Haul uncovered in Meldreth dig

Volunteers get busy at the test pit at Chiswick End, Meldreth

Volunteers get busy at the test pit at Chiswick End, Meldreth - Credit: Archant

A “REMARKABLE” medieval badge was one of a number of historic items discovered at a dig in a village last weekend.

The Pilgrim badge found in Meldreth

The Pilgrim badge found in Meldreth - Credit: Archant

The Meldreth Local History Group’s project, Understanding Our Past: Exploring the Hidden History of Meldreth, got under way on Saturday when 50 volunteers helped dig the first batch of test pits. The group was hoping to find artefacts which would help explore how the village developed and evolved, and it wasn’t disappointed.

Formal identification of the artefacts uncovered has yet to take place, but pottery dating to before the Black Death turned up in several pits, while one produced a very unusual find, provisionally identified as a medieval pilgrim badge.

These badges were relatively cheap to make but highly valued by those who owned them. They were purchased by people who had been on pilgrimages and were attached to clothing or headgear to show off their achievement and piety.

Dr Carenza Lewis, from the University of Cambridge, is working on the project, and said: “In nearly 1,500 pits that I’ve been involved in digging over the last few years, we have never found one of these before, so it’s a remarkable discovery.”


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Kathryn Betts, secretary of Meldreth Local History Group, said: “We were thrilled with how many people visited the pits and showed an interest in our project.

“This is the first time we have done a project of this sort and what has been especially good to witness is the sense of community spirit, with family and friends coming together to participate.”

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More test pits will be dug in July. If you would like to volunteer to help with the project or would like more information, please visit www.meldrethhistory.org.uk or contact Kathryn Betts on 01763 268428 or email info@meldrethhistory.org.uk

Members of the group will be at Holy Trinity church fete in Meldreth this Saturday, June 15, to talk about the project and display some of the weekend’s finds.

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