It is a wonderful feeling, knowing that I am not on my own, and that similar work has been considered to be of historical importance.
So it was, on Monday, that I attended the The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology AGM and talk, at the Society of Antiquaries in London. My first time, and needless to say it was well worth the usual feeling awkward – the not quite knowing whether to butt into other people’s conversations or stand around feeling like a lemon waiting for someone to come to my rescue – during the drinks interval! The heroic knight who came to my rescue was Hilary Orange with whom I had previously been in contact. She had told me there was a chance of obtaining grant funding for the project and at the meeting informed of a new community grant which would exactly match my type of project. She also introduced me to Lara Band an archaeologist who has an interest in buildings, homes and the people who live(d) in them.
Lara sent me information about an amazing archaeological project – the Sandhills Project – which included the excavation of some 19th c. workers cottages at Alderley Edge. Their aims were more or less identical to mine, and their full report is freely available online – exciting isn’t the right word any more – wow(?)!! And they have written a book!! I wonder whether Father Christmas has room on his sleigh for it? It is good to know that this multi-disciplinary team of professionals considered such a research excavation of these workers cottages as a novel undertaking in 2009. They called it historical archaeology, since written, photographic, and oral history could be compared and contrasted with the archaeological evidence. Built in the late 18th c. and demolished post WW2, but with surviving memories of two of the people who lived there as children, it is surprisingly similar to the Newmarket Farm – which gives me great hope for my own project’s future.