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Dig for Shakespeare

I am very pleased to be involved as a volunteer Archaeologist for The Dig at New Place. Having started on the 27th March, and now half way through, it is interesting to see how much progress has been made.

What have I learned?  Patience is essential as whilst hoping for a “find” there is an awful lot of soil to remove whilst keeping a watchful eye for that elusive piece of treasure – hopefully with William Shakespeare’s initials on!

Archaeology is like a jig-saw, pieces of pottery, glass, leather, bone, iron nails, shells, all telling a story of the occupiers since the site was used for housing.  For photographs of the Dig visit
www.digforshakespeare.com.

It is interesting to meet the other volunteers – some local, some who come at weekends from further afield, who want to experience a dig, combined with their interest in Shakespeare. For me it is a unique experience scrambling around the remains of Shakespeare’s final home in Stratford.

The archaeologists from Birmingham University have been great tutors, explaining the significance of the features and layers uncovered which makes the hard work worthwhile.

Now we have the sieving in the Great Garden which is an opportunity for visitors to get hands on experience and be involved.

The dig will finish at the end of October and it is possible that
depending on funding will resume next year. If so, I will be definitely be back!

The Birthplace Trust has been very supportive and appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts which combined with working in a beautiful setting has made it so enjoyable.

If you have not yet visited New Place, please do, there is an exhibition of finds and a chance to speak to the archaeologists.

Susan Clark
September 2010

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