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Help reveal the buried secrets of Burley

Help reveal the buried secrets of Burley


Archaeology and history enthusiasts are invited to have their own Time Team experience and take part in a community-wide dig to uncover the hidden history of Burley.

From Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 April, more than 30 residents are opening archaeological test pits in their gardens as part of a festival of archaeology in the hope of finding fascinating items such as pottery, coins and bone.

Hosted by Burley Local History Society and Burley Parish Council, with support from the New Forest National Park Authority, Dig Burley takes place in Discover National Parks Week (6 – 21 April) to help celebrate the countless opportunities to get outside and discover the length and breadth of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

Visitors and participants can drop in to ‘Dig Burley HQ’ in The Burley Social Club behind the Burley Inn Pub from 10am daily for talks, workshops and exhibitions. There will also be an ID table and communal finds space for people to get involved with and help identify and process any discoveries from gardens.

Dig Burley will work on a similar format to open gardens, welcoming visitors into resident’s gardens throughout the weekend to see their progress and, hopefully, their finds. Residents will display signs on their doors to show they are taking part, with test pits open from 10am across the weekend.

A test pit is a metre-square trench measuring up to a metre deep that can be dug by hand, by anyone, in an open space in their garden. It is dug layer by layer and carefully recorded, with the aim of identifying evidence of past human activity.

New Forest National Park Authority Community Archaeologist, James Brown, said: ‘It’s great to see the community coming together to discover more about their local heritage and attempt to piece together a picture of Burley’s early settlements.

‘It is a rare opportunity to see beneath the surface of the National Park and we are excited to see what interesting artefacts might be found and hope to see people at Dig Burley HQ.’

David Etchells, Chair of The Burley Historical Society, said: ‘The Burley Historical Society is delighted to be working with the National Park Authority on the forthcoming four day Dig Burley project. This is the first such community dig within the New Forest and is eagerly anticipated by the village.

‘Burley has a fascinating local history, of which there is undoubtedly a great deal more to discover. Hopefully, much will be learned from the dig, which will give us all further insights into the history of this unique New Forest location.’

Talks include a special evening at 7pm at Burley Manor on Friday 12 April with Professor Tim Taylor, creator and series producer of Time Team. This is a free event open to all, but tickets need to be booked in advance. To book your place please visit

On Saturday 13 April there will be three workshops open to everyone, including ‘Get to know your Flint’ by Kath Walker from the New Forest Heritage Centre and ‘Get to know your Pottery’ with Andy Russel from Southampton Archaeology.

Dig Burley is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme. You can find out more about Dig Burley here:

More information on the Our Past, Our Future scheme can be found at


Notes to Photo Editor:

Volunteers creating an archaeological test pit at a previous excavation at Keyhaven.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by National Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect – Enjoy – Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park – Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contact:

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639

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