Dig Porlock is a community project that is investigating the origins of Porlock parish by archaeological fieldwork, excavation and research. In 2013 we focused on Porlock Allotment, a moorland area on the higher ground above the settlement. For further information on these activities, visit the Heart of Exmoor Dig Porlock webpage.
The aim of this year's investigations is to focus on the history and archaeology of Porlock using archaeological techniques such as sample excavation and historic landscape analysis. The new West Somerset and Exmoor Buildings Recording Group (part of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society or SANHS) are also researching and recording buildings around the settlement. Please contact them if you would like to help.
If you are interested in taking part in similar projects around the National Park, please contact us.
The following are some of the themes that we hope to explore through the work that we undertake around Porlock settlement:
How did Porlock develop over time?
Where did Porlock have connections with over time?
Why is Porlock in its current form?
Why was the settlement situated in two parishes?
Can we find evidence of Viking activity in Porlock?
Date to be announced
Dig Porlock Catch Up Meeting - where information about the project's results will be disseminated.
Dig Porlock 2014 Roadshow
On 27th February, the Historic Environment team had an open evening at Porlock Village Hall. Visitors were able to view historic maps of Porlock and a display by the West Somerset and Exmoor Buildings Recording Group, as well as volunteer to have their property recorded or to host a 1 metre by 1 metre test pit in their garden this June. People who do not live in the village or are unable to provide a building or garden for study were still able to volunteer to help with survey, excavation or any other activities that are planned.
Dig Porlock research day - Historic Environment Record, Exmoor House
As part of the project, volunteers are helping the Historic Environment team to research the buildings and excavation plots that have been volunteered. This research is essential to help identify if areas being considered for excavation have been disturbed in the past (for instance, if a boundary wall or outbuilding previously existed on the plot concerned) and can also help to put phases of the buildings to be recorded in a historic context. The researchers were introduced to the Historic Environment Record and were guided through a simple map regression exercise, to compare the tithe map and 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps with the modern map for each site. The group also consulted the HER website and other sources such as the National Heritage List for England to provide further information on the sites and any designations that may be appropriate to consider.
Dig Porlock Gathering
This evening event was held in Porlock Village Hall and was provided for people who had volunteered to host an excavation test pit or a building for recording to receive more information on how this was going to take place. Those who attended were provided with a PowerPoint presentation by Shirley Blaylock (ENPA) and with a short talk by Mary Ewing (SANHS).
Dig Porlock research day - Somerset Heritage Centre
The volunteers who were helping with documentary research of the buildings and excavation plots provided for investigation were provided with a guided tour of the Heritage Centre by Esther Hoyle, who gave an introduction to the collections and storage facilities there. The volunteers then had the opportunity to delve into some of the items held at the Centre to help provide further background into the areas being studied as part of the Dig Porlock Village project.
Dig Porlock School
Children at St Dubricius Church of England VA School have helped archaeologists dig two evaluation trenches in the school grounds, where they uncovered a range of finds including pottery, clay smoking pipe fragments, glass and metal items. The children then helped to clean some of the finds at an event in their school.
Preparation day - Meeting at Porlock Village Hall
The evening before excavations took place, all those involved gathered at the Village Hall, where Shirley Blaylock (Conservation Officer, Historic Environment) outlined how the excavations and recording work would be undertaken, as well as discussing the correct use of tools and other health and safety issues that the diggers needed to keep in mind while excavating.