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15th July 2011, 1:49pm
Join hunt for Roman remains at historic Lincoln site
Aspiring archaeologists examine the Riseholme site Aspiring archaeologists can take part in a dig this summer which may unearth more secrets from Lincoln's Roman past.

Experts from the University of Lincoln are leading a short course in practical archaeology which includes experience of working on a genuine excavation of a site believed to have once been the location of a Roman villa.

Evidence of the building’s existence was unearthed during the mid-20th Century on a piece of land now part of the University’s Riseholme Park campus, a short distance north of Lincoln.

Riseholme and surrounding villages lie adjacent to the route of the old Roman road known as Ermine Street, which linked London, Lincoln and York during the Roman occupation of Great Britain. The route of Ermine Street is still reflected today in the modern A15 between Lincoln and the Humber.

The area is thought to have a long history of human settlement, dating back to the Neolithic period, and there is evidence a medieval village existed at Riseholme long after the Romans had gone.

The University of Lincoln has secured permission to further investigate a site of interest close to where the Roman villa may have stood. Academics are running a series of short courses this summer to give local people the opportunity to get involved in the excavation. More than 20 budding archaeologists took part in an initial dig at the start of June.

The short course is run by forensic anthropologist Gillian Fowler, course coordinator and lecturer in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Lincoln.

She said: "During the first dig we had several interesting finds, including fragments of Saxon pot, animal bone, metal, Neolithic flint and Roman brick. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that next time we’ll find the Roman mosaic floor we’re all hoping to uncover!"

The next short course will take place from Monday 1st August to Friday 5th August 2011. Called ‘Unlocking the secrets of the past', it introduces participants to the practical aspects of working on an archaeological dig, from surveying and excavation, through to processing and categorising finds. It also features an introduction to human osteology – the study of human skeletal remains. Participants receive a certificate on completing the course.

Gillian added: "The course is aimed at anyone who is interested in investigating history through archaeology. It provides the knowledge and skills needed to join in a dig and it's a chance to have some fun at the same time."

No prior experience or qualifications in archaeology are necessary. The short course costs £250 for five full days. Lunch and accommodation is not included in that cost.

To book a place or request more information, contact Suzannah Rollitt in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Lincoln on 01522 886894 or email Alternatively, book online at:

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