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Updated: Aug 24, 2021

A Time Team-style Big Dig is underway in Scarborough where dozens of trenches are being opened up in the Old Town to try and find out about past settlers - including the Romans and Vikings - over the weekend.

Arqueólogos buscam por objetos vikings e romanos em Scarborough, Inglaterra
A fragment of 800-year-old Scarborough ware found in a dig ahead of this weekend's Big Dig Pic: Gary Longbottom
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A preliminary dig at Phonenix Court Hotel on Castle Road yielded an amazing range of finds to the delight of owners Mike and Donna Buttery - from a Neolithic flint arrowhead, four bucketfuls of medieval glazed ridge tiles and a fragment of a Scarborough Ware face jug, around 800 years old.

The hub for the dig is at the Market Hall where from Friday to Sunday there are free activities and hands-on experience for children to delve into the history of the resort’s past.

Visitors will have the opportunity to handle genuine objects that tell a story about the past, and even dress up as a Roman.

Reproduction Scarborough Ware Knight Jug Picture: John Oxley

There will also be an opportunity to play a Minecraft Archaeological Adventure planned and designed by Krash Labs in Scarborough.

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A large proportion of the 25 dig sites are on land owned by social housing provider, Beyond Housing, and are on semi-public open space, which there hasn't been much previous delving for archaeology. Around 35 volunteers are taking part in the dig, with organisers hoping people who live in the flats take part.

John Oxley, co-founder of organiser Big Ideas By The Sea, said they hoped to find more of the medieval Scarborough Ware pottery, including the intricate Knight ware jugs - which would have once been brought by a knight to grace his table, and provide a visual stimulus for his own tales of chivalry.

The jugs, which would have been very expensive, he explains, "fit into the whole narrative of chivalry", but were created prior to the written Arthurian legends.

Big Dig trench at the Phoenix Court Hotel Picture: John Oxley
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"The great thing about medieval life was people liked to tell stories, and the person who brought it could put it on his table.

"He himself would have been a knight and ridden on horseback and dressed like that and he would have used it as a focal point for stories about his adventures."

The jugs were made in pottery workshops which were located along Castle Road and Auborough Street, where some of the trenches are going in.

The trenches are being dug to 1m deep, but they are still hoping to find traces of Roman and Viking activity, which would normally be buried much deeper, as well as 10th and 11th century pottery, which may have been brought to the surface by people digging rubbish pits in the past and then spreading the material round their gardens.

The Scarborough dig is looking for evidence of Roman and Viking activity; pic is of reproduction Roman mortaria Picture: John Oxley

"We know there is likely to be Roman and Viking activity in the Old Town area but finding it is very difficult because it is buried so deep," said Mr Oxley.

The Big Dig is funded by Anglo American.

General Manager External Affairs for Anglo American Crop Nutrients Matt Parsons said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural Big Dig event in Scarborough. We are committed to taking an active and positive role in our local communities.

"Supporting the Big Dig event will hopefully inspire local people to take an interest in the archaeological history of the town, which is hugely important.”

There will be several bookable guided tours of the public trenches: Saturday 11am, 1pm and 3pm, Sunday 11am and 1pm.

To book please visit the Big Ideas By The Sea Eventbrite page

SOURCE: Yorkshire Post

Wood, Alexandra. “Neolithic arrowhead and part of medieval 'face' jug found as part of Time Team-style Big Dig in Scarborough”. Yorkshire Post. Yorkshire. 23 jul. 2021. 23 jul. 2021. <>.

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