As many of you will have noticed, Ribchester was a hotbed of archaeological activity throughout this Summer, as students and experts from the University of Central Lancashire's archaeology unit started the first year of a major excavation within the Roman Fort. The Village Hall Management Committee have been delighted that the Village Hall was able to play a central role in activities - providing an indoor 'base of operations for the archaeology team during their 4 week stay.
The following is adapted from a longer article written for the Parish Magazine by Dr James Sayer, one of the UCLan project leaders:
This year's dig was the first part of a long term project called ‘Ribchester Revisited’, which is being run by the university in collaboration with Patrick Tostevin (curator of Ribchester Roman Museum), the Diocese of Blackburn with Ribchester Parochial Church Council, and Dr Matthew Symonds (Editor of Current Archaeology Magazine).
Over its 3-years, Ribchester Revisited will consist of a series of excavations and archaeological surveys aimed at piecing together more of Ribchester's prehistoric, Roman and medieval history.
This Summer a large trench was opened opposite the granary - just inside the North Gate and where it is believed the barracks were located. Exciting finds included a clay floored building with evidence of use as a workshop.
The excavations so far have just ‘scratched the surface’ but they have already provided an impressive collection of finds - including over 1000 fragments of Roman pottery, fragments of metal items such as lead weights and 22 Roman coins, some found by very excited St. Wilfrid’s Primary school pupils!
The dig turned out to be very popular, with over 700 visitors during the period (some from as far away as China, America and Australia). But it was also wonderful to see so many local residents get involved by pop to the dig to see the progress and all students and leaders really appreciated the support, and supplies of cake. The excavations also enjoyed plenty of media interest with Local newspaper, as well as BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Digging for Britain visiting the site. Look out for Ribchester featuring in Digging for Britain on BBC4 in the spring.
The trench has now been covered over and the team will be returning to Ribchester for another month (between 20th June and 18th July) in 2016, to further excavate. Again they will be camping in the Rectory grounds and making use of the Village Hall.
We very much look forward to welcoming them back!