Archaeology discovery day to reveal mysteries of Bradgate Park

Posted by ap507 at Jun 24, 2015 10:25 AM |
Free public University of Leicester event to explore new findings at popular attraction to take place on Saturday 27 June

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 24 June 2015

A video of students on site and interviews with Dr Richard Thomas produced by Pukaar News is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCwIZMQUNTQ

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images.

Members of the public are invited to learn about the latest archaeological discoveries being made at Leicestershire’s Bradgate Park by University of Leicester experts during a free family Open Day on Saturday 27 June, between 11.00am – 4.00pm.

The many mysteries of Leicestershire’s 850-acre deer park will be explored by University of Leicester archaeologists over the next five years with the launch of a fieldschool, where academics, professional archaeologists and students will work together to uncover the hidden history of this popular attraction, best known as the location of the birth place and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey – the ‘nine days Queen’.

The Bradgate Park fieldschool project will encompass a series of excavations, topographic and geophysical surveys, environmental reconstructions and standing building surveys.

The project will also include a programme of outreach delivered to primary, secondary schools and A-level students enabling them to visit the excavations and take part in hands-on activities to raise awareness of and inspire engagement with their local heritage and archaeology.

Members of the public who attend the Open Day will be given the opportunity to:

  • Speak to the archaeologists involved in the excavations and see some of the objects that have been found
  • Take a site tour
  • Dig for treasure in dig boxes
  • Meet a medieval knight and lady
  • Hear medieval musicians
  • See the flint knapper and make coil pots and arrowheads
  • Handle prehistoric tools
  • Find out how to make prehistoric bread and mead
  • Follow a story trail
  • Watch medieval tile making and building technique demonstrations

The first season of excavation, which began on Monday 8 June, focuses on a moated site identified to the west of Bradgate House, thought to be the home of the medieval park-keeper.

Buildings of unknown date and purpose, located outside and within the courtyard of Bradgate House, are also being investigated.

Already staff and students have found Stone Age flint blades, Roman pottery, a musket ball, a medieval building and much more.

Other sites of interest which will be explored in future years include the site of Lady Jane Grey’s house, an Upper Palaeolithic open site (nearly 15,000 years old) – one of only a few in the United Kingdom – and a large enclosure of possible prehistoric date.

Project co-director, Dr Richard Thomas from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History explained: “In terms of an archaeological landscape, Bradgate Park is about as good as it gets. We have identified multiple sites of interest spanning the past 15,000 years. Careful excavation will not only allow us to explore the world of Lady Jane Grey and her family, but chart how people have engaged with and altered this landscape since the last Ice Age. The project will also provide a fantastic opportunity for training in archaeological practice for our students.”

The free family Open Day takes place on Saturday 27 June between 11:00am and 4:00pm for members of the public to learn more about their discoveries at the park and there will also be an end of season excavation tour on site on Saturday 11 July as part of the Festival of Archaeology.

You can follow the progress of the project on Twitter via @DigBradgate and on Facebook at Facebook.com/BradgateParkFieldSchool.

The project website is: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/archaeology/research/projects/bradgate-park-fieldschool

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Debbie Miles-Williams from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History on deb@leicester.ac.uk

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