened at a later date as test pit 6 showed that the natural layer was close to the surface.


We are always looking for volunteers. If you would like to get involved with ‘We Dig Community!’ and help out with this exciting archaeological project then get in touch! Contact Rebecca, on rebecca.cadbury-simmons@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652353.

The Young Archaeologists Club Needs You!

The first three test pits have been excavated in Bainbridge and with them a wave of finds has emerged. The most exciting of these finds is a piece of pottery that is probably Roman in date!

Our other finds include lots of (more modern) pottery fragments, animal bone and plenty of clay pipe stems, which are all to be expected from excavating on a village green and within people’s gardens. Unusually though, the majority of the finds that our test pits have produced are post-medieval in date. This is interesting because Bainbridge is considered to have medieval origins, and we therefore thought that we would get earlier finds . It is, of course, too early to draw any conclusions from this, but it brings up lots of questions that have yet to be answered!

This weekend our Young Archaeologists Club had their first session excavating on the green and had a great time! They all had a go at digging in the test pit, sieving the spoil for finds and washing the finds that emerged. They particularly enjoyed learning to use tools that they had not used before and guessing what the finds could be!

Unfortunately, sometimes our young archaeologists have to go to school and therefore can’t dig all the test pits themselves. If you would like to get involved with ‘We Dig Community!’ and help out with this exciting archaeological project then get in touch! Contact Rebecca, our Community Heritage Officer, on rebecca.cadbury-simmons@yorkshiredales.org.uk or 01969 652353.

What is ‘We Dig Community!’?

Bainbridge Roman Hill Fort remains

The Young Archaeologists Club, through collaboration with YDNPA’s Community Heritage Officer, are undertaking a test pitting project within Bainbridge.

This means that we are opening about 30 test pits throughout the village. The test pits are 1m2 in size and are excavated to a depth of no more than 1.2m. Each test pit will usually be excavated within two days.
This project is being generously supported by the Yorkshire Dales Sustainable Development Fund (http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/living-and-working/sdf).


Why Bainbridge?

Digging in Bainbridge is an exciting opportunity for archaeologists due to the rich and varied history that the village has to offer. The fort on the eastern edge of the village shows us that Romans lived in the area, this project lets us explore what life was like outside of the fort.

Bainbridge was also an important area during the medieval period, being the administrative centre of the Forest of Wensleydale. People travelling through the forest would be drawn to the village by the traditional evening horn blowing, and seek shelter.

Why test pitting?

Test pitting is a simple method so that everyone can get involved! This method can be easily learned and teaches real archaeological skills.

This method of archaeological investigation is also relatively low impact. The turf is removed in small squares so that it can be easily replaced once the pit has been excavated. The test pits will be dug in 10cm spits (layers) until either:

  • We hit bedrock
  • We hit 1.2m
  • We hit a ‘natural’ layer (undisturbed by humans)
  • We hit a large archaeological feature

Who can get involved?

Absolutely everyone can get involved! We are always looking for people to come along and help out with the digging, sieving and finds washing. People of any age are welcome to come along and join in, but anyone under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult at all times.

How do I get involved?

You can get involved by emailing our Community Heritage Officer, Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons on rebecca.cadbury-simmons@yorkshiredales.org.uk or by giving her a call on 01969 652353