We need your support
We aim to raise £24,000 each year to support the post-excavation work on finds and remains, and our outreach programme to engage communities with our results. We are applying for funds to local and national grant-making bodies. We need the help of local people and businesses to take this work forward.
Field based archaeology is an expensive business and each season of the excavation of Cookham Abbey requires funding.
There are several ways you can help us achieve our objectives:
Donations help our work. We will be able to increase the value of your donation via Gift Aid.
Higher-rate taxpayers can reclaim tax through Gift Aid.
Members are the backbone of our supporters.
Members get exclusive talks and site tours.
Individual membership costs £10 a year, or £15 for family membership (two people living at the same
address). Associates (under 18s) – no fee.
The excavation is only the first stage in understanding the Anglo-Saxon monastery. It gives the raw data – remains of buildings, pottery, metal, animal bone and so on.
Clean, conserve and analyse
The next stage is to clean, conserve and analyse these artefacts. Broken pottery or glass can be reconstructed; metal needs to be cleaned and treated so that it doesn’t corrode and disintegrate. Animal bones need to be cleaned and examined to determine what kinds of animals were being bred, hunted and eaten by the monastery’s inhabitants. These analyses are undertaken by professional specialists, often using complex and expensive equipment and materials.
Seeing the whole picture
The third stage is to put the pieces of the jigsaw back together to get the whole picture. Animal bone from the 2021 excavations showed a high proportion of pig bones, as well as rare animals that were caught or hunted – venison, wild boar, swan. These were prime cuts from prime animals, and show that the monastery inhabitants had a high-status diet. One piece of pottery was identified by the specialist as a fragment of a cooking pot common in north-western Europe in the 8th-9th centuries, particularly in areas associated with the wine trade. They are very unusual in England. This was probably the personal property of a Frisian trader visiting the monastery. Another fragment comes from East Anglia, a type only found at high-status sites. Put together, these finds show an institution whose inhabitants had an expensive high quality diet, rich in meat, with wine imported from the Continent.
These examples show the value of post-excavation analysis and expert interpretation. This work is expensive. A single radiocarbon date will typically cost £400. A specialist report on ironwork or pottery may cost between £500-£1,500. We estimate a cost of £10,000 each season, and this will increase over future seasons as the project excavates more material. The time of a professional archaeologist for 10 weeks a year to coordinate this work and write up the season’s results will be £6,000 each year.
Engage and empower
The fourth step is to engage and empower public audiences to celebrate and utilise local heritage to build thriving communities. We are funding a part-time Community Engagement Manager to show and explain the results to local interest groups, schools, via social media, talks and displays which will engage the interest and enthusiasm of local people – a further £8,000 each year.
FCA was established to raise funds for these essential steps to research the Anglo-Saxon monastery and embed its results in the local community. We aim to raise a target of £24,000 each year. With your support we can maximise the potential of Cookham’s archaeology as a unique resource for enhancing the cultural heritage of the region and understanding of a fascinating yet poorly understood period.
The Prince Philip Trust Fund has recently given us a grant of £1,000 to support our outreach work.
Archaeology belongs to its local communities.