THE chance to delve into the hidden past of the final resting place of King Alfred the Great is being offered next week.
Volunteers are wanted for Hyde900's spring community dig at King Alfred Terrace, Hyde, Winchester from April 27-30
Hyde900 is inviting local residents and amateur archaeology enthusiasts to take part in a community excavation.
No previous experience is required and volunteers can sign up for as little as a single session of two hours. There will also be an Open Day for the site on Sunday April 30 to allow visitors to see at first hand what the dig has revealed.
David Spurling, Hyde900 project co-ordinator, said: “This is the second occasion within the past nine months on which we will be digging on this site which covers the south side of Hyde Abbey.
“Last autumn our volunteers discovered the south transept of the abbey church. This year we are confident that we will discover more about the buildings on the southern side of the abbey precincts. Previous finds from this immediate area have included medieval and later pottery, Norman and late medieval stonework and glazed encaustic tiles - but who knows what we might find this year.”
With the support of supervisors from WARG (Winchester Archaeological Rescue Group) who provide the training there will be opportunities for volunteers to experience all stages of the dig – digging, sieving, finds processing and recording. There will also be academic back-up provided by David Ashby of the University of Winchester, the Advisor to the Dig, and Dr John Crook, consultant archaeologist to Winchester Cathedral.
A particularly exciting innovation this year will be the filming of the event and its 'narrow-casting' via the Hyde900 website. “The cameras will be there throughout the dig to record the highs and lows of the excavation and to enable the wider public to track its progress,” said Mr Spurling.
The dig follows on from the recent discovery of a mason's mark within the Hyde Abbey precincts during the St Bede School Archaeology Day when a team from Hyde900 supported by members of WARG introduced 90 children from Year 5 to the history and lay-out of the abbey.
Mr Spurling added: “Hyde is starting to appreciate the richness of the Hyde Abbey story and how much there is still to be discovered. We will go on regardless of rain or sunshine."
The dig is supported by Winchester City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hampshire Cultural Trust, Belgarum Estate Agents and Adam Architecture.
To book sessions as a dig volunteer go to the Hyde900 website www.hyde900.org.uk or call Susan Jones on 01962 864487. A promotional trailer is now available on the website to introduce the dig and feature interviews with the householders whose gardens are being excavated.
+ two photographs from the Hyde900 Community Excavation 2016