Public interactions with Lowbury Hill

Working under the umbrella of the Mymerian project ( we seek to gather, analyse, and interpret trends in modern and contemporary public perceptions of the archaeology and history of Lowbury Hill, Oxfordshire, through research in archives and print media.

Department: Classics

Supervised by: Amy C. Smith

The Placement Project

This is an archive-intense placement during which the student will learn about and use online and physical archives to find and analyse relevant information about public interactions with Lowbury Hill, especially its archaeology, and perceptions thereof. Relevant themes might be violence, religion, and ritual; Lowbury Hill in wartime; and other usage of the hill and its remains by local individuals and communities. This work is part of Mymerian, a project in the Classics Department, in collabortion with the Ure Museum, to reassess the archaeology of Lowbury Hill, excavated by Reading’s Classics Department a hundred years ago, with further work by Reading’s Archaeology Department in the 1990s. A PhD project investigating the long-forgotten remains of an early Mediaeval female buried in the walls of a Roman structure on Lowbury Hill have occasioned a reassessment of the entire site. Meanwhile, an analysis of public outreach via the Goring Public Library in 2022, part of another PhD project, has begun to garner a wealth of further insights from the public. This UROP project, therefore, will seek to understand public participation in the site in the historic period, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries. The UROP student will work under the PI and one of the PhD students, Summer Courts, as Co-supervisor, but also with the broader Mymerian team, which includes another PhD student focusing on museology, the Director of Reading’s Museum Studies programme, a forensic scientist & collaborator at Cranfield University, and an archaeologist at Oxfordshire County Council.


Student tasks would involve: 1. Collecting relevant information from the British Newspaper Archives and the Historic England Photo archives (both accessible online) as well as running internet searches. 2. Visiting and searching the University archives, records at the Oxfordshire County Council’s Museum Resource Centre in Standlake, and perhaps further sources available at the National Archives and/or British Library.* 3. In collaboration with supervisors the student would then: 3a. Analyse the data 3b. Contribute to the structuring of an online database to encourage public contributions of information 3c. Draft an article to be submitted to a public archaeology journal. *We have secured funds to pay for their possible travel to archives in Oxfordshire and London.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Basic computer literacy, organisational and teamworking skills are essential. Database experience desirable, but not essential

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The student will become adept at practical and intellectual aspects of using archives both online and in person. They will also develop their IT skills, especially database use and possibly creation, as well as blogging. They will develop their analytical skills. Finally (with follow-up after the project if they are willing) they will learn about all aspects of academic publishing, from drafting the initial report to publishing the article.

Place of Work

The UROP student will have a work station in the Classics Department, where they will also interact with and have the support of colleagues from the Ure Museum. In both cases they are encouraged to use their own laptop if convenient/preferred.

Hours of Work

9:30-4:30 (note dates and hours are notional and can be agreed with the successful candidate to suit their needs)

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 05 June 2023 - Friday 14 July 2023

How to Apply

The deadline to apply for this opportunity is Monday 3rd April 2023. Please submit a cover letter and CV, with contact information for academic referees, to the PI, Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews the first week of Summer term.

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