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Trowels, toothbrushes and tiles - an archaeological test pit training day in Bovey Tracey

On a beautiful, sunny day in April, members of the Moor Medieval Study Group gathered in Bovey Tracey for an archaeological test pit training event. The day, part of the Moor than meets the eye Moor Medieval project, led by Historic Buildings Officer Keith McKay, took place in a garden in Bovey Tracey, thought to contain the remains of a Medieval building.A test pit is a small-scale archaeological excavation, usually consisting of a 1m by 1m square trench. Groups of test pits are used to sample the range of artefacts present in the topsoil across an area. Each pit is dug methodically in ‘spits’ or layers around 10 cm deep with the finds from each layer being kept separate and carefully recorded. Comparing the results of multiple test pits can indicate the type of archaeology which may lie buried beneath the soil. Programmes of test pits can be combined with historical research or different types of field survey to provide a powerful tool for the investigation of the past enabling archaeologists and historians to understand the development of sites, hone research questions and target future work more effectively. Dr Lee Bray, National Park archaeologist started the day’s training by explaining how to set up a test pit, remove and store turf, and excavate in spits. Due to the large group size, four test pits were opened in various locations around the garden and orchard and digging began in earnest.

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Step back in time

With the help of a Parishscapes grant the community of Throwleigh are celebrating Miss Varwells Throwleigh with the production of a play based on her book.In 1909 two unmarried sisters, Emmie and Michael Varwell, arrived to set up home in Throwleigh where they were to spend the rest of their lives.In 1938 one of them, Emmie, wrote a book, ‘Throwleigh, The Story of a Dartmoor Village.’ In it she describes her love for both the landscape and the history of the area, but especially for the village people that she had known and the stories that they had told her, both of the recent past and of long-ago. We meet key ‘characters,’ such as the influential Rector and the ‘jack of all trades’ blacksmith; the last of the Devon wrestlers and an old lady whose family’s memories stretch back as far as the English Civil War. Along with Emmie Varwell, we enjoy the village celebrations, the stories that are told, the songs that are sung and we share her sadness as an older generation departs.In March 2017, Emmie and Michael Varwell will return to Throwleigh. For just three evenings they will tell us their stories of Throwleigh; the old songs will be sung once more and, via pictures from the Throwleigh Archive, we will see the village that Emmie Varwell knew, meet the characters that filled her world and re-create the place that she so loved.Frequently moving, often hilarious and always fascinating,The Miss Varwells Throwleigh will be a unique village event not to be missed.The production will take place on 23, 24, 25 March 2017 at 7.30pm in Throwleigh Village Hall. Tickets are £10 including wine and refreshments (£5 under 18) Tel: 01647 231051 for more details or visit the website www.throwleigh.org

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Unveiling the Bronze Age landscape of the High Moor and Forests

The project aims to improve understanding of and to promote the internationally important Bronze Age landscape on Dartmoor.

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Last update: 20 Mar 2017 3:22pm