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Bouskell Park dig date announced

An image of the entrance to Bouskell Park in Blaby

The much-anticipated community dig at Bouskell Park in Blaby will take place in April 2021, as part of Blaby District Council’s renovation of the Ice House.

A community archaeological dig on the site will be the first opportunity for the park’s history to be uncovered, and the project will be in partnership with the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services team.

Taking place across the weekend of Saturday 17, and Sunday 18 April, the Council is keen to hear from local volunteers and schools about joining the project to help on the dig. Along with the Ice House project, a community dig had been originally scheduled for the summer, before the recent pandemic delayed plans.

Work on the historic ice house, which dates back to 1843, is currently underway. Once finished the site will be accessible to the public and visitors to the park on special guided tours to learn about the ice house’s history.

Councillor Sharon Coe, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Regulatory Services, said: “We are hugely excited by the prospect of a dig as Bouskell Park is a site rich in history. When laying a path for park users some years ago, 13th century pottery was discovered.

“The work of the community and University of Leicester’s archaeological team will be vital in helping.

Mathew Morris, Project Officer for University of Leicester Archaeological Services, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to find out more about their park’s history. Anyone familiar with Bouskell Park will know it is covered in curious humps and bumps.

“These are thought to be the remains of part of the medieval village which was deliberately cleared when the parkland around Blaby Hall was extended. This has never been investigated before and, if true, is an important part of the village’s history.

“We plan to dig a number of 1 metre square test-pits across the park to investigate the many earthworks. Pottery and other artefacts collected during the dig will help us identify what type of activity was going on and when it was taking place. Digging archaeological test-pits is great fun and is perfect for people of all ages and abilities.

“You don’t need to have any previous archaeological experience, you just need to be enthusiastic, happy to be outdoors digging and sieving soil and washing finds, and curious about the park’s history.”

"The dig will hopefully paint a picture of what life was like on this part in the past. We’re encouraging anyone interested to sign up and enjoy what promises to be a great weekend!”

The Council is excited to welcome anyone who wants to take part in the community dig. Those interested in joining are asked to register with the project team to ensure volunteers receive the latest updates and information by emailing gemma.tallis@blaby.gov.uk.

More information about the dig and the park can be found by watching a video from Mathew Morris on YouTube. Details about the Ice House can also be found via a YouTube guide, and a feature by BBC Radio Leicester.

10 September 2020
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