PRIMARY school pupils were invited by a developer to witness a live archaeological dig, searching for the hidden history of an estate.

The year five pupils from St Osyth Church of England Primary School visited City and Country’s St Osyth Priory development in West Field Lane.

Pupils went to the trenches excavated by Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) within the historic walled garden at St Osyth Priory and received a tour from archaeologists and City and Country.

Charlotte Salmon, year five and six teacher at the school, said: “It was an amazing opportunity for our pupils to see an archaeological dig in process, and to learn more about the rich history of the estate.

“We’d like to thank City and Country and Colchester Archaeological Trust for making this visit possible for our pupils, as it’s one I’m certain they’ll be talking about for weeks to come.”

Pupils also had the opportunity to see artefacts found during a recent excavation, including pieces of medieval pottery.

As well as watching the archaeologists work, the school children were shown around the new development and wider estate and had the chance to spot the different rare animal breeds which live there.

Matthew Bynoe, project director at St Osyth Priory, added: “Discovering and celebrating local history is always a highlight of City and Country’s work to restore and conserve architectural heritage, and it’s incredible to see traces of people who lived on our site so many years ago.

“We are grateful to have brilliant local archaeologists from the Colchester Archaeological Trust working at St Osyth Priory and can’t wait to see what they discover about this historic estate.

“It was a pleasure to welcome St Osyth Primary pupils to our site to share this exciting experience with them, they were so engaged and I was very impressed with all of their questions.

“I really enjoyed speaking to the pupils about the history of the site and the local area and we hope they enjoyed their visit.”

St Osyth Priory Estate is one of the largest collections of remaining ecclesiastical buildings in England, with 16 separate Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings.