Saturday, 3 June 2017


Excavation of the Priory Fields site will commence at the beginning of July with the setting out of the trench, transfer of the Bench Mark and stripping of topsoil. Look in for the first photographs here.

Geophizing Along

Members set out to a farm near Maiden Newton today to undertake some geophiz surveying.

Results will be downloaded and if anything is located we will post them here.  

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Yenston/Henstridge project update

I went to the Parish Council meeting last night and gave a presentation on our Nether Compton excavation so that people will know how we work in a community. Very positive feedback with offers of help when we start work in July.

We have been working with local contacts and one is a metal detectorist called Colin and he showed me some finds he has made over the years. All finds have been registered with the local FLO.

This could be part of a horse harness.

A Scottish coin of the 13th c. 

  A beautiful medieval ring.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Priory search is on!

DDCAG chair David Northam and archaeologist Chris Tripp met the tenant farmer of the site we wish to excavate and two representatives of the villages of Yenston and Hentridge, Somerset today. The site is NOT under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, as was feared, so that means we can begin to search for the lost priory this summer. This could be a very exciting and important excavation and we hope to begin work in July until September or October and over the coming years. Some villagers are already interested in becoming members so as to work on the site and, of course, we are also looking for as many established members to get involved as possible, either digging or post excavation finds processing. We will establish a rota so as to give all comers a chance to dig. Good news! Keep looking in to see how we progress and get in touch with any questions.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Tip-Toe Through The Bluebells

Situated at Ashley Chase, just north west of Abbotsbury, is a Dorset treasure little visited by tourists.

Judith Young organised a walk to the remains of a chapel, dating back to the 13th century. Some land was given to Cistercian monks from Netley Abbey near Southampton by the landowner William of Litton in 1246 so that prayers could be said, in perpetuity, for him and his family.

The chapel was built and dedicated to St Luke who was a Greek speaking physician and historian from Antioch in Syria and a companion of St Paul. The chapel continued to be used until the King Hal and Thomas Cromwell dissolved the monasteries in 1530's. The chapel was used by the community for some time, but it gradually became a ruin.

In 1925 the land was bought by Sir David and Lady Milne-Watson and they shored up the surviving gable end of the chapel, which still stands today. They loved this space so much they were buried here. 

People still use the chapel for contemplation and we found evidence of a couple who had visited for a 'hand-fasting' ritual only recently.

Some of the group then went to walk around Abbotsbury Iron Age hillfort and some to the tea room at Abbotsbury Tropical Gardens, where we sat surrounded by exotic plants.

Thanks Judith for a lovely day.      

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Testing, testing...

Today we did a back garden dig for Alice, who is doing 'A' Levels at the moment, and she needed something special for a project. Luckily we did find some nice artefacts and she has the paperwork and drawings to add to the outcomes.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Signal Station research

DDCAG are undertaking a research project on Signal Stations in Dorset, from Roman to Saxon, Armada to Napoleonic and Naval stations. .

These sites are often shown on maps as ‘beacons’ or ‘telegraphs’.

For example there is a telegraph station shown near Minterne Magna with possible locations at Chilcombe Hill, Winterborne Steepleton and various locations associated with coastal defences in the Napoleonic period.

The process will involve naming the sites, locating their position using grid references, possible start and end of use, the height of the Station, method of communication (smoke, semaphore, mirror etc), visible remains, any record in literature and a general description. For example:

Black Down Fortlet /possible signal station, 50.69077, -2.56303, possible Roman AD 43, 400, height not known perhaps 5m, possible smoke fire, no visible remains, site excavated by Bill Putnam (ref xx, 1970) , (Ian Hewitt ref zz, 2016) and surveyed by Dorset Diggers (ref xxyy).

We have volunteers who will be working on areas – Weymouth, Portland and Purbeck; Sturminster Newton, Blandford Forum and Shaftsbury; Bridport to Lyme Regis; Poole and hte east; Axminster, Chard, Crewkerne, Yeovil, Sherborne and Beaminster.

We are looking to have visits to the sites that have been confirmed as Stations as well as visiting the Royal Signals Museum in Blandford.

If anyone would like to help out please contact us.