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News article created on 8 April 2015

Join Maesbury Marsh archaeological dig

A historic canal wharf, smelting house and bone manure works at Maesbury Marsh, near Oswestry, are to be the focus for a Time Team-style archaeological dig.

Working with specialists from Nexus Heritage, we're hoping to attract dozens of would-be archaeologists to take part in a community excavation of this important historical canal site from Tuesday 21 – Sunday 26 April.

Everyone's invited to inspect the work at a special open day on Saturday 25 April, 11am – 3pm. You'll be able to speak to the archaeologists and see what treasures have been unearthed. You're also invited to add to the unfolding story by bringing old photographs or memorabilia of the canal wharf to the event.

£6 million project

The excavation, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is an important stepping stone in the £6 million project to restore the Montgomery Canal and will be focused on a small area next to the Navigation Inn in Maesbury Marsh (Postcode SY10 8JB). During the dig, archaeologists are keen to discover more about the original 18th century canal wharf and smelting house, and a 19th century bone manure works. 

Kate Churchill, principal archaeologist with Nexus Heritage, said: “We are hoping to find out what remains of these industries and what they can tell us about the people who lived and worked there. Previous excavations in the area have also unearthed prehistoric tools, so we will be looking for any signs of settlement from 4,000 years ago onwards.

“Everyone is welcome to come and join in this exciting historical journey. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to take part in archaeological dig to learn new skills and help discover the lost past of Maesbury Marsh. No previous experience is needed – just grab your boots and sign up.”

Something for everyone 

In addition to the dig, archaeologists from Nexus Heritage will also host introductory sessions on historic building analysis and landscape survey, explaining how to ‘read’ the history of local houses, streets and towns. And for those not keen on the dirty work, there will be opportunities to get involved with artifact analysis and sample processing.

Canal & River Trust project manager, David Hennessey, who is leading the Montgomery Canal restoration, added: “This excavation project marks a really important stage in our development work for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal. There really is something for everyone. We hope local residents and history enthusiasts will want to get stuck in and become an integral part of the unfolding story of this beautiful canal in Shropshire.”

If you would like to get involved with the dig then please contact David Hennessey on 07500 606030 or email david.hennessey@canalrivertrust.org.uk.