Students step back in time during archaeology dig
Release Date 01 July 2019
A fragment of a glass container, the base of an imported pot and a silver-coated needle are just three of the finds unearthed by University of Reading students during their annual archaeology dig.
The team of Field School students, led by principal investigator Professor Mike Fulford and field director Amanda Clarke and supported by a team of academics, began this year’s excavation of the bathhouse at Silchester Roman City on Monday 17 June, continuing until Saturday 13 July.
Members of the public will be able to witness the excavation first-hand during a special open day at the 2,000-year-old site on Saturday 6 July, when guided tours of the dig will be given along with talks on the ancient and recent history of the site and any interesting finds.
Professor Fulford, who leads a number of projects to gain a better understanding of the Roman town, known as Calleva Atrebatum, said:
“The excavation at Silchester is always an invaluable opportunity for our students to gain hands-on experience of a real-world working dig.
“This year, we will be re-opening and expanding two of the trenches we worked on last year, as well as starting a brand-new area inside and to the west of the structure.
“We will be opening up a new and well-preserved area of the bath building, something that should definitely excite our visitors. Elsewhere, we will be excavating deeper into Roman levels on the outside of the building.”
In past years, teams of students have unearthed dozens of artefacts including Roman jewellery, keys, coins and dishes.
The excavation gives them hands-on experience of a range of techniques, from recognising archaeological contexts and features on the site through to cleaning, excavating and recording them.
Members of the public are invited to the open day between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 6 July, which will include guided tours, face painting, and a dig pit for children to have a chance to try archaeology for themselves.
Visitors travelling by car should use the postcode RG7 2HP and using the public car park in Wall Lane, a 10-minute walk from the centre of the Roman town.
Visitors are recommended to wear appropriate footwear and clothing suitable for the weather and temperatures.
For more information on the open day, visit www.facebook.com/Silchester.
About the Archaeology Field School
Archaeology students at the University of Reading have several opportunities to get involved in real excavations, in the Roman town of Silchester, Hampshire, and at the medieval Dunyvaig Castle on the island of Islay, Scotland. They are introduced to techniques such as cleaning, excavating and recording findings, as well as surveying, environmental sampling and processing artefacts.
Previous excavations in the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, near to Stonehenge, have explored buildings and monuments dating back thousands of years, such as an ancient long barrow site which had been thought to contain human remains.
A free online course run by the University of Reading via FutureLearn also allows members of the public the chance to participate in a virtual field school. The two-week course looks at the Vale of Pewsey and how to reconstruct life from skeletal remains.