Community archaeology event unearths Heckington’s history with help of Time Team professor

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. L-R Oskar Steadman 10, Mark Steadman, Harry Steadman 12, Emily Steadman 8, digging in their garden on Church Street. EMN-160725-173016001
Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. L-R Oskar Steadman 10, Mark Steadman, Harry Steadman 12, Emily Steadman 8, digging in their garden on Church Street. EMN-160725-173016001

Heckington-based Heritage Lincolnshire has been running a community archaeology project in the village to mark its 25th anniversary.

The charity moved into the converted Heckington National School 24 years ago and a community project at the weekend saw 12 small, metre-square test pits excavated in back gardens across the village as a way to find out more about its long history.

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Margaret and Peter Green digging in Margaret's sister's garden, on Church Street. EMN-160725-172949001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Margaret and Peter Green digging in Margaret's sister's garden, on Church Street. EMN-160725-172949001

Dr Ian Marshman, from Heritage Lincolnshire, said: “Until now there has been very little excavation within the historic core of Heckington, with most work focusing in the fields around it, either in advance of new housing estates being built or as a result of fieldwalking. This means we don’t know much about the origin of the village itself, or how it has changed over time.

“By working with the community to place test pits in private gardens we’re able to dig where no one has dug before.”

The first to get digging were Years 3 and 4 pupils at Heckington Primary School who worked with experts before the end of term on the school playing field, revealing a range of finds suggesting the site of a former blacksmiths on Cowgate.

The test pit weekend itself saw 43 people digging in 11 back gardens spread across the village under the supervision of archaeologists.

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Des and Marian Johnson in their garden on Church Street. EMN-160725-173002001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Des and Marian Johnson in their garden on Church Street. EMN-160725-173002001

Star finds included Victorian glass bottles, a 17th century tobacco pipe, medieval window glass, musket balls, and a single sherd of 2,000 year old Roman pottery.

On Sunday afternoon volunteers were joined by Prof Carenza Lewis, of Channel 4’s Time Team, who toured the gardens and talked to villagers about their finds.

Liz Bates, chief executive of Heritage Lincolnshire said: “This community project has been an excellent way of involving local people in our work and it has been fantastic to see how much enthusiasm and interest there has been.”

Finds will be on display at the Heckington Show.

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Education and Outreach Officer, Ian Marshman looking at findings from Pam Jones'garden. EMN-160725-172926001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Education and Outreach Officer, Ian Marshman looking at findings from Pam Jones'garden. EMN-160725-172926001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Ted Pitman 15 and Molly Velinsky 11. EMN-160725-173030001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. Ted Pitman 15 and Molly Velinsky 11. EMN-160725-173030001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. L-R Kate Pitman and Julie Hudson digging at Kate's house on Church Street. EMN-160725-173045001

Heckington Community Archaeology weekend with Heritage Lincs. L-R Kate Pitman and Julie Hudson digging at Kate's house on Church Street. EMN-160725-173045001