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The Rainford’s Roots Community Archaeology Project

The Rainford's Roots community archaeology project was set up in January 2013 and is run by the Merseyside Archaeological Society, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Rainford is located in St Helens, Merseyside and was at the heart of a clay tobacco pipe and pottery industry throughout the 17th -20th centuries, with goods produced in Rainford being traded far and wide. The project is undertaking an archaeological investigation of Rainford using fieldwork, documentary research, and artefact analysis to explore and learn more about the industrial heritage of the village.

trowelling


Background to the project:

In autumn 2011 the Merseyside Archaeological Society, along with archaeology staff from National Museums Liverpool, carried out a community excavation in a resident’s garden in Rainford. The site came to light when the owner discovered an almost complete 17th century cup, or ‘tyg’, when digging up a tree stump. The excavation took place to investigate whether any more vessels or deposits lay undiscovered in the garden. Three small test pits were dug, and in a short space of time, excavators uncovered a ditch deposit which included tableware vessels and kiln furniture. The deposit appeared to be a dump of waste pottery from a kiln site and provided a huge array of dark-glazed fine ware drinking cups produced in Rainford during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Due to the success of this excavation, and the interest it received from the local community and volunteers, the Merseyside Archaeological Society developed a community project aimed at further investigating the clay tobacco pipe and pottery industry of Rainford during the 17th -20th centuries.

Investigative fieldwork:

April 2013 excavation:

A community excavation took place in the same garden as the 2011 pilot excavation to investigate the site on a larger scale. Two large trenches were dug to explore the archaeology of the garden and to recover further artefacts from the site. More of the ditch running along the back of the garden was excavated, where more post medieval pottery was uncovered, including a number of almost complete vessels. A compact clay deposit filled with kiln waste material was also uncovered, which formed part of a clay floor surface to a building or workshop on the site.


chafingdish


May 2013 post excavation:

Following the April excavation volunteers attended a number of post excavation sessions at the Museum of Liverpool including finds washing, sorting, photographing, bagging, and recording the material, to prepare the material for future research and display purposes. The assemblage now forms part of the Regional Archaeology collection of Merseyside, held by the Museum of Liverpool.

The future:

Future project fieldwork includes carrying out a series of test pitting excavations in residents’ gardens to build up a picture of the archaeological record of Rainford, as well as carrying out surveys and field walking exercises. Rainford’s Roots will continue to provide the local community with archaeological training, outreach programmes, workshops, and various other opportunities for people to get involved. The project and its results will be presented to a wider audience through exhibitions, digital and printed media.

2011vessels


How to get involved:

Rainford’s Roots was designed with the local community in mind. Much of the fieldwork involves the support and co-operation of local residents and venues. Throughout the running of the project the Merseyside Archaeological Society will endeavour to encourage and promote community participation, providing training, support and opportunities for local people and volunteers to take part in all aspects of the project.

For further information please visit our website http://www.rainfordsroots.com

You can also follow the project on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RainfordsRoots.

Email us: rainfordsroots@gmail.com

Phone: 0151 478 4560

All text and images are copyright of National Museums Liverpool













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