A TEAM of volunteers have been meticulously washing soil samples from a community dig to reveal a picture of the past.

The washed materials, including burnt seeds and snail shells, are from the Minchery Farm Paddock excavations, which took place last year at the site of a former nunnery next to Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium.

The team sorted through them yesterday at Oxford Archaeology in Osney Mead.

Community archaeologist Jo Robinson, of the East Oxford Project, said: “We have to wash them through a sieve and a big tank so the charcoal and burnt seeds float to the surface and we can siphon them off and send them to experts.”

Colleague Jane Harrison said: “It gives us really important information about what the landscape was like and what was being grown as well as what was being eaten.

“We can use the burnt seeds for carbon-dating. “It is something that volunteers don’t usually get the chance to do.”