Prehistory in Portesham started out as an exploratory project, designed to find out what archaeology the local community would like to be involved in. I went to the village and presented some of the known archaeology of the parish and a series of unanswered questions. I then suggested methods that might help to answer the questions, and asked the audience to select the question they would like to see answered and whether they would like to partake.
Helping to finish off a Bournemouth University project around the location of where the Portesham Mirror burial was found was by far the most popular, and so this is what we did. The results were mixed. Not super helpful in understanding the archaeology but really thought provoking for my research into community archaeology.
The second project was not one that I suggested, but was the idea of a member of the audience and I have been investigating, along with him and friends, more about the field systems in the Valley of Stones. We are heading out soon, along with students who have more skills than us, to carry out a survey of the fields.
The third project is one that has been on the back burner for a little while, but is now coming to the fore. We are going into the archives! It has links with another project that I am involved in (Monitoring Heritage at Risk with the South Dorset Ridgeway project) where volunteers have asked to know more about the monuments that they have been surveying. In March we will be learning about the archives that are available, how to access them and how to use them. Fingers crossed this will encourage volunteers to learn for themselves more about the monuments, perhaps more than the books can tell us! Watch this space.