Residents urged to get involved in Cookham excavation

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

Young people and Cookham residents are being encouraged to get involved in discovering more of the village’s heritage ahead of an excavation in August.

Last summer, archaeologists from the University of Reading discovered a ‘lost’ Anglo-Saxon monastery which had ‘puzzled historians’ for centuries.

Whilst the existence of the 8th century building was well known from contemporary historical sources, its exact location had been a mystery for many years.

Working with members of local archaeological groups, including the Maidenhead Archaeological and Historical Society, a 40-strong team have finally discovered the hidden monastery.

Almost a year on from last summer’s dig, the team are now planning three years of work to discover more about Cookham’s heritage.

To support the excavation at Holy Trinity Cookham Church Paddock, Friends of Cookham Abbey has been set up, providing opportunities for residents to get involved.

This year’s dig is set to begin at the start of August and will last for four weeks, with further work in the forthcoming years.

Paul Seddon, chairman of the Maidenhead Archaeological and Historical Society, said: “Any remains from the original monastic settlement are buried and we had expected it to be in the vicinity of the present church.

“The dig last year was to make a start on confirming whether or not the remains could be found by archaeological investigation, and we found enough to confirm what it was we were looking at and that there were significant remains in the church paddock.

“The next three years to make a full investigation of the church paddock. We are just starting to plan to do some wider field work, which include back garden test pit digging if you like.

“We’re very keen to involve young people in the Cookham area in that; it’s the kind of thing which will engage interest from youngsters who may not get drawn into history in other ways – it’s a good hands-on way of engaging their interest.”

A meeting will be held 6-7 pm Thursday, June 23, at Pinder Hall, 2 Lower Rd, Cookham SL6 9HF.

Attendance is free of charge, but residents are encouraged to register to attend, by going to a Ticketsource page at the following link: tinyurl.com/4h2xyzfy

For more information, contact Paul on paul@c21networks.co.uk

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