Medieval homes in village field

Children at the dig
Children at the dig

Evidence of Medieval buildings have been found under a field.

An archaeological dig was held at St Mary’s Field in Gamlingay to check for items of historical interest before the area is turned into a cemetery.

The houses’ post holes were found under the demolition rubble of 17th to 19th century buildings. They are believed to date from 1350 to 1500 with some still standing in 1603, when a map was produced.

Project manager Stephen Macaulay from Cambridge based Oxford Archaeology East said: “We were very keen and happy for the local people to join in the dig and be shown what was going on and where suitable help out a bit.

“We found prehistoric stone tools and remains of actual Medieval buildings towards the north and west of the site, towards the church.

“They would have been wooden buildings with wattle and daub and thatched roofs.

“Everything’s rotted away leaving indentations.”

Five-year-old Hayden Leete from Sandy was thrilled to find a Bronze Age thumb scraper.

It would have been held in the fingers and used as a sharp edge to work on animal products such as leather. A stray find, it would not have originated on the site but it probably drifted down the brook from a nearby settlement.

Hayden’s mother, Hannah Leete, said: “Hayden was delighted by the discovery. He shared this news with his class along with some Medieval roof tile found at the dig as his topic this term is about buildings.

“He has been interested in archaeology for a few months now. He regularly plays at being an archaeologist in the garden and even his birthday party in July was themed around archaeology!

“Seeing the dig in action has fuelled his interest further. He’s very enthusiastic.”

The dig was run in conjunction with Jigsaw Cambridgeshire and Gamlingay Archaeology Group (GamArch) at the request of Gamlingay Parish Council. The findings will not affect the field’s future as a cemetery.