01 JunJoin the Big Dig: June Open Days

Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June 2010

10 am to 4 pm

‘Come and see history being uncovered for yourself. Or wait for months to see it on TV.’ That’s what David Crawford White, the archaeology outreach officer for the country’s biggest archaeological dig is saying.

The open days are the last chance for people to see at first hand some of the important discoveries that have been filmed as part of the forthcoming BBC TV series ‘Digging for Britain.’

There will be the opportunity to visit the excavation of an Iron Age village near Ebbsfleet that dates back almost 2,000 years. The objects found at the site show that the village was occupied in the years leading up to the landing of the Roman army at Richborough.

Tour group

As well as free guided tours of the excavation where the remains of the Iron Age houses can be seen, there will be displays and the chance to meet the archaeologists making the discoveries. Family activities include digging for and identifying finds, and making pots.

The open days are being held at the site office for the road scheme and a free shuttle bus service will run between the office and the excavation. If you plan to take the guided tour please wear stout shoes as the ground is uneven and may be muddy.

Happy tour group

Experts from the Trust for Thanet Archaeology, the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society, Kent Archaeological Society and the Cotton-Powell Museum will be on hand to give advice and information.

David Crawford-White added ‘The first Open Days were a great success. People really enjoyed the chance to visit the excavations. The TV series will be broadcast later in the summer but this is the last chance for everyone to come and see for themselves how the history of Kent is being uncovered.’

Getting to Us

The Open Days are at the Site Offices of:

VolkerFitzpatrick HOCHTIEF
Port Richborough Business Park
Ramsgate Road
Sandwich CT13 9PQ
View a map of this location

By road: the offices are off the southbound carriageway of the A256, just south of the power station. The offices are clearly signposted.

Bus: Saturday only: Stagecoach East Kent Nos 88/88a. Get off at the Richborough Pfizer Social Club. The site office is approximately 300m further south towards Sandwich on the A256. There is no bus service on Sunday.

24 MayMay Open Day a big dig success

Hundreds of people took time out to discover some of the secrets of east Kent’s past on Thanet’s big dig at the weekend.

Giving the thumbs up are 10-year-old Samuel Bordas, left, and his dad, Chris Smith, from Second Avenue, Cliftonville, who joined other volunteers working on the community excavation.

10-year-old Samuel Bordas, left, and his dad, Chris Smith, from Second Avenue, Cliftonville

Kent County Council principal archaeological officer Simon Mason said: “Everyone really enjoyed themselves. We were pleased that they had the chance to see their local heritage. I had lots of positive comments.”

The dig is the biggest in the country this year and has attracted more than 100 volunteers.

Another open day is planned in June before construction work begins in earnest on the East Kent Access road between Ramsgate and Sandwich.


14 MayChance to visit archaeological sites on Thanet’s new road

Over the weekend of the 22-23rd May, road builders VolkerFitzpatrick HOCHTIEF will be opening their site to local people for a unique opportunity to see the exciting archaeological discoveries being made on the route of Kent County Council‘s new East Kent Access Road.

Visitors will be given guided tours around two of the archaeological excavations. At Tothill Street, in Minster, there is the site of the Community Excavation. Here volunteers are helping the archaeologists to dig a medieval enclosure and the site of a Bronze Age burial mound, one of three on the site. On the second site, visitors will be able to see the remains of another Bronze Age monument and a spectacular Iron Age enclosure with ditches up to two metres deep and a unique Iron Age building within. Finds from the excavations will also be on display.

There will be free guided tours of both excavations and a regular shuttle bus will run between the two sites.

At the Community Excavation there will also be a range of family fun activities. These include pottery-making, digging for finds, the chance to handle ancient finds, and a display of some of the finds unearthed so far.

David Crawford-White, the Archaeology Outreach Officer for the new road said ‘These two days will be a rare opportunity for families and friends to visit the excavations. People will see at first hand what is being discovered. And there will be lots of activities for families can join in.’

The Trust for Thanet Archaeology, The Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society, Kent Archaeological Society and the Cotton-Powell Museum will also be on hand with advice and information.

The two days of tours start and finish at the Holiday Inn Express (Ramsgate-Minster, Tothill Street, Ramsgate in Thanet  CT12  4AU) in Tothill Street, Minster. They begin at 10am and finish at 4pm, and there is free parking at the Inn. Visitors are advised to wear stout shoes as the ground is uneven.

If the the car park at the Holiday Inn is full, additional parking will be available at the VolkerFitzpatrick Hochtief compound at Port Richborough Business Park, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich CT13 9PQ. A regular shuttle bus will run from here to the Tothill Street site.

There is an hourly train service between Ramsgate and Canterbury which stops at Minster Station (www.southeasternrailway.co.uk). From Minster Station, it is a 25 minute walk to the site. There is also a local bus service (no. 42) from King Street, Ramsgate to Minster on Saturday but not on Sunday (www.eastonways.co.uk).

The Community Excavation runs from May 10th to June 4th and is open to everyone over the age of 8 years. Download forms to volunteer. There are still a few places left for budding archaeologists of all ages.

One week of the Community Excavation is over half term so that families can come along and excavate together for one or more days.