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Test pits

One of the investagitive tools available to archaeologists is the 'test pit'. Consider this as an archaeological excavation in miniature. The process involves the careful excavation of a 1m square test pit in equal 'spits', recovering all of the objects you find and recording at what depth they came from. If archaeological features or deposits are seen in the test pit then these can be recorded and left in place.

Test pits are an excellent way of investigating potential archaeological sites, or for exploring the origins of the villages, hamlets and farms in which we live today. By digging test-pits in gardens across a village it is possible to chart the development of a place through the objects that are recovered.

Test pits are also relatively quick to dig - typically taking only a day or two, making them a great way to get involved if your time is limited!


The next test pit event that will take place at Calstock will be on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th May 2019. During this event volunteers will be digging test pits to investigate the potential for buried archaeology on land west of the Roman fort, in an area adjacent to the site of this year's Community Excavation. This event will help us understand the extent, and date range, of the archaeological complex.


Volunteers will be expected to commit to both days of the event so that each test pit can be excavated and recorded by the same individuals. Outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear are essential, and volunteers are expected to bring with them their own food and refreshments.


Pre-booking is essential. Places will be limited to enable adequate supervision and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. To register for this test pit event please complete the online APPLICATION FORM.