Armchair archaeologists will soon have the excitement of excavating Iron Age and Roman remains on the biggest open-area excavation the district has seen for many years. Amateurs of all ages are being invited to peel back the centuries over a 125 x 75 metre area of downland between Chichester and Petworth for the month-long dig at Selhurst Park.
Next month’s dig is the first joint venture between the newly-launched independent Volunteer Archaeology Projects Trust and Chichester District Council, whose professional archaeologists will run the dig, helped by experienced members of Chichester District Archaeology Society (CDAS).
Digs in 2005 and 2006 found an enclosure with pottery from the Iron Age and further trial trenches revealed Romano-British pot sherds. [ pp27-29]
Other artefacts found in the valley include a broken arm from a large bronze statue and a rare Gallic gold coin minted to fund the war against Caesar in 50 BC.
Chichester District Council’s Archaeologist James Kenny welcomed the new trust and urged community support.
“The council cannot fund large- scale digs, but these big, open-area digs give us much information,” he said.
“Getting all age groups closely involved and keen to learn more is great. Perhaps we can return to the golden days of community archaeology inspired by the late Alec Down and his friends.”
Archaeologist George Anelay, who leads the dig, said four years of excavations in the dry valley between Long Down and Halnaker Hill were planned, to probe late prehistoric and Roman settlement patterns and the early post-Roman period.
Finds will be washed and displayed and an expert will demonstrate ancient technologies.
Update to Amlwch post.