Bones and 12th century pottery unearthed in Boston - along with evidence of an historic flood

A sheep's jawbone was among the other bones unearthed during the 'big dig'.
A sheep's jawbone was among the other bones unearthed during the 'big dig'.

Medieval pottery and bone fragments were among the items unearthed by a ‘big dig’ programme in Boston - which saw 500 locals take part.

Results from Boston Hanse Group’s programme of archaeological excavations around the town have now come to an end - with the results presented at the Guidhall Museum.

A fragment of a green-glazed pouring bowl from the 12th-13th century.

A fragment of a green-glazed pouring bowl from the 12th-13th century.

The project, supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, aimed to unearth new clues about the town’s medieval past. This focussed on links to the Hanseatic League – an alliance of traders and merchants in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The main aim was to establish the location of Boston’s old warehouse - the trade from which helped the town to become very wealthy. Evidence suggested it was sited by the river around South Terrace and Bath Gardens.

A team of archaeologists and volunteers dug and scraped away at the earth for several weeks. Although they didn’t find the exact location of the warehouse, they did uncover artefacts which reveal more about the area’s history - including evidence of a previous flood across the town.

Boston Hanse Group trustee Maggie Peberdy explained: “We didn’t find the Hanse warehouse, Bath gardens was built in 1995 on top of it, but still learned much from the Big Dig as we dug down through time - starting with medicine bottles from the old Boston General Hospital built there in the 1870s.”

Pottery fragments found during the 'big dig' programme in Boston.

Pottery fragments found during the 'big dig' programme in Boston.

The team also found butchered cattle bones, medieval greenware, striped pottery of possible French origin, tiling fragments and limestone cut blocks, indicating buildings once stood at the site.

Maggie added: “By week four we discovered a large, deep layer of sand and silt, meaning that extensive flooding had occurred.”

More than 60 people, including Boston Mayor, Coun Anton Dani, visited the Guildhall recently to celebrate the success of the Big Dig and to see the finds on display.

Lead archaeologist Lydia Hendry explained the significance of the artefacts - which will now go to Lincoln to be catalogued, before the best are returned to the Guildhall along with the final reports.

School children were among those who got involved in the 'big dig' excavations.

School children were among those who got involved in the 'big dig' excavations.

Two open weekends were also held as part on the big dig - with fun medieval events for local families to enjoy.

Maggie Peberdy concluded: “Professional archaeologists led the Big Dig and 500 local people, including pupils from seven schools and local cub scouts, took part with great enthusiasm.

“The archaeologists said they had never encountered such huge community enthusiasm before - and the schools reported that the children were thrilled to be able to do real archaeology.”