Village Test-Pitting at Nether Stowey

Published by Dan Broadbent on

This autumn, residents of Nether Stowey are invited to take part in a programme of archaeological research aimed at better understanding the development of villages in and around the Quantock Hills. Over four days, from October 19th to 22nd 2023, archaeologists from Past Participate, supported by the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme, will be in the village to continue our series of Village Test-Pitting events which began in Bicknoller in 2021, and continued last year in Crowcombe.

What is Test Pitting?
Test-Pitting involves local residents digging small 1m excavations in their own gardens and recording them archaeologically. It is a well-used technique for both engaging communities in archaeological research and for providing information in occupied areas which other methods cannot access. No experience is necessary. Participants will be supervised by experienced archaeologists to learn how to dig a test-pit and identify and record archaeological contexts.

Our Bicknoller and Crowcombe events were a great success. Not only did local people have the chance to add to the understanding of history of their own village, they have been was also a huge amount of fun, with 100% of participants rating their experience 5 out 5 for enjoyment!

Research Aims
Specific research aims for the Nether Stowey event include: identifying any evidence of prehistoric and Romano-British activity within the area now occupied by the village; identifying any foci of Anglo-Saxon activity; and establishing the character and chronology of the medieval development of the settlement.

Get Involved
If you live in Nether Stowey and would like to get involved in the project, please get in touch directly with Past Participate at or contact our own Historic Heritage Officer, Dan at We need people who:

  • would like to have a go at archaeology regardless of how much or how little previous experience you have;
  • have a garden where you could dig a 1m square pit under our guidance, or which you would be happy for others to dig,
  • don’t have a garden but would be willing to dig in someone else’s;
  • would like to help us with logistics, setting up, tea and coffee, cake making (an essential part of any archaeological project!);
  • would like to help with finds washing.

We can’t wait to hear from you; it promises to be a great few days!