Holcombe Moor Heritage Group

Local History on the edge of the West Pennine Moors

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Greenmount Primary School Dig

On June 24th 2013, HMHG did a mini-dig with the pupils of Year 5 at Greenmount Primary School.

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Our 2nd dig in “suburbia” gave us new problems we hadn’t come up against before – and we don’t mean the kids! Trench One found electric cables running through the centre of it (imagine the Risk Assessment for that one!) – so with a bit of a rethink, a metal detector and fingers crossed, Trench Two was opened.


Both trenches were positioned adjacent to Holhouse Lane as we knew it to be one of the oldest roads in the area, with a large bank running alongside the school. Here, we thought, we should find some decent finds – as generations were bound to have thrown their rubbish in the ditch on the other side.


Well archaeology never works out as you hope – we found more cables (probably BT) which we steered well clear of, hence Trench Two was a bit truncated. We found a wonderfully preserved land drain through the centre of the trench towards the “ditch”. The BT cables prevented us investigating the “ditch” any further unfortunately. So next it was the kids’ turn.


Surprisingly, several claimed to have been on an archaeological dig before and everyone seemed very excited. We were informed that all had talked of nothing else all morning. And so it was that in the afternoon, Year 5 (35 children, aged 9 to 10) took turns in Trench Two. They also washed and drew the finds.


What wonderful archaeological finds did Greenmount Primary School give us? Well, for an area previously only known as farmland before it became a school, it was pretty much what you’d expect: a bouncy ball, a toy insect, a squashed Coke can, some bits of pottery (nothing very old unfortunately – not that the kids cared), an animal bone – a rib, a bottle top with stopper, and lots of little bits of burnt rubbish from the bottom of a fire grate (like industrial slag but on a much smaller scale – the kids loved it – shiny, different colours and textures – the hit of the day).


Afterwards, they ALL claimed to have not only enjoyed it, but to have learnt something too! And that’s what it is all about in the end. While certain HMHG members want to get back in the trench to uncover its secrets, it looks like this one will have to be yet another mystery. Surprisingly, none of Year 5 have volunteered for the backfilling – isn’t it always the way?


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Above Right: The land drain being uncovered.


Below Right: The finds, all washed and sorted by Year 5.


Below: Close ups of the finds. Including an animal bone, pipe stems, part of a bullet, and a glass bottle and plastic stopper.





These photos are the property of HMHG and/or Greenmount Primary School and are not to be reproduced without the permission of both parties.

HMHG would like to thank the children of Year 5 (2012 - 2013) for their enthusiasm and interest in the dig. And also a big thank you to Mrs Kenyon and Mrs Limb for their help and assistance throughout the day.