Burnham-on-Crouch u3a archeology group public training day

A group of amateur archaeologists who discovered a medieval palace are now planning to pass on their new knowledge to others.

Members of Burnham u3a dug at Southminster Hall after member Sue Spiers found an unusual crop mark on the grounds of the grand Victorian house.

Sue originally found the mark by searching Google Maps.

After a month of work, they discovered a chamber of a medieval palace.

Sue said: ‘We could see from the parchment marks on Google Maps that there was something oblong underneath.

“We had no idea what it actually was, but it was very exciting.”

They found the foundations of stone walls about half a meter below ground that were over a meter wide.

The structure showed that what they found would have been a high standard building.

They called in archeology experts from the Southeast and, with the help of a grant, got to find out.

It was revealed that they had found the bedroom block of a medieval palace for the Bishop of London between the 11th and 13th centuries.

The hall would have been used for entertaining and formal events, greeting people and collecting tithes.

Sue said: “No one had a clue it even existed.

“The Chief Archaeologist for Essex County Council was absolutely delighted.

“She is in the process of redrawing the map of historic sites.

“Over time, it got more and more exciting.”

“Through the training, we basically became semi-professional archaeologists.

“It’s wonderful – absolutely thrilling. Our knowledge has increased – we survey, record, search and have learned so many new skills. »

There is now a permanent display at the Burnham Museum for their findings.

The volunteers will organize a training day for budding archaeologists at their next project, a demolished church in Althorne.

Training day participants will learn how to survey and dig an area, as well as metal detecting and photography.

The training day takes place at Old St Barnabas Church at Mayland Hall, Mayland Hill, Althorne on Saturday 20 August, from 9.30am to 5pm.

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