Lottery grant of £56,000 to dig up town’s past

Archaeologists from Old Sleaford Heritage Group digging a test pit at the site in Sleaford. EMN-150821-162914001
Archaeologists from Old Sleaford Heritage Group digging a test pit at the site in Sleaford. EMN-150821-162914001

An undeveloped piece of land off Boston Road in Sleaford will soon reveal its archaeological secrets thanks to a £56,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The grant will fund an excavation and a two-year programme of research into a site at Old Place which has played a key role in the history of Old Sleaford.

Last year members of Old Sleaford Heritage Group (OSHG) opened up a trench to locate the site of an old fountain known to be on the land prior to the 1980s redevelopment of the area, but when they dug deeper they uncovered what they now know to be an undisturbed Roman site.

“This part of Old Sleaford is rich in evidence of Iron Age, Roman and later occupation and this bit of land is one of the last areas available for excavation,” said OSHG’s chairman Dale Trimble.

“Test pits were dug in May and revealed both Roman and Medieval finds.

“Now we have funding in place, thanks to the HLF, we hope to start excavating in late October and expect to be on site for about two weeks.”

The HLF grant will pay for professional archaeologists to work alongside the group’s in-house experts and will help with the procurement of essential tools and equipment for the volunteer members of the team. A rented unit at Navigation Yard will act as the dig’s headquarters and workshop, where finds will be stored and displayed.

“We intend to project manage the dig ourselves and aim to train our volunteers in all aspects of the process involved in an excavation.

“We are a community group who want, at every stage of the project, as much involvement as possible by our members and other like-minded groups,” added Mr Trimble.

“We are relying on them to help at every stage of the process, from this early research and organising phase through to the dig itself and on to the post-activity writing and reporting on the project that will be added to documentation already in existence.”

Vanessa Harbar, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund in the East Midlands, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to uncover what lies buried in the grounds of Old Place and what these finds may be able to tell us about the history of the area.

“We particularly applaud efforts to involve as many people as possible in archaeological activities and encourage everyone with an interest to get involved.”