Press Releases

Visitors 'dig' Open Days at Silchester Roman Town – University of Reading

Release Date : 28 July 2004

Queen Boudica's supporters carry her to the enemy!Hundreds of visitors marched on the archaeological dig site at Silchester Roman Town, near Reading, to learn more about life in Roman Britain during a fun-filled Open Day on Saturday 24 July. Around 900 people took advantage of the glorious weather to take part in tours of the excavation site by experts and to watch demonstrations of Roman blacksmithing, spinning and weaving. Children were able to get into the spirit of things by dressing up like Romans and having a go at mini excavations. People also had the chance to handle and see some of the finds uncovered at Silchester by staff and students from the University of Reading's Archaeology Department over the last eight years. "It was a truly wonderful day, undoubtedly our most successful ever," said Professor Michael Fulford, the Project's Director. "Silchester is one of the most important archaeological digs going on in this country today and it's truly delightful to see so many people taking a genuine interest in local and Roman history." The whole purpose of the University's excavation at Silchester is to show the development of this unique Roman Town from its origins before the Roman Conquest to its abandonment in the fifth century AD. The project is both a training Field School and a research excavation located in the heart of Calleva Atrebatum, a major Roman civitas capital (administrative centre), situated in the modern village of Silchester. For six weeks every summer, archaeology students from Reading and enthusiasts from as far away as the US and Australia attend the Silchester Field School. This year they are joined by some 70 pupils from schools in Berkshire and Hampshire – including Bulmershe and Kendrick schools in Reading – as part of a project financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The 16-18-year-olds work at the site for one week and fully take part in the excavation by digging, planning, recording and processing finds. The next free Open Day at Silchester is being held on Saturday 7 August. For further information see or contact the University's Department of Archaeology on 0118 378 8132. During the Field School season, which runs until Saturday 14 August, visitors are welcome at the site to see the excavation in progress every day, except Fridays, between 10am and 4.30pm. End Professor Michael Fulford, the Director of the Silchester Town Life project is available for interview. Photographers and reporters are welcome to attend the next Silchester Open Day on Saturday 7 August. Please contact Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer, for further details. Tel: 0118 378 7388 Email:


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