News from 2012

First newsletter from the rural settlement of Roman Britain project now on-line

The project has been running for just over 6 months now, and the first newsletter introduces you to the team, outlines progress and provides information on upcoming events.   Download the newsletter


Glastonbury Abbey: Historic Excavations and Current Research symposium on line

Recording of presentations given at the Society of Antiquaries in London on 16 November are available on line  Follow the links from this page.


Saxon find in Lyminge has historians partying like it's 599

The Guardian features an article on the remains of great hall, excavated by our research team in Lyminge

This is the first discovery of a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon Great Hall' in over 30 years and one of only a handful of such major buildings to be excavated in its entirety. Large enough to accommodate up to 60 people and forming part of a formal complex of buildings, the hall would have been used as a venue for royal assemblies attended by the king and his armed entourage.  Read the article


Archaeology achieves 100% satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2012

Archaeology was one of three departments at Reading to achieve the top rating, with the university as a whole being ranked in the top 25% of higher education institutions in the UK  Read the news report


Reading Archaeology Research Showcased at the Society of Antiquaries, London (15-16th November)

Two of our research projects on Glastonbury Abbey and Lyminge are highlighted in the autumn programme at the Society of Antiquaries in London.   More details on our events page.


Reading Archaeology team head to Iraq to investigate the origins of farming life

A team of archaeologists, directed by Professor Roger Matthews and Dr Wendy Matthews of the Department of Archaeology and including staff and students, is heading to Iraq for a 6-week season of excavations at the site of Bestansur, near Sulaimaniyah in the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.

The team will be excavating buildings and features dating to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, between 9000 and 7000 BC. A first season of excavations took place in spring 2012, recovering much evidence for early occupation close to a natural spring and in a very fertile area of the Shahrizor Plain. This region of the Fertile Crescent, in the Zagros Mountains, is famous as host to early domestication of animals such as goat and plants such as cereals and pulses. It is also one region where the earliest settled villages are found, after the end of the last Ice Age. The project is collaborative with the Sulaimaniyah Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage, directed by Kamal Rasheed Raheem, and Sulaimaniyah Museum, directed by Hashim Hama. Bestansur excavations are part of the Central Zagros Archaeological Project, a collaborative programme of archaeological research involving archaeologists from the UK, Iraq and Iran. The project is currently funded by a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.   For more details, see the project web site


Iron Age people introduced Mediterranean cuisine to Britain

Archaeologists working at Silchester Roman Town in Hampshire have discovered that people of that time were importing Mediterranean seasoning as well as whole olives themselves.   Read the news release


Volunteer opportunities on the Lyminge 2012 excavation 22 July to 2 September

Whether you are a seasoned digger or brand new to archaeological fieldwork, the Lyminge project offers you the opportunity to play an active part in an agenda-setting research excavation bringing the remains of a lost Anglo-Saxon settlement and monastery back to life.

We accept volunteers aged 16 or over and no previous archaeological experience is required. If you would like to take part please email David Mudd ( stating your area of interest and expertise in one or more of the following categories: on-site excavation; artefact processing; environmental sampling; database entry; scanning and digitizing.   Read about Lyminge


Prize-Winning Reading Archaeology Graduates

In the last year three Reading graduates have won prizes for their Undergraduate Dissertations:

Nicola Bray (completed her dissertation in 2011): Prehistoric Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize. Benn Penny-Mason (completed his dissertation in 2011): Association for Environmental Archaeology's John Evans (Undergraduate Dissertation) Prize. Mark Blagg-Newsome (completed his dissertation in 2010): Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies' BA Roman Archaeology Dissertation Prize. Congratulations to all


Gabor Thomas has been awarded an AHRC grant of over £500,000 to fund a project entitled 'Anglo-Saxon Monastic Landscapes: A Reconstruction from Lyminge, Kent', to run for 3 years.

The project builds upon the results of a completed campaign of research (2008-10) demonstrating Lyminge's key importance for understanding the process of monastic foundation in a region crucial to the earliest stages of the Anglo-Saxon conversion.

The grant will fund a further three seasons of excavation in a previously unexplored sector of the village, to be supported by a full-time PDRA, a part-time Data Manager and a PhD studentship. The project will harness expertise across the academic, commercial and volunteer sectors through local collaborations with the Kent Archaeological Society and Canterbury Archaeological Trust to promote knowledge transfer and to deliver a full package of public outreach and educational activities over the three years.   For further details visit the project website


Reading Archaeologist Honoured

The outstanding research achievements of Professor Richard Bradley of the Archaeology Department Reading University were recognised by the award on Saturday 9th June 2012 of the Europa Prize of the Prehistoric Society.

