Over 150 residents, neighbours and members of the surrounding community delved into St Neots fascinating past at Wintringham’s recent Heritage Day. The event was put on by the Communities team at Urban&Civic, the masterdeveloper behind the development.
Families and friends visited Wintringham Primary Academy to hear from the archaeologists, discover some of the hidden gems on display at St Neots Museum, and find out what life would have been like for our ancient ancestors living in the area during the Iron Age.
Urban&Civic’s Wintringham team worked with partners Oxford Archaeology and St Neots Museum to produce a wealth of information and artefacts from excavations at Wintringham and the local area, dating back as early as the Middle Bronze Age – over 3,500 years ago. Visitors were able to see how archaeological investigations are helping piece together the jigsaw of St Neots’ past.
So far, the remains of around 60 roundhouses — used as homes – have been found at Wintringham. They survive in the ground as circular ditches or gullies, which outline the shape of the outer walls. Visitors were treated to a glimpse of what life would have been like in the Iron Age with models of Wintringham’s roundhouses on display as well as an interactive Iron Age experience from a re-enactor who brought along a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
As well as presentations on the latest finds at Wintringham, which include a possible shrine complex at the heart of a large Roman settlement, Oxford Archaeology brought a range of Roman artefacts from the latest dig. This included rotary querns used for grinding grain into flour, painted wall plaster, animal bones from a Roman enclosure ditch and pottery fragments found in an Early Roman kiln.
Stuart Ladd, Project Officer for Oxford Archaeology, said: “The exhibition was a great opportunity to summarise the story so far and present the most recent results from the last four years of archaeological excavations at Wintringham. We revealed the latest information on the possible Roman shrine building that we uncovered earlier this year – which was almost as large as the school sports hall! There is much more work still to be done analysing the artefacts, but we were pleased that visitors were so engaged and keen to hear the results when the material is fully analysed.”
St Neots Museum helped set the context within the wider area and brought its Kimbolton coin hoard collection and Treasure for the Gods/Iron Age Huntingdon exhibition to help understand some of the social dynamics of the time – from the economy to religion.
As well as presentations and artefacts, there was plenty to keep the children informed and entertained, with a highlight being Oxford Archaeology’s dig pit, where budding archaeologists could try their hand at excavation to see what they could uncover.
Christine Littlewood, Community Lead for Wintringham, said: “This is our third Heritage Day, and it was great to be able to provide an update on the exciting finds that have been discovered since last year’s event. The archaeology experts and activities really brought the past to life to help people learn about the everyday lives of those who lived and worked at Wintringham thousands of years ago, and how those discoveries are being reflected in the new community.”
The team is already making plans for next year’s heritage event. In the meantime, you can find out more about Wintringham’s fascinating past on our archaeology page