Events Blog

Events

Buckler's Hard - Day 12

Today was the final day on site at Buckler's Hard. Matt and I had an early start so we could get the last bits of recording done before Rob the machine driver arrived to backfill. The tide was extremely low when we arrived and we could see the slipway running almost into the centre of the river.

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Once we were happy that we had all the information we needed Rob started backfilling the main trenches. This not only stops anyone hurting themselves by falling into any of excavations it will also help protect what we have found.

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However we have left the areas we cleared around the slipway open. It is hoped that more of the slipway can be cleared back. This will  stop the grass and vegetation from damaging the concrete and also allow it to be part of the visitor's experience to Buckler's Hard. A vivid reminder of the history of the site in WWII and the 1950's.

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At Wessex Archaeology we would like to say a big thank you to the staff at Buckler's Hard, all the volunteers and to James Brown from the New Forest Remembers project who made this an enjoyable and exciting dig.

Buckler's Hard - Day 11

Today was the last day of digging on site and the last day with the volunteers. It was all hands to the pump (so to speak) to measure, record and interpret what we have carefully revealed over the last seven days.

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However once this work was done it was time to celebrate a job well done with all the volunteers who have been on site over the last week. Buckler's Hard cafe prepared a fabulous cream tea which was a great way to end the dig.

In many ways the the most crucial part of the process is the records we leave behind us when the excavation is finished. While this is the end of the project for the all the volunteers; for me and Matt this is the beginning of the what is called the post-excavation stage. There is still lots of work to be done, strating with carefully cataloguing all the finds. All the information gathered from the excavation will be brought together into a report.

Tomorrow we are back on site to tie up all the loose ends and supervise the backfilling of the trenches.

Buckler's Hard - Day 10

Today was an exceptionally beautiful day at Beaulieu with plenty of traffic in the river as well as lots of visitors keen to see what we had found.

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More 'celebrity'  guests over the course of the dig have included Lord Montagu and Dan Snow. While Mary Montagu has herself been a keen and enthusiastic digger.

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We started the careful process of hand planning the detail of what we have found in Trench 1. This low-tech but time consuming process will be teamed up with more hi-tech GPS surveying in order to build up a location plan of what we found on site.  Meanwhile others were busy in Trench 2, hurrying to finish digging the last few centimetres and making sure it was all ready to photograph.

594 End of day and still smiling!

With tomorrow the last day on site with the volunteers the focus will very much be making sure the detail of what we have uncovered over the days is documented through photographs, drawings and record sheets.

This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 9

Another beautiful day at Buckler's Hard and an ideal spot to dig right by the busy river. Today we were visited by the former harbourmaster Bill Grindley who can remember many of the WWII buildings on the site and also what happened to the site in the post-war years. We even realised that we had found his initials in the concrete where they had extended the top of the slipway after the war.

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Excavations in Trench 1 are now drawing to a close in preparation for recording it tomorrow.

589 Here the extent of the planking has been exposed and cleaned up

However there is still plenty of digging to be done in Trench 2 and around the slipway before the dig comes to an end.

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We are also starting to record and catalogue all the finds we have discovered - no small task!

This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 8

Today's entry was written by our work experience student Daisy.

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Day 8 at Buckler’s Hard, and today with the sun shining down on us for most of the day, we continued our good progress and dug deeper into the trenches to reveal the layers below. In the trenches showing the slipway we discovered the cables which may once have been used to haul the ships up onto the land, as well as some scrap metal and the stem of a clay pipe and a blue marble, perhaps for when the shipbuilders wanted to take a break and indulge in a game of marbles.

584 In this slot between the rails of the slipway we found the intact steel ropes or hawsers

We were able to clean and reveal a previously obscured part of the slipway immediately before the river. We also set to work cleaning and defining yet more of the concrete platform.

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This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 7

Day 7 at Buckler's Hard and we are making good progress. Two of the trenches have been cleaned up and photographed so we were able to start digging deeper in some areas to see what is in the layers below.

578 Trench 2 looking spick and span!

Excavation in Trench 1 soon uncovered some planks laid flat in front of the concrete, tomorrow we hope to uncover more to try and discover whether they are earlier than the hard-standing.

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Two of the volunteers also tried their hand at some recording, painstakingly drawing the detail in one of the test pits and learning the joys and frustrations of using a planning frame.

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This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 6

 Wendy and Avril wrote today's Buckler's Hard blog.

First job today –bailing out yesterday’s waterfall - buckets and sponges at the ready. Very grateful for today’s sunshine which helped to dry things out, including the masses of iron and copper nails  - enough to open our own hardware store.

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An interesting talk from Naomi at lunch break on a variety of finds.

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A most enjoyable day in a beautiful location.

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This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 5

Day 5 at Buckler's Hard and the rain has definitely set in. Still all our volunteers carried bravely on in defiance of increasingly soggy and muddy trenches.

Work in the trench adjacent to the WWII slipway is exposing quite a lot of timbers that may have been boat supports. Its painstaking and fiddly work to careful expose the wood; not helped by some heavy downpours.

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Over the last few days we have done a lot of work cleaning up and digging along the slipway itself. The big discovery today was uncovering an in situ roller that had been previously obscured by vegetation and a pile of concrete.

The finds have continued thick and fast mostly nails, screws and bolts but also a few more unusual items like the tiny and delicate pieces of a light bulb.

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Once again remember you can try and spot us on the web camera a:

http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/visiting/see-the-views/bucklers-hard-new-cam

This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Days 3 and 4

This weekend was Days 3 and 4 of our dig at Buckler's Hard and the first two days with the volunteers. Saturday's weather was not ideal, starting with some heavy rain but everyone battled through to make good progress digging through some back breaking material.

Today the sun shone down on us and we were able to uncover a concrete floor or hard standing in Trench 1 the position of which seems to tie in with the WWII activity.567

Meanwhile at the top of the slipway we were starting to uncover the full extent of the concrete platform at the summit, which presumably supported the winch mechanism.

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We even made it onto the local BBC news website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-18833901) while James from the New Forest team was interviewed on Radio Solent about the project.

This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

Buckler's Hard - Day 2

Today at Buckler's Hard we had visits from two of the local schools who tried their hand at digging test pits. With 128 kids in total it was a busy day for the archaeologists but the children all seemed to enjoy finding nails and fragments of pottery and brick as well as numerous bits of clay pigeon.564 In addition to the test pitting, members of the New Forest Park team led a session looking at some local finds and a walk through the woods with the children. Luckily the weather stayed fine, though the children came prepared in wellies and raincoats.

Unfortunately that can't be said for yesterday evening when there was a fair downpour leaving the trenches looking a little waterlogged this morning. Hopefully we will be able to dry them out over the next few days or someone might have to be digging with a snorkel.565 Trench 2 looking a little wet!

Tomorrow the first of the volunteers will arrive to start unpicking the history of Buckler's Hard.

This is a Festival of British Archaeology Event funded by the New Forest Park Authority as part of their World War II Remembers Project. To find out how you can visit the dig, read our event webpages http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/beaulieu-estate/new-forest-national-park.

Keep checking this events blog to find out what we discover over the Festival of British Archaeology (July 14th to July 22nd).

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