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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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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

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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 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.


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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Child Genius 2016

Hi everyone, YAC UK has been contacted by Channel 4 regarding the possibility to participate in a TV program called Child Genius.

In a nutshell, they are looking for  children aged 8-12 who are passionate about a particular subject, and who would be interested in going on TV. Children will be tested on literacy, numeracy, logic, general knowledge, etc.

They are having an Open Day in January – please see below for more information and contact details.

Child Genius 2016 poster

Child Genius returns for a fourth series and is looking for children aged 8-12 (and their families) to take part. It would be great if you could circulate the below information and attached flyer via your club newsletter or social media account(s) Also, if you are attending or holding any events that you think may be relevant to the programme, it would be great if you could let us know!

Wall to Wall Media, the production company behind award-winning programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One) Long Lost Family (ITV) and three previous series of Child Genius (Channel 4), is currently writing to UK Schools and After School Clubs, as the documentary and competition series Child Genius is back for a fourth time, and we are once again looking for children and their families to take part.

The series will feature some of Britain’s brightest and most fascinating 8 -12 year olds, as they enter a competition devised in association with British Mensa. This will consist of four rounds to be filmed in February 2016 (with a grand final at the end of April 2016).

Child Genius will capture the children and the families in the build-up to each round of the competition as the children prepare to take on their highly intelligent peers. As well as telling the story of the competition, the series will aim to explore the lives of the children featured, their families, their hobbies and how they handle day-to-day life as and with a gifted child. We will spend time filming with children and families at home in the weeks prior to the competition, in between rounds at the competition venue and in the lead up to the grand final. Each episode will feature a number of the children who took part in the competition and will chart their progress as they strive to make it all the way to the final.

Child Genius offers parents the chance to bring their children together with like-minded peers. 2015 finalist Jasamrit’s dad said: “It was a special moment for the whole family as it not only made Jasamrit a more focused and resourceful 10 year old, he has made some great new friends!” Jack’s mum Clare said: “It was amazing to see Jack thrive, to relish the competition and the chance to show his talents, and to see him have fun with other kids he had lots in common with. We were all so well looked after by the crew, and the parents supported each other too. I’d do it all again…” Finalist Sasha’s mum said: It was lovely to see the children making friends and having fun between the rounds. We had such fun being a part of it and has left us with some lovely memories of when Sasha was 12. Winner Thomas stated: “Child Genius is fun, exciting and was, frankly, the best opportunity I’ve had in my life so far. I got to meet like-minded people and there was a sense of camaraderie with the other competitors. My advice is simple. Do it!!!”

After Schools Clubs and organisations have played a tremendous part the last three years in spreading the word to parents, and we are always delighted by the sheer volume of numbers that come forward. We are currently inviting applications from bright young children (with the consent of their parents/guardians) to take part in the series. We are looking to feature children between the ages of 8 and 12 years, born between 1st September 2003 and 31st August 2007 (up to year 7s).

Given the ages of the children we hope to involve in the series, we are keen to reassure you that we take our obligations as responsible programme-makers very seriously. We recognise our duty of care to all our contributors and the particular additional responsibilities involved in filming with young children in this environment. For this reason, no application from any child will be accepted without full and informed parental/guardian consent; at least one parent/guardian will accompany their children to all stages of the casting process, and in the event that the child is invited to appear in the series, to all filming. We will have a team of specialist advisers off-screen, including a child psychologist and education experts, whose role will be to provide support and guidance prior to and during the production of the series.

Parents are able to view information on both Wall to Wall Media and the series here and they can provide us with evidence of their consent to their child taking part in the application process. Applications are open until 15 January 2016.

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Ten must see Iron Age Hill Forts in Britain


British Camp, Malvern Hills, Hereforshire

Looking for something to do? Why not check out Heritage Daily’s ‘Ten must see Iron Age Hill Forts in Britain’.

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Discount entry to Bosworth Anniversary Re-enactment Weekend – 22-23 August

197_lmxzgit6r4[1]Hi everyone, we though you would like to hear about this fantastic special offer. This year marks the 530th Anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth and if you buy your tickets online before 31 July you can get a huge 20% off!!!

On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 August, the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre hosts its annual anniversary re-enactment weekend, an exciting family-friendly event which includes battle re-enactments, living history, music and lots more…

·         A full days fun bursting with medieval games, archery and a fancy dress competition

·         Falconry flying and static displays

·         Mini guided walks

·         Cannon Fire demonstration

·         Medieval music and dance

·         Living history camps

·         Expert talks

·         Jousting


·         Two spectacular battle re-enactments per day!

At the event Leicestershire YAC will have a stand to tell everyone all about the great things we get up to, so we would love you to pop by and say hello if you attend the event too!

For more information about this offer and event, please visit the centre’s website


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LYAC visit the excavations in Bradgate Park

At the end of June, LYAC was given the fantastic opportunity to visit the University of Leicester’s new archaeological fieldschool in Bradgate Park. In its debut season, this is a major (5 year) student training and research excavation project focused on the upland landscape of Bradgate Park in Leicestershire.

The park is first documented in 1241 (as a deer park) and is known primarily as the location of one of the first unfortified brick-built aristocratic houses in England (c. 1520), which was later the birth place and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey: the ‘nine days queen’. However, recent excavations of a known late Upper Palaeolithic open site (c. 15,000 years old) situated atop the north spur of a gorge overlooking the River Lin has revealed an in situ stone tool assemblage consistent with Creswellian activity. This is one of only a few sites in the UK dated to this period and is thus of national and international significance.

This year, fieldwork has focused on a medieval moated site located to the west of Bradgate House (thought to be a park keeper’s lodge), a mysterious building in the courtyard of the House and one of the outbuildings to the south of the walled garden, possibly a stable block. To learn more about the project, check out their website or follow them on Facebook.

Richard Thomas, one of the co-directors of the project showed our young archaeologists around the site, explaining the key discoveries of the year and getting them to line up along the walls of the medieval and post-medieval buildings to show them how big the structures once were. Then we divided into four groups and rotated through a series of hands on archaeological activities, excavating in Trench 3 on the medieval moated site, site recording and planning, how to take readings with a dumpy level and finds processing. Check out the gallery of what we got up to below.

A big thanks to Richard and all the other project members who helped lead such a brilliant session, especially as they were also setting up for a very successful public open day.

We look forward to returning next year to learn all about Season 2.

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