See some of the finds from our dig and find out what they tell us about the people who lived in Weeley in the past.

Finds from the trial trenching in January - February 2021

These are eighteenth century finds from the Napoleonic-era military barracks in Weeley.

Military Button

This button is associated with the 5th Dragoon Guards and dates to c.1788-96. Around the outside of the button is the regimental motto VESTIGIA NULLA RETRORSUM (Never a Step Backwards/We Do Not Retreat) with a crown at the top, above a Hannover Horse with the (now barely legible) letters V D G (5th Dragoon Guards) below. The button was probably silvered rather than gilded, but no trace now remains, while the relatively small size (16mm diameter) suggests it may have been a cuff button. The 5th Dragoon Guards wore red coats very similar to the infantry, with green facings. Records from the Parish Register at Weeley indicate that the 5th Dragoon Guards were at the barracks between May 1809 and May 1811 (https://essexandsuffolksurnames.co.uk/history/regiments-at-weeley-barracks).

Gun Flint

This is one of four gunflints recovered from various locations across the site. All flints were 1” to 1” 1/8th suggesting they are all smooth bore ‘Brown Bess’ musket or carbine flints. Two of the flints are smaller suggesting they may be carbine flints used by the Light Dragoons. The high quality material and method of manufacture suggest they were made at Brandon, the centre of the British flint knapping industry during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Finds from the excavation August 2021 - onwards

Prehistoric Finds (up to 43AD)

A struck (shaped) prehistoric flint, found in a much later Roman ditch.
A rim sherd (fragment) of probable Iron Age pottery.
A large triangular loom weight made from fired clay, probably late Iron Age or early Roman. 

Post-Medieval Finds (c.1485 - 1900AD)

A large sherd (fragment) from the rim of a post-medieval pot sherd, found in Barrack Field.
A sherd of post-medieval pottery with dot decoration.
The bulb from a post-medieval clay pipe being expertly reenacted into use!
One of several Napoleonic-era lead musket balls found.
A George III coin, still to be dated and identified.
The bowl of a clay pipe with a maker's mark and the word 'Wood'.
A small pin (c.3cm long), probably associated with the occupation of Weeley Camp.
A selection of early nineteenth century pottery, including matching fragments of a pot base, found together in a rubbish pit.

Modern Finds (1900AD onwards)

A 20th century Shippam's meat or fish paste jar.
A shard (fragment) of a glass milk bottle from Ash Farm, Weeley.