Second successful season of fieldwork for Leicester archaeology students concludes

Posted by ap507 at Aug 10, 2016 01:05 PM |
More than 80 students have had the opportunity to get hands-on with an excavation at Bradgate Park

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 10 August 2016

  • Five-year project aims to give undergraduates professional experience of digs
  • This year’s focus is on a medieval hunting lodge, but has turned up archaeology from a variety of periods, including ice-age

You can watch, download and embed a video of the first season of the fieldschool at Bradgate Park at:

An archaeological project aimed at giving students hands-on experience of excavating and uncovering real historical sites has turned up a host of historical information.

The Bradgate Park Fieldschool, run by the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, has focused its attention on a 13th or 14th century stone building as part of a hands-on module for first and second year undergraduates.

The latest dig has generated a wealth of historical evidence which reveals more about the county park’s hidden past.

Four trenches and several test-pits were excavated, with one - the largest - revealing the stone foundations of a building within a moated platform, probably a park-keeper’s lodgings or a hunting lodge.

Other finds include a tiny lead-alloy figurine, possible a late-medieval pilgrim's badge.

A significant number of late upper palaeolithic flints were also discovered, adding further insight into the area’s ice-age hunter-gatherer history.

Project co-director Dr Richard Thomas said: “The second season of excavation at Bradgate Park has been hugely rewarding and exciting.

“Through driving rain and baking sunshine, we have uncovered a complete medieval hunting lodge, excavated rubbish thrown away by the residents of Bradgate House and surveyed a possible prehistoric enclosure, finding tantalising evidence of a stone building.

“Every time we dig in the park we provide answers to some of our questions and raise a raft of new ones.

“The public support for the project has been overwhelming with more than 2,000 visitors attending our open day and approximately 1,500 school children have visited the excavations to learn about archaeology and what we have been discovering.”

The five-year scheme, which runs until 2019, encompasses a series of excavations, topographic and geophysical surveys, environmental re-constructions and standing building surveys.

It also includes open days for enthusiasts and schoolchildren to learn more about archaeology and Leicestershire’s history.

During the second season of the project, more than 80 archaeology students – 50 first years and 30 second years – explored a small section of the 850-acre deer park.

There are more than 15,000 years of archaeological treasure - in the academic sense - just waiting to be uncovered at the county attraction.

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