Dig It!

Dig It! is a programme that introduces school students to Archaeology by taking part in a range of practical, challenging and fun activities that they will be unlikely to experience at school. It is a great opportunity for Y10-Y13 students to be immersed in an archaeological project, meet undergraduate students and staff, and gain valuable experience that can be used in future applications for college and university courses.

It is also a key part of our programme of Widening Participation activities, which are designed to encourage students from under-represented groups within higher education to learn more about university and consider the possibility of studying for a degree in the future.

Our Dig It! projects are funded by the Office for Fair Access, and supported by the Faculty of Arts Widening Participation Office, as an initiative to encourage students to pursue archaeology and study at university level.

You can read about our past Dig It! projects below. For more information about future Dig It! activities please contact us at archaeology@sheffield.ac.uk

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Dig It! 2017

The Firth Park Bandstand Archaeology Project returns!

In 2017, Dig it! returns to Firth Park to continue excavations on the Edwardian bandstand. Building on the work completed in 2016, we will be focusing on some of the features of the bandstand. The width of the stairs footings and the west-facing length of the bandstand foundations will be exposed, so that we can determine the size of the bandstand, and the means of approach. The platform foundations will be cleared of debris, hopefully giving us an idea what materials were used in the bandstand structure. We are hoping to collect paint samples and building material, as well as objects associated with picnicking and leisure activities in the park.

Dig it! is taking place 26 June - 7 July this year.

Follow us on social media for updates and check back here for a gallery of photos once the project is finished!





Dig It! 2016

The Firth Park Bandstand Archaeology Project

Excavations for the Dig It! project focused on the site of the demolished Edwardian bandstand in Firth Park, north Sheffield. Firth Park was established in 1875 by the then Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Albert Edward, later Edward VII, and his wife, Princess Alexandra. The bandstand was constructed in the 1900s, and demolished in the 1970s.

Take a look at the Firth Park bandstand in 1911 here (PictureSheffield)

Invited students from Widening Participation schools – Firth Park Academy, Longley Park College, and Worksop College – took part in the excavation alongside undergraduate and postgraduate student volunteers from the Department of Archaeology.

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Dr Katherine Fennelly, who directed the project, reports:

‘We carried out an initial geophysical survey which revealed the site in detail. Based on the results of the survey, we excavated a 2m x 7m trench, uncovering an area stretching from the interior of the bandstand, and the pathway outside. We found that the bandstand likely had an underground storage space (a common feature), which was filled with demolition debris, including iron railings from the outside of the structure and iron beams (painted green!).

`Knurr' ball

Artefacts recovered from the site include pottery fragments (from picnicking), milk bottles, and a 'Knurr' ball, from the popular nineteenth-century game, Knurr and Spell.

‘Sheffield City Council invited us to use the pavilion for the park’s Bowling Green as a base, and we set up a tent on-site. Through the Friends of Firth Park, we invited members of the local community to observe the excavation and contribute their memories of the bandstand. Locals who visited the site throughout the week shared their memories of the structure with us, and remembered the bandstand as a focal point of social activity.’

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Dig It! 2015

Longley Park

Participants ran their own small (1m2) archaeological excavation within Longley Park in north Sheffield. They were able to apply and develop a wide range of learning skills, boosting their academic confidence and giving them a taste of life and learning at university level. They made new discoveries for and about themselves, and in the process contributed to the understanding and conservation of Sheffield's green and open spaces.

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Dig It! 2014

Shaw Cairn

Dig It! participants took part in the excavation of a Bronze Age burial cairn at Shaw Cairn, near Stockport.

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