I have always been interested in archaeology because when I was small, my dad used to take my twin sister and I out for walks in the fields, looking for interesting bits of pottery. My dad has found lots of different things in the fields around Harthill. This is what made me decide to help out at our village community dig

When I arrived on the site to help out, I started with setting up our ‘base camp’ – I helped carry chairs and tables.

About 8.30 am Wessex Archaeology staff started to arrive at the site, they were all lovely and very talkative and friendly. 

My dad took them to the site and they decided where they would dig different trenches. In no time at all they had cleared the brambles and Hans and Nick showed me and another volunteer, Ted, how to set out a trench utilising Pythagoras theorem. This was great fun and really interesting to use in a real situation not just in a maths lesson. 

Kate, who is one of the Wessex archaeologists, explained to me why they put the trenches where they did, and what kind of things they were looking for when they are digging. She also told me why they keep the edges of the trenches straight when and why they take lots of photos. 

I was shown how to use different equipment to find different objects including a metal detector to look for any missed objects in the spoil heaps. There is so much more to archaeology than what I really thought!  

The second day I was put into another trench with some different members of the Wessex Archaeology staff. One of the archaeologists, Sabrina explained why they started to dig in the area where their trench was and what they had found when they had been digging. There was lots of pottery and a clay pipe bowl. 

Sabrina also told me why they record everything and why they use different numbers for different parts of the trench. I have learned so much over the four days that I have been helping out at the community dig in Harthill and the dig has made me even more interested in archaeology than I was before.

Setting out a trench Recording a trench The Harthill Community Project team

Photographs courtesy of Paul Rowland


Wessex Archaeology staff are really good at explaining everything in detail. I didn’t know that there was so much that went into archaeology, but there is. I have learnt lots over the days and it has been great fun getting to know Wessex Archaeology staff and the other volunteers from the village that have been helping out too. 

By Olivia Rowland. Age 16.