The Shapwick Project, led by Mick Aston and Chris Gerrard, investigated the development and history of an English parish and village over a ten thousand year period. This was a truly multi-disciplinary project. Not only were a battery of archaeological and historical techniques undertaken – such as field walking, test-pitting, archaeological excavation, aerial reconnaissance, documentary research and cartographic analysis – but numerous other techniques such as building analysis, dendrochronological dating and soil analysis were carried out on a large scale.
The result is a fascinating and revealing study about how the community lived and prospered in Shapwick from prehisrory to the eighteenth century. The past is brought vividly to life by short fictional explorations of Shapwick’s characters and key events at the beginning of most chapters, and text-boxes elucidate re-occurring themes and techniques. In addition we learn how a group of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers and scholars unravelled this story. As such there is much ro inspire and enthuse others who might want to embark on similar projects.