What lies beneath the South Lawn at Ashton Court Estate?

Summer opportunities to get involved in archaeological excavations 

Local Bristol residents have a rare opportunity to pick up their shovels and try their hand at archaeology on an iconic Bristol landmark – Ashton Court Estate. 

Members of the general public are invited to participate in the dig taking place over the summer, providing a rare chance to engage with and uncover elements of the property’s long and varied history.

On a series of heritage days between 23rd June and 18th July 2019, a community archaeological investigation will be conducted to investigate the results of a geophysical survey carried out in 2018. During last year’s dry summer parch, marks appeared on the South Lawn at Ashton Court, hinting at a hidden history waiting to be uncovered. A geophysical survey of the lawn identified possible archaeological remains that took the form of potential rooms.

An 18th-century engraving of the mansion reveals a wing that no longer exists but was removed during alterations to the Court, during the period that the current double frontage of the building was under construction. It is believed the South Lawn’s scorch marks may identify this forgotten wing. It is also anticipated that some contemporary garden features may also be waiting to be uncovered.

Several Bristol schools have been invited to participate in the excavation as part of Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme. Students will learn about the rich heritage of the grand Ashton Court buildings and have the chance to experience hands-on excavation.

The excavation is being conducted by Archeoscan (www.archeoscan.com) with the permission of Bristol City Council and supported by Artspace Lifespace and Historic England.  All archaeology experiences must be pre-booked for a fee of £30pp per day. For more information or to participate in the excavation, please contact Archeoscan (archeoscan@hotmail.co.uk).

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