Public offered chance to dig up city estate's past

ARCHAEOLOGISTS from Sheffield University have teamed up with Heeley City Farm to offer people the chance to uncover remains of Victorian homes during a community excavation this month.

The event, part of the National Festival of British Archaeology, aims to shed new light on the Victorian houses that were on Heeley City Farm's site until the 1970s, with the aim of discovering what life was like in Heeley 100 years ago.

The community archaeology project, which is now in its second year, will be overseen by academics from the university

One important part of the project will be the creation of a community archive including people's memories of Heeley City Farm and the houses that were in nearby Alexandra Road, Richards Road, Myrtle Road and Ann's Road.

Dr Roger Doonan, from Sheffield University's archaeology department, said: "You might think that there is not much to discover in Heeley, but I can promise that we are in for an exciting time.

"This year we are going to ask a simple question – what did people get up to 100 years ago in their back yards? We're expecting all sorts of answers, from private moments at the bottom of the yard to evidence for hobbies and cottage industries.

"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'd encourage everyone to come down and join in, no experience necessary."

The community heritage officer at Heeley City Farm, Sally Rodgers, said that the event represented a "fantastic" opportunity for people to contribute to the dig.

She added: "We want people to get involved in everything, from the initial survey of the whole farm site using geophysics and geochemistry, to excavation and finds processing."

Work will be taking place at Heeley City Farm between 10am and 4pm each day until Sunday, August 1. For details contact Ms Rodgers on 0114 3039981.