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Hogsmill Community Archaeology Project

Research and field evaluation of the Hogsmill river valley, Surrey

Where and When

Tolworth, Kingston, Surrey (KT5) August 2011.

Initiated and run by

Hogsmill, Surrey: project day evaluation. Photo: Surrey CC.

Kingston upon Thames Archaeological Society, with Heritage Enterprise (Surrey County Archaeological Unit) contracted as Project Manager, and Reading University (QUEST) contracted to do environmental work.

Funding sources

A grant of just over £28k was applied for and granted from the HLF (May 2011). This was supported by Non-cash contributions of £1,200 and volunteer time forecast as £46,650


  • To make a significant contribution to the archaeological knowledge of the Hogsmill and its environs.
  • To enthuse and involve the community, and particularly young people, in learning about the rich past of the area they live in.
  • To provide a "hands- on" opportunity for our partners, the Scouts, to learn about and use archaeological techniques and equipment, and to participate in related activities to disseminate the experience and knowledge gained.

Work done (phase 1) and results

Hogsmill, Surrey: field evaluation. Photo: Surrey CC.

This is an ongoing HLF funded collaborative project being undertaken in conjunction with Kingston upon Thames Archaeological Society, and Reading University. The project was developed in order to understand more about the little known history of the Hogsmill River, and involves the local community taking part in research and fieldwork.

The Hogsmill dig took place in August, with test pitting, metal detecting, and bore-holing being used to gather evidence. The fieldwork was a great success, with around 35 scouts and young people, over 20 adult volunteers, and 6 professional archaeologists involved. The open day attracted somewhere in the region of 120 people, which is a great turnout for a local project, and we had several newspaper articles published.

Analysis of the finds and environmental data has now begun, with carbon 14 dating having been used to date the borehole core sequences found below the site. These show that significant deposits dating back to the early Mesolithic period are present, so further analysis of pollen and plant remains will now be undertaken by students at Reading University, in order to reconstruct the environmental history of this part of the Hogsmill

Lessons learned

Hogsmill open day poster.
This project is still in progress, with the ongoing environmental work due to be completed by October 2013, and an exhibition currently being designed for display at Kingston Museum 18th May- 11th July 2012 (phase 2).

The first phase of the project, consisting of the provisional research and the community fieldwork, was regarded a success as the aims of the project were fulfilled and positive feedback from participants was received.

The project did not succeed in identify archaeological features in the test pits due to sterile clay deposits covering the site. Fieldwork on similar sites in the future should have a bore-hole survey completed prior to fieldwork to establish if the site is suitable for test pitting.

If further funding can be found there is scope for further projects in the area focusing on geoarchaeological and environmental data gathering in the Hogsmill Valley floor.

Further information

ALGAO general enquiries
01223 728592
admin [at]