Ely & District Archaeological Society
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Monday 15th March 2021 - Donna Martin
Monday 15th March 2021 - Donna Martin 

How young archaeologists and the AHK Bursary helped to reveal Roman Bedwell Hey, Little Thetford

In 2017 ACE was invited by owner John Parish to begin an investigation into the archaeology of Bedwell Hey Farm, Little Thetford.  Along with items he has found, John has collected artefacts that farm workers and metal detectorists, have found on his farm for years, acquiring a keen interest in the archaeology of the local area.  He is passionate about sharing his collection with the local community, freely giving talks to interest groups, and was eager to get Little Thetford Primary School involved in a heritage project, and for ACE to bring his local school community to the farm to experience the process of archaeology for themselves.  Having been granted an AHK Bursary of £500, ACE was able to purchase the equipment necessary to facilitate a school dig and engaged with Little Thetford Primary School who were very keen to participate.  Community activities present their own challenges but are also immensely rewarding, the ACE ‘School’ dig at Bedwell Hey Farm was no exception.  This lively talk will show how the AHK grant was spent, from the planning stages through to delivery, discussing how the learning expectations of the school and children were met through the activities that ACE set up, and how the children were able to fully participate in numerous stages of archaeological evaluation, from digging a test pit to holding their own exhibition, in one week!  This talk will show how the young archaeologists of Little Thetford, and their teachers, parents and guardians, were able to reveal part of the story of Roman Bedwell Hey, and how the volunteers from ACE inspired them to carry on learning about their heritage through engagement with their local landscape.

Donna Martin

Donna Martin has been Chair of the registered charity Soham Museum since its foundation in 1998; and since 2014 a project leader of Archaeology Cambridgeshire East (ACE), created as part of the HLF ‘Jigsaw’ project, which sought to establish active local archaeology groups across Cambridgeshire, and give them the professional mentoring and training necessary to equip them to carry out archaeological investigations to inform the Historic Environment Record (HER) of unrecorded and under-recorded archaeological sites across the county.  Donna was awarded a BA (Hons) History from the Open University in 2008, gaining an Advanced Diploma in Local History from Oxford University along the way.  During her studies, Donna was invited to work on the initial stages of the Blick Mead, (Amesbury, Wiltshire) project with local archaeologist David Jacques, as leading landscape archaeologist, exploring the wider Stonehenge landscape.  In 2008 she joined English Heritage (now Historic England) working in the Designation department, developing a specialism in scheduling ancient monuments.  She was awarded a place to study Local and Regional History at the University of Cambridge in 2009 and was awarded a Masters degree in 2012.  She is an Alumna of Downing College, Cambridge.  Donna brings the experience of 18 years as an adult community tutor and years of working as a classroom assistant to her role as a community project leader and has led and worked on numerous community and youth projects in the local area.