Exciting Summer of events announced

Hi everyone, we’ve updated Meets for 2016 with what we’re getting up to this summer. Check it out!

Also, check out these great heritage open days coming soon!

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DIG IT! excavation competitions

It’s that time of year again! Summer at the Young Archaeologists’ Club HQ means our incredible Dig It! excavation competitions are back.

This year, we’re looking for three young people aged between 8 and 16 to work alongside the archaeologists at five amazing sites. Winners dig, wash finds, and learn other archaeological skills too – in fact, they’ll learn what being an archaeologist is really like!

CLICK on the links below to find out how to enter:

Ribchester Roman Fort near Preston on Sunday 3rd July 2016. The closing date for this site is Wednesday 22nd June

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland on Saturday 9th July 2016. The closing date for this site is Wednesday 29th June

Fulford Battlefield near York on Sunday 17th July 2016. The closing date for this site is Wednesday 6th July 2016

Marden henge in Wiltshire on Sunday 17th July 2016. The closing date for this site is Wednesday 6th July 2016

Coming soon…

Minsmere in Suffolk on Sunday 18th September 2016

Each winner will also get their own amazing tool roll to keep – kindly donated by our friends at Past Horizons!

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Interactive 3D model of King Richard III’s grave

Check out this neat 3D model of King Richard III’s grave that archaeologists at the University of Leicester have just produced! Its fully interactive, click on the model to load it, hold the mouse button down to rotate, press Ctrl to zoom in and out and Shift to move it around.

Read more about how it was made here https://ulasnews.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/archaeologists-digitally-reconstruct-king-richard-iiis-grave/

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Making Roman tombstones at Jewry Wall Museum

Last month we had a fantastic session at Jewry Wall, discovering the meaning of messages displayed in the imagery on Roman tombstones. Only one in ten people could read in the Roman world so we were looking at these monuments as the majority of Romano-Britons would have done, without reading.

Club Members had a great time thinking about the meaning of particular scenes and looking for cunning little details that could tell us something about what the Roman people valued and how they wanted to be remembered.

They also had a chance to design their own tombstone and model them in clay. If you would like to have a go at designing your own Roman tombstone, here are some ideas of what you could put on it.

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Celebrate Jewry Wall Museum’s 50th Birthday!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not join the free festivities at Jewry Wall on Sunday 6th March (11.30am – 3.30pm) and help the museum celebrate its 50th Anniversary.

Jewry Wall Museum, Leicester’s only purpose-built history museum, opened its doors on 4th March, 1966. To celebrate, the Friends of Jewry Wall have organised a day full of fun events for all the family.

There will be:

  • Tours of the Roman Baths and the museum’s treasurers
  • Historical re-enactments
  • A talk on the story of the museum
  • A Roman coin die where you can strike your own anniversary souvenir
  • Children’s activities
  • Anglo-Saxon activities
  • Woad face painting
  • Dressing up as a Saxon warrior and a medieval knight
  • An ancient port pie and medieval ploughman’s lunch
  • And more…

For more information, visit the museum’s website on http://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums-and-galleries/our-venues/jewry-wall-museum

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Discovering Roman tombstone’s at Jewry Wall Museum

Sunday 21st February at 11.30am

Our first meeting of 2016 sees us visiting Jewry Wall Museum as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebrations.

In this meeting we are going to look at Roman tombstones and the messages displayed in the imagery. Only one in ten people could read in the Roman world so we are going to look at these monuments as the majority of Romano-Britons would have done, without reading.

We are going to be thinking about the meaning of particular scenes and any cunning little details. This should tell us what the Roman people valued and how they wanted to be remembered. You will then have a chance to design your own Roman tombstone and model it in clay!

How to book: members, please book your place online no later than Thursday 18th February.

Charge: £1.50 per member

What to bring: This session will be based entirely indoors

Directions: Jewry Wall Museum is in Leicester City Centre close to Jubilee Square and the Holiday Inn. For further directions, the museum has a map on their website http://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums-and-galleries/our-venues/jewry-wall-museum

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Save this Date!

Hi all, we hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year break.

We’re busy putting together plans for this years events, with a newsletter due mid-February taking you through what we plan to the end of the year.

