Archaeological dig looks for clues of Loddon’s past

Spades, sieves and metal detectors were all put to good use this weekend as part of an investigation into a market town's history.

Evidence of medieval life has been found around Loddon, but until now there has not been an opportunity to dig for historical artefacts in the centre of the town.

However, on Saturday and Sunday the enthusiasts behind the Loddon Parish Study dug five test pits as they went looking for more clues of the town's past.

The hope was to be able to find items that showed the group where previous settlements were based.

Project coordinator David Crease said: 'This is the first time we have looked in the village itself.

'We are ultimately hoping to build up a complete network of test pits through the village that produces a pattern to the outskirts where the medieval evidence was found.

'We want to know where the Saxon centre was and how far it spread, and where the medieval centre was and how far it spread. We have an idea but no physical evidence.'

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A total of five sites were chosen for the one-metre square test pits and about 40 people helped across the weekend to dig and sieve as they looked for interesting finds.

Chris Crease, who helped set up the Loddon & District History Group, said: 'It has been a brilliant weekend, everyone has enjoyed themselves, although from an archaeological point of view there has not been as much as we'd hoped for.

'This site (at Princess Cruiser's caravan field off Bridge Street) and the vicarage are close to the old Saxon market place and Saxon Manor and we hoped to find more Saxon stuff.

'We have found some little bits but nothing startling – no Saxon hoards or Roman mosaics.'

Among the finds were bones behind The Swan pub and pieces of potential Saxon pots behind the town's garden shop, the vicar's garden and the caravan field. It is hoped that next year they can apply for funding to expand the project.

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