Grant of £66,600 awarded for community archaeological digs in Boston

A cog - in medieval times, a familiar sight in Boston through its relationship with the Hanseatic League.
A cog - in medieval times, a familiar sight in Boston through its relationship with the Hanseatic League.

A grant of £66,600 has been awarded to a group of volunteers in Boston to fund archaeological digs into the town’s medieval past.

The sum has been presented to the Boston Hanse Group for a project which aims to plug a gap in our understanding of the town’s relationship with the so-called 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.

At this time, Boston’s importance as a port was second only to London.

The grant will be 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.

Professional archaeologists will lead the project, and volunteers from local communities and schools will have the opportunity to participate in the dig and to undertake training in basic archaeological techniques.

Commenting on the award, Mike Peberdy, archaeology lead for the Boston Hanse Group, said: “We’re so delighted to receive this award which will bring our communities together and further our knowledge of Boston’s history. We hope to make some exciting finds!”

Preparations will soon get underway for the project, with the dig is planned for next April.

The Boston Hanse Group began as an off-shoot of the History of Boston project in 2014 and was established as a separate non profit organisation in February 2017.

It aims to boost interest in Boston’s heritage, bring communities together by rediscovering a shared history, and promote the town’s visitor economy and the potential for new business links.