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Crossrail opens community archaeology dig in Stepney Green

Crossrail opens community archaeology dig in Stepney Green

Ninety volunteers will take to the tools to become amateur archaeologists as they take part in Crossrail’s community dig at Stepney City Farm from Tuesday 23 - Saturday 28 July, during the UK-wide Festival of Archaeology.

The volunteers will learn archaeology excavation techniques and will be working alongside experienced archaeologists.  Crossrail hopes the amateur archaeologists, working alongside archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), will unearth more remains related to the 13th Century Worcester Manor House which was previously re-discovered by Crossrail archaeologists during an earlier dig at Stepney.

Archaeology Open Days will be run between 10am-4pm, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July, where the public will be able to see what the team have uncovered during the week. Tours and archaeology presentations will take place at midday and 4pm.

Stepney City Farm will remain open throughout the duration of our works, with additional activities being run for the Open Days, including:

  • Farmers’ Market 10-3pm Saturday 27 July
  • Pottery workshops
  • Blacksmithing demonstrations and have-a-go sessions
  • Talks and archaeology site tours will be given by experts at 12pm and repeated at 3pm on Sat & Sun.

Download Crossrail Community Archaeology Dig Flyer

Already found at the site were items owned by London’s 15th Century elite including shoes similar to those worn by King Henry VIII and his family, and a Tudor bowling ball made from exotic South American wood. Crossrail hopes the volunteers will uncover more unique items, and help us map the boundary of this important site.

Archaeologists previously discovered the foundations for King John’s Manor that was built between 1450 and 1550. The manor was later extended by the Marquis of Worcester in 1597 and became known as Worcester House.

Worcester House played an important role in the political and religious non-conformist movement in east London.  It was confiscated in 1645 during the Civil War and later acquired by a prominent parliamentarian, William Greenhill, who used it as a safe haven for early Protestant nonconformists or Puritans to meet.

A moat, cellars, walls, cess pits and wells associated with this and other Tudor houses have been uncovered, along with household goods including a distinctive chamber pot with the humorous phrase inscribed inside: ‘what I see, I will not tell’.

Any additional archaeology finds will be documented and will form part of future Crossrail exhibitions. 

Visit the archaeology section to find out about our archaeological discoveries to date.