Fancy trying your hand at archaeology? Want to learn more about the history of your local community?
In 2018, University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), working in partnership with Rutland County Council and the Market Bosworth Society, have two exciting opportunities for volunteers to take part in community archaeology projects.
Oakham Castle Community Dig (18th – 29th April 2018)
Starting on Wednesday 18th April and running up to and including Sunday 29th April, we begin an excavation at Oakham Castle in Rutland. The dig is part of the Restoring Oakham Castle project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Since 2015, extensive restoration work at the castle has stabilised and conserved the incredible late 12th-century Great Hall and the 13th-century curtain wall surrounding the inner bailey, and has improved visitor facilities, site access and site interpretation in order to ensure the long-term preservation of the castle and improve public enjoyment of the historic monument.
However, as little remains of the castle above the ground, archaeology plays an important role in furthering our understanding of the site, and volunteers taking part in our community archaeology dig will have the unique opportunity to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of how Oakham Castle has been occupied and used since it was first built in the late 11th century.
The dig will focus on two areas inside the inner bailey of the castle which were first investigated by Channel 4’s Time Team in 2014. Time Team uncovered evidence of medieval stone walls for one of the castle’s buildings to the north-east of hall, and for what might be the Great Chamber or Solar block to the west of the hall. Their work highlighted the potential for further investigation and this year we will be enlarging their trenches in order to make more sense of these buildings.
The dig is free to take part in and runs daily 9am – 4pm (except 23rd-24th April), including weekends. There will be 10 places available each day. No experience necessary as all training will be given, however a reasonable level of fitness is essential as it’s like doing a full day of gardening!
To book your place, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/united-kingdom–oakham/oakham/?q=oakham&mode=search
There will be an Open Day with extra activities and a chance for the public to see more of what has been found and hear about the process on Sunday 22nd April, 11am – 3pm. The archaeologists will also be very happy to chat generally to people throughout the dig if you want to pop down for a look.
Bosworth Links Dig 2 (21st – 22nd July)
Our second digging opportunity is later in the year, over the weekend of 21st – 22nd July, when we will return to Market Bosworth for Bosworth Links Dig 2, a Heritage Lottery Funded community archaeology project exploring the history of the market town by digging test-pits in peoples’ gardens. Following on from a very successful Dig 1 in 2017, when we uncovered tantalising glimpses of a lost prehistoric landscape beneath the town, as well as Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval occupation, we aim to double the number of test-pits dug to date to learn more about these exciting new discoveries.
Anyone can take part. No experience is necessary, and all training and equipment is provided for the weekend. You do not need to live or have a garden in Market Bosworth. We need volunteers to staff numerous test-pits across the town. Job roles do not just include excavation, so if you want to take part but don’t feel fit enough to dig, there are many other ways to help, including recording test-pits and washing all the finds.
To find out more about the project, visit: https://www2.le.ac.uk/services/ulas/discoveries/projects/community-archaeology-1/bosworth-links-dig-1-2017
To take part, register at: http://marketbosworthsociety.com/volunteer/