‘Life at No. 57’ The Sheffield Victorian Terraced House Dig
For the 2009 Festival of British Archaeology∞ the Heeley City Farm∞ teamed up with archaeologists from the ARCUS∞ (Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield) to excavate 57 Alexandra Road, a terraced house built in the early 1870s and demolished along with five terraced streets during the 1970s.
A typical two-up-two-down Victorian terraced house may seem an unusual target for an archaeological dig, but this project has made archaeology accessible to a diverse range of volunteers, enabling over 850 people to learn excavation techniques, and to experience the excitement, and frustration, of archaeological discovery at first hand.
Volunteers of all ages helped to reveal the ground level of no 57, and to excavate a narrow slot which further revealed the back yard, as well as evidence of shell button making. Alongside the excavation were related workshops and activities for families and individuals as well as local groups, including the Sheffield Conversation Club which provided an opportunity for asylum seekers and refugees to engage with local volunteers. Former occupants of the area were also invited to take part in the project to share their memories of the local area and community.
A further interesting aspect of the project was to explore the energy agenda by considering how householders lived 100 years ago. This links to the one surviving house on Alexandra Road, which in 2006 was eco-refurbished by the Heeley City Farm into a fully-insulated and energy-efficient energy house and offices for South Yorkshire Energy Centre.
There is even a VIDEO∞ of highlights of the Festival event.
Over the next few months the project finds will be washed and sorted, an event will be organised to celebrate the project and planning will commence for next year’s Festival. If you would like to get involved please contact Sally Rodgers, Heritage Project Officer on 0114 3039981 ext 4 or email∞.
| CBA, St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York YO30 7BZ.
tel: +(44) (0)1904 671417 | fax: +(44) (0)1904 671384 | email: