University archaeologists nominated for national research award

Burrough Hill Project up for Current Archaeology Awards.

CA_Vote_PROJECT_2016_Burrough-Hill--signs-of-life-in-a-Midlands-University of Leicester archaeologists are in the running for a hat-trick of awards having been nominated in the ‘Research Project of the Year’ category for the prestigious Current Archaeology Awards for the second time in recent years. In 2013 the award was won by the Greyfriars Project & the discovery of Richard III and last year Dr Richard Buckley, Lead Archaeologist on the Greyfriars Project, was awarded ‘Archaeologist of the Year’.

This year the focus is on The Burrough Hill Project, a five year research and student training excavation run by the School of Archaeology and Ancient History and ULAS. Burrough Hill, near Melton Mowbray is one of the best preserved Iron Age hillforts in the East Midlands and a popular visitor attraction but was poorly understood before the project began.

The excavations produced a wealth of new information relating to the occupation of Burrough Hill, reflecting the domestic life of the people who lived there, their contacts and trade links and rare insights into their religious beliefs.

Training in archaeological excavation and recording was given to over 500 University of Leicester undergraduate and distance learning students and volunteers. The project also ran a highly successful Outreach programme of Open Days and school visits that enabled over 2500 visitors and 1250 school children to share in the discoveries as they were happening.


John Thomas, project co-director said: “One of the main aims of the project was to explore the significance Burrough Hill in its local and national context. It is clear from the evidence gathered during the excavations that the hillfort was a significant focal place, and the quality of the evidence ensures that Burrough Hill can now be considered on a national scale, as underlined by our nomination for this award.”

Jeremy Taylor, project co-director added: “Hillforts were the missing element in our understanding of the history of the Iron Age in the East Midlands and the Burrough hill Project has filled this gap. The project has also provided a wonderful opportunity for wide public engagement in the process of research and the results possible from archaeological fieldwork.”

The results of the competition are decided on a public vote which has now opened and can be accessed from the Current Archaeology Awards webpage.

Voting will be open until 8 February 2016, and the winners will be announced at the Current Archaeology Live! 2016 conference, held at the University of London’s Senate House at the end of February.

One of the highlights of the excavation was the discovery of a unique hoard of beautifully decorated bronze fittings from an Iron Age chariot, buried as part of a religious ceremony. The finds currently feature in an online exhibition of Iron Age life in support of the British Museum exhibition ‘Celts – art and identity.’

005_Burrough Hill Finds_Reduced_University of Leicester
Bronze chariot fittings found at Burrough Hill

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