Kids wearing high-vis jackets on their knees are bent over carefully scraping away a layer of soil on an area of ground that's being excavated on the lawn in front of Ashton Court House.

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Children from Glenfrome Primary School digging at Ashton Court © Historic England

Children Join Community Dig at Ashton Court

In July over 300 local primary school children took part in a community archaeological dig at Ashton Court in Bristol. The dry summer of 2018 had revealed many interesting scorch marks on the South Lawn of Ashton Court Mansion and a subsequent geo-physical survey seemed to confirm that there were remains of buildings to be found.

Fascinating findings

Over six different days, children from Barton Hill, Glenfrome, Hannah More, Cabot, Easton and Worle Village Primary Schools spent the day at Ashton Court undertaking a series of activities. They all had the chance to dig in an archaeological trench and every child was able to make finds such as clay pipes, pieces of pottery and even some pieces of prehistoric worked flint.

Small stone held in the palm of a hand wearing an orange glove.
A piece of prehistoric worked flint found by one of the children © Historic England

Art in the mansion

In addition the children worked with Katherine Chiswell Jones and Amy Hutchings from Art Space Life Space to explore the interior of the mansion, including the upstairs rooms. The children then created their own visions for the future use of the mansion. Their work will be on public display at Ashton Court on Saturday 28 September.

Children wearing high-vis waistcoats and hard hats stand at the bottom of a staircase listening to a woman who's leading them on a tour.
Volunteer Tish O’Connor showing children around the upstairs of Ashton Court Mansion © Historic England

Stables unearthed

After two weeks of digging with the children and volunteers from across the community, many interesting remnants of historic buildings were unearthed. By cross-referencing with the historical records it looks like they may have been 17th and 18th century stable buildings and courtyard floors.

The dig was organised by Archaeoscan in collaboration with Bristol City Council and the Heritage Schools Programme.

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