All Our Stories Dig

A short, but impressive film of the community dig project, produced by Koan Arts, including interviews with participants was also shown and rekindled the enthusiasm to participate in future projects.
To view this click here:- Hoxne Community Dig Project Film→

Test Pit Dig Schedule for 2013/2014

  • 21st May - A preliminary dig by the Hoxne school children on the village green. For further details→
  • 18th June - A meetimg and talk at St. Edmund's Hall where volunteers will need to sign up - details of how to dig will be circulated.. For further details→
  • 6th-8th July - Excavation of test pits. For a timetable of events click here
  • For a guide on How to Excavate an Archaeological Test Pit click here
  • Ceramics workshop - Thursday, 24th October 2013.
    Chris Johnson led a ceramics workshop, with an illustrated talk about ceramics identification from Roman times through to Victorian times, explaining how processes and materials changed through the ages. He had many examples of pottery and clay pipes for the audience to inspect closely and ask questions about. The workshop was a useful adjunct to the test pit event and helped individuals to identify the artefacts found in their pit. It will also help the identifying of finds when field walking.
  • Autumn - Field walking event - 5th & 7th December 2013 - Regretably the field walking has been cancelled due to ground conditions. We may be able to set a date next year - Watch this space.
  • 16th February 2014 Celebration meeting
    Celebration Poster

16th February 2014 Celebration meeting

Nearly 70 Hoxne villagers celebrated the completion of the Heritage lottery-funded 'Story of Hoxne' project, led by the Hoxne Heritage Group and supported by Suffolk County Council Archaeology Services and the University of East Anglia Ideas Bank.

Jo Caruth

Jo Caruth, Senior Project Officer from SCCAS, gave an overview of the test-pitting event held in Hoxne in July, indicating how the analysis of the finds informed evidence of earlier medieval settlement in the village. She also indicated that the exercise revealed potential for further research especially to investigate if there was evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area. Richenda Goffin, SCCAS finds expert was also present to discuss and demonstrate how artefacts were identified and dated. A large selection of analysed artefacts from the community dig was also exhibited.

Richenda Goffin with finds

The schoolchildren who were involved in excavation of test pits on the village green last May had constructed a wonderful mosaic of King Edmund hiding under the Goldbrook Bridge, using post-medieval ceramics, bones and clay pipes that had been found.

School Mosaic

A delicious afternoon tea was enjoyed by all with a background of projected photographs taken throughout the project by Obelon Arts which brought back memories of the hottest weekend of 2013! A short, but impressive film of the community dig project, produced by Koan Arts, including interviews with participants was also shown and rekindled the enthusiasm to participate in future projects.
To view this click here:- Hoxne Community Dig Project Film→

Hoxne Community Dig Results

No gold hoard this time but Hoxne Community Dig was a huge success!
Over the weekend the sun was shining and temperatures soared to around 30C - not the ideal conditions for hard work and digging one metre - deep holes. Nevertheless the villagers of Hoxne turned out in force over three days to participate in The Story of Hoxne community dig - a Heritage Lottery funded project, part of the All Our Stories programme. The project, led by the Hoxne Heritage Group with the expert support and supervision from Suffolk County Council Archaeological Services, aimed to involve the community in researching the development and continuity of settlement in the village and to raise awareness and appreciation of its heritage to protect it for future generations.

Test pits were excavated in 28 garden locations throughout Hoxne and were the subject of great interest to a steady stream of visitors, including the media, cyclists and hikers from outside the village. Additional interest and excitement was elicited by Eric Lawes, the discoverer of the famous Hoxne Hoard of Roman gold, who checked the test pits and spoil heaps with his metal detector. Unfortunately, no gold was found this time but many artefacts of interest, some dating back to the 12th and 13th Century, were found. Sherds of medieval pottery were found at a number of locations. There were also a few examples of archaeological interest indicating earlier buildings or tracks had existed formerly. Further analysis of the finds, and the interpretation of their significance to the development of the village, is ongoing and will be reported back from SCCAS in due course.

