Medieval pottery and the bones of a child have been unearthed in the final stages of a cutting-edge archaelogical project in an ancient church at Holcombe.
All this week a team of experts, including Time Team’s Phil Harding, have been undertaking extensive excavations at St Andrew’s Church.
The team were returning to the village following an earlier dig last summer. The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity protecting historic churches at risk who own the Holcombe church, had joined forces with Wessex Archaeology and members of Time Team to undertake excavations underneath the main aisle of St Andrew’s Church.
This is the latest phase of “Hidden Holcombe”, a project initiated in 2012 to find out more about St Andrew’s Church and its surroundings. In contrast to most churches, which are located in the heart of their communities, St Andrew’s is situated in an isolated rural position a mile from Holcombe village.
Archaeologists hope to shed light on whether the church, which dates back to 1100, could originally have been part of a medieval village that has since disappeared.
As part of the excavation the nave was dug up and the skeletons and bones of four individuals unearthed.
This included the skeleton of a woman in her 30s and an adult male probably dating back to the 17th or 18th centuries, including a scattering of bones indicating that the body of a child aged 11 to 12-years-old was buried beneath the nave, Pottery found nearby is likely to date back to medieval times.
Phil Harding spent two days at the church studying gravestones.
He said: “It is interesting to study the different ways in which individuals marked the death of a family member or a loved one, some of the words used in remembrance can be quite flamboyant.”