University of Leicester receives two nominations for 2018 Current Archaeology Awards

Posted by ew205 at Dec 05, 2017 10:30 AM |
Roman Mosaic Excavation and Stanwick research project nominated for awards in respective categories- ‘Rescue Project of the Year’ and ‘Research Project of the Year’

Images and video from the Stibbe project can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qe9d55scqqiv49a/AABDv0F-GXmKzOE04OdtW3sxa?dl=0

Images from the Stanwick project here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0ptf7wbbtgxwucd/AACP5mGf8BCdVi2Lk9F-6bzSa?dl=0

Two projects led by archaeologists from the University of Leicester have been nominated in the Current Archaeology awards for 2018.

An archaeological excavation led by Dr Gavin Speed from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) and a research project by Professor Colin Haselgrove from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History have been recognised for this year’s Current Archaeology Awards.

Nominated for Rescue Project of the Year is the Stibbe project, the largest excavation undertaken in Leicester for over a decade by archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), which sheds new light on the city of Leicester’s early Roman history.

The site, a block of land in central Leicester known as ‘Stibbe’, was excavated and archaeologists uncovered a possible Roman theatre, Roman streets, and many smaller roadside structures. One of the most impressive finds was an ornately decorated knife/ key handle.

As well as revealing evidence of luxurious dwellings, the team uncovered one of the largest fragments of mosaic floor found in the city in 150 years. The mosaic was one of the largest and highest-status Roman mosaic floors ever discovered in the city, and formed part of a large high-status townhouse. The mosaic has been carefully lifted and conserved, and will soon be on public display.

The Stibbe project was undertaken with an innovative approach, using cutting edge digital methods such as GPS and photogrammetry allowed the team to document the site with much greater precision and detail. As a result, there is now a rich and versatile dataset containing a wealth of information about Roman Leicester, allowing ULAS to broach long-standing questions about the city’s past.

All nominations for the awards are based on articles and books featured within Current Archaeology over the last 12 months. The Stibbe project was featured on the cover of Current Archaeology Issue 332 as A Colourful Past: Uncovering Magnificent Mosaics in the Heart of Roman Leicester.

Dr Gavin Speed, Project Officer at ULAS said: “We were keen to share this remarkable discovery with as many people as possible, and made the decision to open the site to the public – something that our client was very receptive to, even constructing a special elevated platform to provide a good vantage point from which to look out over the site. Leicester’s citizens responded with great enthusiasm; over 5000 people visited our open weekends and lunchtime tours, as did more than 500 local schoolchildren”.

The nomination is the fifth for the University of Leicester in the past five years. Last year, ULAS were nominated for Rescue Project of the Year for the excavation of a Roman cemetery in Leicester.

Nominated for Research Project of the Year is the Stanwick project by Professor Colin Haselgrove from the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

Professor Haselgrove’s recent book Cartimandua’s Capital? The late Iron Age royal site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire, fieldwork and analysis examines the fortified complex at Stanwick – one of the largest later prehistoric fortified sites in Europe.

The publication is the outcome of a 30-year research programme into Stanwick and its environs. Analysis of the material evidence from the site, combined with a new radiocarbon-based chronology, suggests that the Stanwick fortifications were not built as a focus of resistance against Rome after the invasion of AD43, as long thought, but the site instead had earlier origins, and was most likely a Brigantian stronghold allied with Rome.

To place the development of Stanwick in its wider context and assess its importance, Professor Haselgrove draws on a range of evidence from other archaeological fieldwork and excavations in the region and beyond, presenting a new synthesis of Iron Age society in northern England in the decades before the Roman conquest.

The Stanwick project was featured in Current Archaeology Issue 325.

Professor Haselgrove said: “Publishing any excavation is always a team effort and I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the work and waited patiently for the results to appear. I am really pleased that the book has attracted so much interest. Stanwick is a quite remarkable site and I have no doubt that this is not the end of the story, as many other intriguing questions remain to be explored.”

Voting for the awards is now open until 5 February 2018 here: www.archaeology.co.uk/vote.

The winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2018 conference, held at the University of London's Senate House on 23-24 February (more information on the conference can be found here: www.archaeologylive.co.uk).

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