Our next meeting has provisionally been pencilled in for Sunday 21st February. Please note that this may change, so this is more a “save this date” and keep an eye out for our newsletter for confirmation of the session details.

In the meantime, we want to remind you that we welcome contributions to our next newsletter. we know many of you have lots to share and we think it would be great to do this via our newsletter and website. Can we ask that contributions are sent to leicestershireyac@gmail.com by Friday 12th February.

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Cool 3D model of Roman wall

Check this out! Archaeologists from ULAS have created a rotatable 3D model of a piece of Roman wall found during an excavation in Leicester.

They have used a process called photogrammetry. During the excavation, lots of photographs were taken of the wall from lots of different angles. These were loaded into a programme called AgiSoft PhotoScan which stiched them all together to create the 3D model. This is a quick and easy way to accurately record something very complex and is a very useful technique for archaeologists.

Click on the 3D button, wait for the model to load then hold down the left mouse button to rotate. Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

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Whitwick Test Pit Results Announced!

Cast your minds back to the summer…

In July we spent a great weekend excavating two test-pits in Whitwick as part of Charnwood Root’s Whitwick Big Dig. Over the two days, one dry and sunny and one very wet, Club members excavated two test-pits in Whitwick Park. This was a great opportunity for our members to get involved in a real archaeological project and it was fantastic to help out with the Charnwood Roots Project again following our successes last year at Anstey.

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Last weekend I was back in Whitwick to help reveal the results of the project to the excavation team and it was great to see some of our members amongst the crowd. Over the weekend, we managed to dig 29 test-pits across the village with the goal of exploring the nature of Whitwick’s settlement history and promote local history and heritage to the community.

Sadly, the excavations mostly yielded a mixture of modern and post-medieval artefacts and features and we have learnt very little about the village’s early history. Only 9 test-pits produced medieval pottery, but this includes the two excavated by LYAC which is great! The conclusion is that the medieval pottery in our pits has probably been deposited through manuring of fields surrounding the village. This is confirmed by the surviving earthworks of medieval ridge and furrow surrounding Test-Pit 11.

To learn more about what we discovered, download the Test Pit Reports for our two pits (below):

Whitwick Test Pit 10

Whitwick Test Pit 11

Also check out these two great films of the weekend produced by the Charnwood Roots Team. Look out for Club members and Branch Leader Steve being interviewed!

Again, we would like to say a big Thank You! to the Charnwood Roots Project for giving us this fantastic opportunity to take part in a great archaeological project. Next year the team will be digging in Rothley and we look forward to taking part!

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Exciting fieldwalking results from Slawston

This autumn our young archaeologists have returned to Slawston in south-east Leicestershire for another season of fieldwalking.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Hallaton Fieldworkers and the Leicestershire Fieldworkers for sourcing a field for us to walk and helping us set up the grid and process the finds; also a big thank you to the farmer for allowing us to tromp across his crops.

This year our efforts have focused on a field close to Othorpe deserted medieval village at the northern end of the parish. Cropmarks visible on aerial photographs suggest that part of the village might lie beneath the field and we were very excited to see what we could find.

Little is known about the village of Othorpe. It is first recorded in the Domesday Book (AD 1086) and it is thought to have disappeared in the late 14th or 15th century. One of the aims of our fieldwalking is to see if we can pin down better dates for the village’s origin and abandonment.

Fieldwalking was carried out on a horrible wet day at the end of October. Braving the cold, the wind, the rain and the mud, our club members successfully walked most of the field in a couple of hours before conditions became too horrendous to continue! In a following, warmer (but equally wet and muddy!) session at the University of Leicester they washed everything that was found and attempted to identify and plot their discoveries.

So far, results look very promising. A small sample of Iron Age and Roman pottery has been picked up, as well as some Saxo-Norman material (9th – 11th century). The bulk of the pottery, however, is medieval shelly ware typical of the 12th to 14th century. Virtually no later medieval or early post-medieval pottery has been found, suggesting that the village had indeed been abandoned by the 15th century.

Watch this space…

Over the winter our Assistant Branch Leader Mather will finish cataloguing the material and produce a report of the results which we will upload to our website and send to Leicestershire’s Historic Environment Record so that our discoveries are properly documented.

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