BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE: Lancashire university plans extensive archaeological dig

Leader: Dr Jim Morris from UCLan will help run the new Ribchester dig
Leader: Dr Jim Morris from UCLan will help run the new Ribchester dig
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History is well and truly being brought to life by a team of archaeologists from Preston.

The city’s University of Central Lancashire is planning an extensive dig in Ribchester.

It’s a very exciting project for our students to get involved in and they will not only be looking for Roman relics but also for evidence of the early medieval settlers who followed the Romans so it’s an important dating exercise.

Dr Duncan Sayer

Working with Historic England and Ribchester Museum, UCLan is planning to start the Ribchester Revisited project in July which will see archaeology students from first year through to Masters level explore the north gate of the historic Ribchester Roman fort.

They will mainly focus on the areas considered to be ‘at risk’ by Historic England including the scheduled monument, the churchyard and the existing historic houses.

Archaeology is a popular subject and the project will primarily be a training excavation for UCLan students running until early August with the hope of obtaining further funding to extend the project.

Ribchester is considered to have been an important route for the Romans between Manchester and Hadrian’s Wall and has been the scene of previous digs.

The students will work on two trenches, each 20 metres by 15 metres in diameter, and will dig to collect artefacts, such as pottery and ancient coins, as well as logging all of the data.

Dr Duncan Sayer, UCLan’s senior archaeology lecturer at UCLan, said: “Ribchester is a relatively unexplored area of historical interest and we want to make people aware of its significance.

“It’s a very exciting project for our students to get involved in and they will not only be looking for Roman relics but also for evidence of the early medieval settlers who followed the Romans so it’s an important dating exercise.”

He added: “The archaeology degree courses at UCLan offer more fieldwork than any other university and this Ribchester dig is a great example of the real life hands-on projects they get involved with.”

The partnership is expected to last for at least three years, depending on what is uncovered.

Temporary exhibitions will be held in the Ribchester Museum following the excavation.

It will be run by Dr Sayer and Dr James Morris from UCLan, Kathy Tucker from Historic England and Patrick Tostevin, who is the curator of Ribchester Museum.

The exhibition will be open the public as will be the display at the museum.

People will also to be able to follow the progress of the dig online via Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/ribchesterrevisted