Get involved with archaeological dig at Chester Farm near Irchester

Chester Farm near Irchester
Chester Farm near Irchester

Amateur enthusiasts are being invited to take part in an archaeological dig at Chester Farm.

Volunteers will be able to work alongside a professional team as they excavate the former orchard and lower garden as part of the ongoing work at Chester Farm to explore and develop the knowledge of this important heritage site.

This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to get involved in a real excavation

Cllr Heather Smith

There is evidence of human activity on the land for more than 2,000 years, including buried evidence of two Iron Age farms, a Roman walled town and a medieval village known as Chester–by–the-Water.

Northamptonshire County Council is working to open the 34-hectare site to the public and for school and other educational visits, using information boards and computer-generation visuals to show how the site would have looked in the past.

People with an interest in history and archaeology will be able to join the two-week dig in August, which will be supported by a programme of evening talks and presentations held in the threshing barn at Chester Farm.

County council deputy leader Cllr Heather Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to get involved in a real excavation and learn from a professional team of archaeologists as we seek to learn more about the 2,000-year history of this fascinating site.

“It’s open to anyone who’s fit enough to work in a garden – and doesn’t mind getting a bit mucky.

“And if it proves a success, this project could lead to the development of an amateur excavation group who will be able to carry out limited excavations to a professional standard at Chester Farm.”

The project is open to anyone aged 16 and over and volunteers will help with the excavation and recording of archaeological features, as well as washing and marking any finds.

It will take place from Monday, August 17, to Friday, August 28, for volunteers on a first come first served basis, up to a maximum of 20 people per day.

To find out more or to book a place, contact Ian Meadows any weekday by calling 01761 439085 or emailing

Further information about Chester Farm can be found at