Community Dig

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Since the uncovering by Crossrail of the known Black Death victims from 1348 in Charterhouse Square there has been much interest in the site.  Part of the interest and subsequent activity was the geo-physical survey of the Square by Keele University.  As a result they have identified the potential remains of a building at a depth that suggests it could be from the same medieval period.  Records show that this could be the original Sir Walter de Many chapel erected for Monks to pray for the souls of the dead in the fourteenth century, or a “meat kitchen” that the Monks from the monastery erected a century later.  Or it could be nothing.

But in conjunction with the Museum of London Archaeology, the Museum of London, Islington Council, BFK and Crossrail, The Charterhouse is having a community dig in July to see if the archaeologists can determine what it is. You are invited to take part.

There are a number of ways to participate:

The first is a five day programme where you will receive training on the first day and then dig with the Museum of London Archaeology team for the following four days.  There are 2 groups of six:  one from Thu 17 to Mon 21 Jul and the second from Tue 22 to Sat 26 July.  There are limited places available and they will be filled on a first come first served basis.  This will be very hard work and those taking part should expect it to be tiring.  You must be over 18 to do this activity.  Drinks and lunch will be provided free of charge.

The second is a half day archaeology experience.   Those taking part in this dig will be working on trenches that are not so deep and so training is not required as the finds here are unlikely to be as sensitive.   Two groups each day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  This will be part informative and part activity.

The third is family activities in the Charterhouse where the Museum of London team will work with young people in dig boxes (which simulate a real dig).  These will be on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th.  They will need to be pre-booked and sessions will be approx. 45 minutes.  If you are interested, please let us know and we will let you know the times when they have been finalised.

Finally there will be a number of lectures for you to enjoy.  These are:

  • Fri 18 Jul at 5.30 pm – Barney Sloane on the Black Death – a very well known expert on the subject.
  • Sun 20 Jul at 3pm – The History of the Charterhouse by Dr Stephen Porter our historian and archivist.  Followed by a tour of the Charterhouse.
  • Tue 22 Jul at 6.45pm – The Charterhouse Square Black Death Bodies Discoveries by Jay Carver the Crossrail Archaeologist.  This will be preceded by a short tour at 6pm.
  • Thu 24 Jul at 6.30pm – The History of South Islington by Jiff Bayliss.

These are all free and will be in either the Great Chamber or the Chapel depending on demand.

If you wish to book any of these activities then please e-mail Dawn at The Charterhouse (dawn.woodford[@] as soon as possible. 

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