The event was a huge success, not only as a heritage project but also in community bonding. One resident, Richard Giffin, who has lived in the village for less than a year, said "This has been a fantastic weekend - I have spoken to so many villagers that I hadn't met before and we have had several neighbours pop around to help with our test pit. There has been some great camaraderie with light-hearted rivalry between pit teams to see who had found the most significant artefacts or dug the deepest hole."

Some pictures of the Dig

There were some extra helpers on the day!

Pit 5

Pit 33

The young and the not so young all got involved!


Including Eric Lawes, who found the Hoxne Hoard, and Mike Greatbatch checking spoil heaps with their metal detectors. At the Swan Inn they found a musket ball which had been missed by the sieving.

Pit 5

The weekend of the dig was very hot, making the ground in some pits rather hard. Some drastic measures had to be taken! Probably not recommended by the archaeologists!

Pit 5

There were some interesting finds. The Suffolk County Council's Archaeological finds expert, Richenda Goffin, started to examine them at the village hall, although most of them were taken away for further investigation.


Pit 4

Pit 26

Introduction to Test Pit Results

The results from the test pitting are presented in the table below, with links to each test pit.

A brief description of each property and its known historical background/location has been provided to give context to the test pit results and to perhaps provide a starting point for owners to carry out their own research. The following sources have been used throughout:

  • Digital extracts of mapping held by SCCAS (see Bibliography below).
    • 1619, Map of 'Hoxon Newe Park'
    • 1757, Map of estate of Lord Maynard in Hoxne, Chickering, Denham, Eye and Wetheringsett by Thomas Skynner.
    • 1757, Volume of Hoxne Estate Maps, Thomas Skynner
    • 1843, Hoxne tithe map and apportionment
    • 1885/1886, First Edition Ordnance Survey 1:2500
    • 1904, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 1:2500
  • National Heritage List for England - English Heritage database of Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings etc.
  • Suffolk Historic Environment Record.

A short description of the pit is then provided, taken from the individual records provided by the participants and/or notes by SCCAS staff, followed by a summary statement of the finds collected and a discussion of the individual pit results.

Click here for the Full Dig Report and Summary.

For an overall summary of the finds assemblage, and the test pitting project as a whole, see below the Test Pit Results table.

Test Pit Results

Test Pit Number Address Link
1 Waveney Lodge Test Pit 1
2 Mulberry Cottage, Green Street Test Pit 2
3 Oaken, 10 Church Close Test Pit 3
4 Yew Tree House, 37-39 Church Hill Test Pit 4
5 High House, Church Hill Test Pit 5
6 Little Park House Test Pit 6
7 53 Low Street Test Pit 7
8 54 Low Street Test Pit 8
9 Beech Cottage, Low Street Test Pit 9
10 Aldersyde, Low Street Test Pit 10
11 The Old Bakery, Low Street Test Pit 11
12 The Swan PH Test Pit 12
17 Moat Field, Abbey Hill Test Pit 17
18 & 19 Appletun, AbbeyHill Test Pits 18 & 19
22 5 Cross Street Test Pit 22
23 6 Cross Street Test Pit 23
24 The Old Grapes, Cross Street Test Pit 24
25 Mill House, Cross Street Test Pit 25
26 Bethesda, Heckfield Green Test Pit 26
28 Cosy Cot, Heckfield Green Test Pit 28
29 Larch House, Heckfield Green Test Pit 29
30 Farm Cottage, Heckfield Green Test Pit 30
31 Michelin House, Denham Road, Heckfield Green Test Pit 31
32 Gissing Farmhouse, South Green Test Pit 32
33 Honeysuckle Cottage, Hoxne Road, Denham Test Pit 33
37 The Depperhaugh Test Pit 37
38 Rear 19-21 Low Street Test Pit 38
39 & 40 Low Street Village Green Test Pits 39 & 40

Test Pits Summary

The majority of the Test Pits showed basic stratigraphy, with a variety of sequences of horizontal soil layers. The depth and nature of these layers were usually clearly related to the known past land-use of each property. Test Pits such as 01, 03, 06, 17, 18, 19, 29, 30, 31 and 37, which largely lay in open arable or pasture fields, greens, orchards or formal gardens until at least the 19th century, typically showed layers derived from former ploughsoils, occasionally sealing preserved former soil horizons, and often had noticeably less modern or post-medieval material. Deeper, richer occupation soils, generally with higher organic content and finds material, usually lay in the established medieval/post-medieval settlement cores or gardens of isolated but older properties (i.e. Test Pits 02, 04, 05, 07-12, 22, 23 and 32).

Exceptions to this included Test Pit 07 (53 Low Street) which appeared to show the edge of a platform cut into the natural slope for the former northern edge of the property, Test Pits 23 (6 Cross Street) and 26 (Bethesda) which contained cobble yard or road surfaces, Test Pit 28 (Cosy Cot) which contained a post-medieval cut feature, Test Pit 33 (Honeysuckle Cottage, Denham) which uncovered the upper slope of a medieval or post-medieval ditch and Test Pit 38 which contained two clearly defined modern rubbish pits.

The Pottery

The earliest pottery recovered from the community excavation dates to the early medieval period, c. 11th-12th century. Seven small body sherds of Early medieval wares were identified in Spit 6 of Test pit 03 at 10 Church Close. The same deposit also contained a further thirteen sherds of medieval coarsewares, including some oxidised wares. A single fragment of Early medieval ware was also found in Test Pit 12 Spit 6 at the Swan Public House.

Medieval ceramics, almost exclusively in the form of wheelthrown coarseware, were found in eight of the 31 Test Pits (03, 11, 12, 17, 23, 32, 33 and 37, Fig. 10). Most of the pottery consists of body sherds which cannot be closely dated beyond the late 12th-14th centuries, but a small squared rim sherd from Test Pit 33 at Honeysuckle Cottage, Denham could be dated to the 12th to early 13th century. A single fragment of glazed medieval ware was present in Test Pit 32 at Gissing Farmhouse, South Green dating to the Late 12th-14th century.

Pottery dating to the 15th-16th century was identified in twelve Test Pits (03, 04, 05, 08, 09, 12, 17, 23, 26, 32, 33 and 40, Fig. 11). In most cases this consisted of early post-medieval redwares such as Late medieval and transitional wares (LMT) which were produced along the Waveney Valley (Anderson et al, 1996). Small quantities of sixteenth century German Raeren stonewares were present in Test Pit 8 (54 Low Street), Test Pit 17 (Moatfield), and Test Pit 32 (Gissing Farmhouse, South Green) and fragments of Frechen stoneware (1550-1700) also from the Rhineland, were found at Test Pit 9 (Beech Cottage, Low Street), Test Pit 23 (6 Cross Street) as well as Gissing Farmhouse.

Post-medieval ceramics were present in most of the Test Pits, except for 03, 25, 29, 31, 37 and 38. A small sherd of a Westerwald stoneware mug with cobalt- blue glaze from Test Pit 11 (The Old Bakery) is likely to date to the end of the 17th (Gaimster 264 fig. 121). Fragments of Glazed red earthenware were present in most of the test pits in small quantities dating from the 16th-18th centuries, often alongside sherds of Iron Glazed blackwares (IGBW) which cover the same date range. These fabrics which are invariably accompanied by later wares indicate a presence in the earlier part of the post-medieval period.

The most consistent post-medieval group was recovered from a series of spits from Test Pit 32 (Gissing Farmhouse). Here there was a range of pottery types dating to the late 16th-17th century, including some imported vessels, such as a Type III Martincamp flask from Northern France, and sherds of Rhenish stoneware consisting of Raeren and Frechen wares. A Dutch-type redware tripod skillet was also present, together with fragments of more local redwares dating to the 16th and 17th century.

