Summer Roundup: Outreach Activities

ULAS are always busy with various public outreach activities, whether site open days or talks to local schools and clubs. Over summer 2018, community involvement by ULAS staff engaged with over 5,000 people across the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland, and further afield. Key projects include…

Bradgate Park Fieldschool

The Bradgate Park Fieldschool is a major ULAS / School of Archaeology and Ancient History project that encompasses a series of targeted excavations, topographic and geophysical survey, environmental reconstruction and standing building surveys. The project provides an opportunity for fieldwork training for archaeology students from the University of Leicester and continues a longer-term programme aimed at enhancing community involvement in the understanding and presentation of important regional monuments for the benefit of the wider public. The project is co-directed by Jen Browning (ULAS), James Harvey (ULAS) and  Dr Richard Thomas (SAAH) and project managed by Dr Richard Buckley (ULAS).

An aerial view south-east across the ruins of Bradgate House towards the 2018 excavation which can be seen in the top right.
An aerial view south-east across the ruins of Bradgate House towards the 2018 excavation which can be seen in the top right.

The fourth season of the Bradgate Park Fieldschool finished in early July, culminating in a well-attended open day with over 2,000 visitors. This season’s investigations focused exclusively on a large building located to the south of the River Lyn, directly opposite the ruins of Bradgate House. It is reputed to either be the gatehouse or the stables erected prior to the visit of William III in 1696, an event which also prompted alterations to Bradgate House including the installation of the bay windows. You can find out more information about the project here: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/archaeology/research/projects/bradgate-park

Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology 2018

This year the two-week Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology ran very successfully between 14th and 29th July. The Festival, the largest archaeology event in Britain, gave people a chance to discover more about the rich and diverse heritage of the two counties. This year over 80 events, talks and guided walks from some of the county’s archaeological and historical experts were organised, with ULAS providing eleven events.

One of the main attractions of the Festival this year was ULAS’s exhibit of the Stibbe Roman mosaic at the BBC Radio Leicester building in Leicester.  Other events during the Festival included six public talks in Leicester, Bottesford, Beaumont Leys and Oakham; four guided walks – of Leicester’s Abbey and Castle, Burrough Hill Iron Age hillfort and the Castle Hill scheduled ancient monument at Beaumont Leys. ULAS staff also supervised the second year of a Heritage Lottery Funded community excavation – Bosworth Links – at Market Bosworth, which involved over 100 people and 180 school pupils digging test-pits in gardens, schools and green spaces across the town.

Stibbemosaic_BBCLeicester
The Stibbe Roman mosaic on display at the University of Leicester and at BBC Radio Leicester

Also in July, ULAS staff helped with a day of archaeology and history – Bringing Our Past to Life – at the Jewry Wall site in Leicester. The event, which officially launched the 2018 Festival of Leicestershire and Rutland Archaeology attracted 400 visitors. Staff talked to the public about recent archaeological discoveries in Leicester, assisted with the Leicestershire Young Archaeologist’s Club, helped with event organisation, and attended as living history re-enactors (a medieval knight & a Second World War soldier).

ULAS staff talk to visitors to Bringing Our Past To Life about recent archaeological discoveries.
ULAS staff talk to visitors to Bringing Our Past To Life about recent archaeological discoveries.

Ancient Akrotiri project, Cyprus

A small team from ULAS recently travelled to Cyprus to (work hard in) sunny Dreamers Bay. The research project focuses on an ancient harbour and other Classical and Byzantine settlements at Akrotiri, Cyprus. A collaboration between the Universities of Leicester, Southampton, the UK Ministry of Defence and local communities.  The project is directed by Prof Simon James, with  Vicki Score (ULAS) as field director. The targets for this year focused around the coastline which is rapidly eroding into the (beautiful blue) sea. Busy public Open Days were held which entertained many of the local Cypriots, and wowed the base personnel and families.

Cyprus
The ULAS Cyprus team

For more info, including a video, head to: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/archaeology/research/projects/ancient-akrotirihttps://www.forces.net/news/ancient-artefacts-unearthed-raf-akrotiri

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