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Amazing find at Crowland dig

A wheat field by the side of the road in Crowland has yielded such amazing finds that archaeologists are hoping to return next year.

Excavations on Abbey Church Field have now wound down after a team of students from Newcastle and Sheffield universities have completed a two week dig.

This area has had a long association with St Guthlac – the seventh century soldier who went to live in isolation in a hermitage in Crowland.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland

More than 400 people supported an open day on Saturday to learn more about the excavation, which was led by medieval specialists Dr Duncan Wright and Dr Hugh Willmott.

Along with the foundations of a high status building, the teams have uncovered a comb from the Guthlac period along with a human poo – or coprolite – believed to be from the Saxon era.

Dr Wright, who lectures at Newcastle University, said: “Coprolites give us a lot of information about the diet and how healthy people were at the time.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (50267563)
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (50267563)

“It is not that common to pick up a coprolite but it shows how well preserved the site is. We have also found some wood remains. Generally organic material does not survive at archaeological sites.

“I think the comb is the highlight find as that dates from the Guthlac time. That is a high status item from the period we are interested in.”

The wood is believed to have part of a gully and will be carbon dated late to give archaeologists an exact time when the high status hall were built.

But the dig has also shown that people have been living and working on that site for thousands of years as flint scrapes from the Mesolithic era were found.

The archaeological dig
The archaeological dig

Dr Wright said that the chances of archaeologists returning next year was quite high.

He said: “We are really excited about what else there is to explore on the site.

“We would like to thank John and Mark Beeken along with Matthew and Helen Alcock. They have been integral to the project and made it such a pleasure.”

The archaeological dig in Crowland
The archaeological dig in Crowland

However, the team had been hit by an incident of illegal metal detecting on the first night which had been reported to the police.

Dr Wright said: “It is brazen and upsetting. The archaeology is quite sensitive and can be damaged quite easily by someone digging holes to find metal. I don’t think they got a huge amount and that was the exception as everyone has been so welcoming.”

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