Eighteen century wares in the form of Nottinghamshire type stonewares (NOTS), and Staffordshire white salt-glazed stonewares (SWSG) were present in a few test pits. Fragments of polychrome Chinese porcelain (CHPO), considered to be a high status ceramic type were identified in Test Pit 5 (High House, Church Hill) and 8 (54 Low Street).

Nineteenth century or later ceramics were present in all the test pits apart from 17 Moatfield (although post-medieval ceramic building material was recovered from this location) and 31 (Michelin House). A wide range of industrially produced ironstone china, transfer printed wares, pearlware, refined white earthenware, English stoneware and other twentieth century ceramics were collected, offering a snapshot of the everyday ceramics in use by the inhabitants of the village during this period.

Other finds

Other finds material recovered during the project was post-medieval or modern in date, with nearly all of the Test Pits containing some type of material, which was to be expected bearing in mind the location of most of the test pits in established residential areas.

Post-medieval ceramic building material, i.e. brick and tile, was recovered from twenty-eight of the thirty-one Test Pits, three pits had pieces of fired clay and thirteen pits fragments of mortar or plaster. Fragments of clay pipe were recovered from twenty-four Test Pits, pieces of glass from twenty-seven, metalwork including iron nails and other objects from twenty-four, and organic material such as animal bone and oyster shell from twenty-two.

As mentioned above the range and density of this material generally correlated with the nature of the soil types and their probable development, which in turn usually reflected the position of the pit in relation to the areas of historic settlement. Those pits in former fields etc (such as 03, 17, 18, 19 and 31) having noticeably less, if any, post-medieval material than those with long-established and well-worked occupation soils.

Pottery Abbreviations

Various abbreviations have been used in the recording of pottery finds. Below is a brief explanation of these.

Abbreviation Meaning Period Description
CBM Ceramic Building Material
CHPO Chinese porcelain 1650-1900
DUTR Dutch type redware 15th-17th century
EMW Early Medieval Ware 11th-12th century
EPM Early post-medieval ware 16th century
FREC Frechen stoneware 1550-1700 German Stoneware from the Frechen industry in the Rhineland. This is one of the commonest imports during the early post-medieval period. It appears to travel well inland away from the ports and appears on sites of all social status. By far the most common vessel type are bottles, frequently with the embossed face-mask on the neck (Bellarmine bottles). All are salt-glazed, often with iron added to give a mottled brown finish
GRE Glazed red earthenware 16th-18th century As the C16th progressed lower fired earthenwares, glazed to a greater or lesser extent on their interiors, increased in numbers. The range of vessels increased too as the use of pottery altered with more being created for use at the table rather than primarily for cooking. Jars, bowls, tripod pipkin (cooking vessels with three feet), jugs, storage jars, mugs, cups and plates were common. The fabrics were usually tempered with rare to sparse fine sand and normally fired to various shades of orange (though reduced grey examples are also present). Glazes are usually clear (glazing to red/brown due to the iron in the clay) or green (by the addition of copper). These wares represent the most common pottery type in households from the 16th to mid 18th centuries
IGBW Iron glazed blackware 16th-18th century
IRST Ironstone china 19th century
LEPM Local early post-medieval ware 16th century
LMT Late Medieval and transitional ware 15th-16th century
MART Martincamp flask Type III Made in Northern France, it has a hard, orange wheelthrown fabric and is likely to date to the 17th century
MCW Medieval Coarseware Late 12th-14th century
NOTS Nottinghamshire type stonewares 18th century
PMRW Post Medieval redware 16th-18th century
RAER Raeren stoneware L15th-16th century
REFW Refined white earthenwares L18th-20th century
SPEC Speckle Glazed ware L17th-18th century
STSL Staffordshire slipware 1650-1800
SWSG Staffordshire white salt-glazed stonewares 18th century
TGE Tin-glazed earthenware 16th-18th century
WEST Westerwald stoneware 1590-1800