|29 May 2005
Volunteers needed for project in the Isle of Wight
The West Wight community is being urged to get its hands dirty and help uncover the mysteries of how people lived in Yarmouth between prehistoric and medieval times. As part of a proposed major project put forward by the IW County Archaeology Service, it is hoped the lost — and potentially rich — history of Yarmouth will be uncovered and lead to finds dating back to pre-10,000 BCE.
Frustrated by the huge gap in the historical knowledge of Yarmouth, the service is keen to recruit and train scores of volunteers to excavate small test pits dotted around the town. From each dig, records of finds will be painstakingly recorded to gradually build up a picture of life in eras such as the Iron and Bronze Age, Saxon, Roman and medieval.
So far, only a Neolithic flint axe found on the beach and Iron Age pottery found near Yarmouth police station have been unearthed.
"Humans have been using the Island landscapes for over 425,000 years — since hunter-gatherer groups visited between the ice ages — and there are many prehistoric remains across the Island which can help us piece together the story of our prehistoric ancestor," said Ruth Waller, of the county archaeological service.
Like many places on the Island, Yarmouth has not been subjected to systematic archaeological research. The only chance the county archaeological service has to explore beneath the ground is when new buildings are being constructed by developers.
Following discussions with the Yarmouth Society, Ms Waller touted the idea of establishing a community archaeological project, which was well received by town councillors. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should contact Ian Dallison of the Yarmouth Society on 760240.
Source: Isle of Wight County Press (26 May 2005)
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