Residents in two Boston streets are being encouraged to get involved with an upcoming archaeological dig which aims to shed light on the town’s medieval past.
People living in South Terrace and Bath Gardens are being asked to register their interest in the project.
The Big Boston Dig, as it is known, aims to plug a gap in our understanding of the town’s involvement with the Hanseatic League.
This was an alliance of traders and merchants from Northern Germany, the Baltic states and Lowland Europe, which brought great prosperity to Boston in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Boston was among the East of England ports which provided quarters for merchants and counting houses or ‘steelyards’ to facilitate fair trade.
Money from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is being used to carry out archaeological excavations to establish the exact location of Boston’s steelyard, with most evidence suggesting it was sited by the river around South Terrace and the remains of the old swimming baths.
Residents in the area – including Waterloo Housing customers – are now being offered the chance to investigate the history of where they live and do their own archaeological excavation in their gardens, with guidance and assistance from professional archaeologists. Dates still available for residents to join in the big dig are tomorrow (Thursday, May 2), and May 9, 12, 25, 26, 27 and 31, plus June 2, 6, 7 and 8.
The project is being organised by Boston Hanse Group, a group of volunteers who aim to develop tourism, commercial and business opportunities within the area.
Lydia Hendry, community archaeologist at Heritage Lincolnshire, which is running the dig on behalf of the Boston Hanse Group said : “Digging a test pit – which is what we will be doing in the area – is a fantastic way to investigate the history of an area and have a go at archaeological excavation.
“Bath Gardens was built on an area of medieval settlement, approximately 800 years ago, but its history goes back even further than that. Since then it has been a central part of Boston, a town which has won and lost its fortunes by the river.
“Archaeology can help us tell this story. Usually you will find pieces of pottery and other material or, if you’re lucky, archaeological features like rubbish pits, building postholes or wall foundations.”
For more information or to book a test pit slot, contact Lydia Hendry on 01529 461499 or alternatively email her at Lydia.firstname.lastname@example.org
* During the project (which runs until June 14), there will be two open weekends – one on May 11 and 12 and one on June 8 and 9 – where the uncovered artefacts will be on display at Boston Guildhall Museum.
Mike Peberdy, Boston Hanse Group trustee said : “This community excavation project will not only allow those taking part to learn more about the history of the local area, but also provide a sense of community cohesion.
“Previous archaeological work in South Terrace identified 13th and 14th century flood deposits so it is exciting to think what we could uncover in the spring and early summer this year.
“We would like to encourage as many local residents to get involved in this project.”