Week-long dig for archaeological excavation at Buckler’s Hard

A week-long dig will take place at Buckler’s Hard in a joint archaeological excavation by the Beaulieu Estate and New Forest National Park Authority for the national Festival of Archaeology.

Volunteers are invited to join the dig, between 18 and 24 July, in a team led by the New Forest National Park Authority. Up to ten volunteers can participate daily, helping with the excavation or the less physical research work.

To register interest for two days, please email archaeology@newforestnpa.gov.uk

All of the volunteers will be invited to join a traditional ‘after-dig party’ onsite on Sunday 24 July.

James Brown, Community Archaeologist at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We are excited by this brilliant opportunity to undertake a week-long archaeological excavation with Heritage Lottery funding from the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme. The investigation will focus on locating and identifying buildings recorded on old maps of the Shipyard held by the Beaulieu Estate. We have a well-defined search area and will report on our findings at the end of the dig.’

The unspoilt haven of Buckler’s Hard on the banks of the Beaulieu River was a thriving shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar were built during the 18th century. Two maps from the Beaulieu Estate, from 1815 and 1845, show buildings near the slipway at Buckler’s Hard and the focus of the new investigation is to search for their archaeological remains.

The boundary of the area, between the Shipyard and East Timber Yard, survives as a visible earth bank. Three trenches, each measuring up to 20m by 5m, will be opened by hand and excavated using mattocks, shovels, trowels, buckets and brushes on the site. All of the trenches will be returned to their former state after the excavation.

Visitors to the Buckler’s Hard attraction are welcome to watch the volunteers at work.

Buckler’s Hard is a place for relaxation, as well as exploration. The Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms serves a range of light refreshments and drinks, including delicious cream teas, throughout the day. Buckler’s Hard is open every day from 10am. For more information visit www.bucklershard.co.uk

Buckler’s Hard annual passes are now available for the new season, offering unlimited access to the village, chapel, Shipwright’s Cottage, Maritime Museum and The Buckler’s Hard Story, as well as discounts for the museum shop, River Cruise and free parking. Annual passes are £10 an adult or £30 a family and can be bought at the Buckler’s Hard admissions kiosk.

For more details call 01590 616203 or see www.bucklershard.co.uk/your-visit/visitor-info