Can you dig it?

21 July 2014


Last week Greenwich Park played host to a bunch of enthusiastic amateur archaeologists all volunteering their time on an exploratory dig to uncover the remains of the Old Keeper’s Cottage.

The Old Keepers Cottage, or Lodge, stood close to Queen Elizabeth’s Oak, near the centre of what is perhaps the most historic of all the Royal Parks - Greenwich Park - but was demolished in 1853. The Royal Parks decided that it was time to uncover the past and learn more about the wonderful history of the park.

After the geo-physical report didn’t tell the professional archaeologists as much as they would have liked, they decided to dig a number of trenches dotted around the area that the original building was plotted on old maps. Volunteers, including three of us, were assigned a trench at the bottom of the site and issued with gloves, spades and trowels.

Pottery found during archaeological dig in Greenwich ParkIncredibly surprised at our own strength we managed to dig up the trench within an hour and then got straight to the exciting bit – using our trowels to see what treasure we could find. We were in luck and found lots of evidence of brickwork straight away, which was a relief to the archaeologists leading the dig as it meant we were digging in the right spot. The most exciting finds were a large piece of curved tile, probably from the roof of the building and lots of broken creamer pottery dated from around 1840.

As always, we had a great time getting our hands dirty, but it was thanks to your generous support that we're thrilled to be able to help fund this project, together with The Royal Parks, English Heritage, and the Friends of Greenwich Park.

This is a three-year community project which incudes a volunteer programme and school workshops. You can also keep up to date on progress of this dig on The Royal Parks website.

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