Liz Stewart, Curator of Archaeology and the Historic Environment and the archaeology team from the Museum of Liverpool are currently out on site at Calderstones Park, working with local people to investigate the park’s history through a series of excavations. This community archaeology project is part of ‘Connect at Calderstones’, an HLF-funded project run by The Reader Organisation, who have their HQ at Calderstones Mansion in the heart of the park.
"Around 30 people have tried their hand at digging, so far they’ve found garden features, pottery, metalwork and building material. The finds are relatively modern, the oldest being 18th century pottery. As the archaeological investigation progresses we might happen upon more remains associated with the era of the Mansion House’s construction in the 1820s, such as the farmhouse which pre-dated it on a nearby site, or possibly even the longer history of the area back to prehistory. It’s always great fun working with new people and providing an opportunity for them to try their hand at archaeology.
A volunteer said, “this is on my bucket-list, and I’ve decided to make a start on it while I’m young and healthy!”. Volunteers learn about many of the different skills and techniques of archaeology including excavation, context-recording, planning, finds recording, section-drawing, and photography. Another volunteer added, “I’ll never look at archaeology on TV in the same way again!”.
Being situated in Calderstones Park is lovely, and means many people have the chance to see the dig progressing as they visit the park on a frequent basis: doing a bit of exercise, walking their dog, or attending the Reader Organisation’s sessions. We’d love a £1 for every time someone has strolled past and asked, “have you found any treasure yet?”, but the prize for the best question so far goes to, “have you found Richard III’s dog?”, that made us giggle!"