On this occasion Professor Bradley delivered the Europa lecture 'House of Commons, House of Lords domestic dwellings and monumental architecture in prehistoric Europe'. This formed part of a conference built around the theme of 'Landscape, monuments and society' which included an international group of speakers . The formal conference was preceded by a day of papers on the same theme by postgraduate students, an especially appropriate event given the important role which Richard has played in encouraging and supporting the next generations of prehistorians. During the conference Prof. Bradley was presented with a festschrift of essays 'Image, Memory and Monumentality' by scholars inspired by his research. The event was attended by 220 people from 5 countries many of them Richards former students. In accepting the Europa prize and festschrift Richard emphasised that he was not retiring for another 18 months and is busily planning future research projects, many in partnership with former students. Richard has taught at Reading University since 1971, when he joined the university as the first full time archaeology lecturer. He feared at the time this would be a short stay before moving on to a university where archaeology was a more established subject. In the event he stayed and made Reading the established department in which he wanted to work. It grew from his own lone appointment to its present position as a top department in the UK and international scene.


Archaeology at Reading ranked 5th in the Guardian University guide 2013

The subject ranked 4th in career score which is the percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, or are studying further, within six months of graduation   See the table.


Award nomination for the Department of Archaeology's excavations at Lyminge

The Lyminge excavations, directed by Dr Gabor Thomas, have been shortlisted for the British Archaeological Awards 2012 under the category 'Best Archaeological Project'. The winner, selected from the three shortlisted projects, will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum on July 9th.  Read about the rewards.


The Archaeology of Crafts exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey

An exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey Museum, From Fire and Earth, tells the story of the Abbey's pioneering role in medieval crafts and technology, and runs until 16 September 2012. The co-curator is Rhi Smith, one of our Archaeology PhD students   Find out about the exhibition.


Glastonbury Abbey excavations reveal Saxon glass industry

New research led by the University of Reading has revealed that finds at Glastonbury Abbey provide the earliest archaeological evidence of glass-making in Britain.  Read More...


Dig in Egypt

The University of Reading Excavations at Amheida, welcomes student applications for one month of excavation training from approximately March 23-April 23, 2013. Applications are due by 5:00 pm (BST) on Thursday 31st May 2012  Find out more.


Student placements available on the excavation of a late mesolithic site on Islay in western Scotland

Ten places are offered to all SHES students. The excavation takes place from 18 August to 1 September 2012.  


Archaeology research seminar -Thursday 23rd February 2012 at 17:00 in the Sorby room

Dr Frank Meddens from Royal Holloway will be giving the seminar on 'Stone ancestors, platform structures and the projection of Inca power'.   Download the flyer (PDF 82KB)


Archaeology research seminar 16 Feb at 17:00 in the Sorby Room

Ben Ford, Oxford Archaeology, will present the initial results from large scale excavations at Base Court, Hampton Court Palace.  Download the flyer (PDF 73KB)


Archaeology research seminar Thursday 9 February at 5pm in the Sorby Room.

Dr. Paul Pettitt from Sheffield University will be giving the seminar on 'The evolution of hominin mortuary activity from ape to Upper Palaeolithic'.


Registration for the Rags and Riches one day conference is now open

This one day conference at the University of Reading aims to bring together archaeologists, anthropologists and others from related disciplines to discuss current issues of methodology, theory and interpretation of dress and dress accessories. 21 April 2012  Read about the conference


RUined, the University's Archaeology Society first event this year will be a talk by Aleks Pluskowski

Aleks Pluskowski will present 'The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Conquest, Colonisation and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic' which will be about his project in the Baltic. This will be held in Palmer G06 at 5pm with a wine reception and a light buffet afterwards in the Archaeology Atrium.  See the project web site.


Two Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme placements awarded to Archaeological projects

The two placements are for the projects 'The ecology of crusading: isotype analysis and faunal remains' and 'Silchester excavation visitor survey'.

Placements are open to undergraduate students who will be entering their final year of study in October 2012.  Find out more on the UROP web site.


Application for the Silchester Field School is now open

The excavations will take place between 2 July and 12 August and is open to all.  Read about the Field School


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