In 2017 and 2018, Wessex Archaeology carried out excavations on behalf of Willmott Dixon and Bloor Homes ahead of construction work for a Primary School and housing development at Yatton, Somerset. Discoveries at the site included a trackway in use during the Iron Age and Romano-British time periods.
Wessex Archaeology’s Community Engagement Team, supported by colleagues from across the organisation, held a Heritage Open Day in September 2019 to share the findings from the excavations with the public.
Local councillors and members of local history societies were invited to put questions to an expert panel which included members of Wessex Archaeology’s digging team, alongside burial, finds and environmental specialists.
In addition to this seated panel discussion, Wessex Archaeology facilitated a family friendly drop-in session including displays and hands-on activities relating to the archaeology of the village, including:
- Handling artefacts from the excavation itself
- A Virtual Reality experience of a reconstructed Roman villa
- Specialists to answer questions
- 3D reconstruction of a Ewert Park style sword
- 3D reconstructions of pottery, based on sherds recovered from the excavation.
Cat Lodge, the County Archaeologist for Bath and Northeast Somerset, said: ‘Engagement with communities is fundamental when sharing information about important archaeological discoveries, especially with younger generations…’
‘It’s great to be involved with sessions like the one recently run by Wessex Archaeology as part of their engagement linked to the investigations at Yatton. The school children really engaged with the different activities and were interested in how the discoveries from the North End excavations tied into their learning and the landscape around them.
‘Communities are genuinely interested in the archaeology and history of the places they live, and events such as this provide a great opportunity to engage with a physical link to their past.’
The community exhibition was put on display for a further month in the Yatton Library and Children’s Centre.