The second season of the University of Leicester’s fieldschool at Bradgate Park will launch on Monday 6 June 2016.
Academics, professional archaeologists and students from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History will work together to uncover the hidden history of this popular attraction.
Project co-director and Acting Head of the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, Dr Richard Thomas explained: “The focus of our second season will be a medieval moated site, which contains a stone building that may have been a hunting lodge, a possible prehistoric enclosure located south of Bradgate House and Late Upper Palaeolithic hunting activity within the park.”
“Previous excavation of flint artefacts has shown us that Ice Age hunters were operating within the Park almost 15,000 years ago. We also have the ruins of the birthplace and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey which was completed in 1520. But there are huge gaps in our knowledge of the Park in between and we are hoping that this season’s excavations will begin to fill in some of these.”
The medieval moated site is a scheduled monument on a site of Special Scientific Interest, but Historic England and Natural England have granted the University permission to undertake a series of targeted excavations to understand its date and purpose. It is believed to be the location of the ‘keepers lodge’ during the medieval period when the extent of the deer park was much smaller than it is now; however, excavation last year suggested that the structure might be even grander – perhaps a hunting lodge.
More than 80 archaeology students from the University of Leicester – 50 first year students in the first two weeks and 30 second year students in the following three weeks – will be on hand to explore these sites, working alongside academics and professional archaeologists from the University for the six-week long excavation.
Jeff Almonte, a second year Ancient History and Classical Archaeology distance learning student from Thailand, who took part in last year’s fieldschool at Bradgate Park, said: “The experience is enormous for my studies. Being out in the field is an important part of being an archaeologist so doing this in a beautiful landscape, working with top notch professors and students from all over the world is very enriching.”
Peter Tyldesley MRICS, Director at Bradgate Park Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted to be hosting the University of Leicester fieldschool again this year and we are looking forward to piecing together more fascinating history of the Park.”
While the focus will be on uncovering more evidence dating back to the medieval period, the archaeologists hope to find more signs of the Ice Age hunter-gatherers migrating across Europe to benefit from warmer climes – building on the recent excavation of thousands of late Upper Palaeolithic flint artefacts by the University of Leicester Archaeology Services (ULAS): Find out more