BU’s Big Dig a Big success

Posted on Monday, July 15 2013

Members of the Young Archaeologists Club at the Big Dig

A team of archaeologists from Bournemouth University (BU) has uncovered the history that lies beneath rural farmland in Dorset.

Delicate glass leaves, a Roman tea strainer and the remains of ritually deposited animals were just some of the finds unearthed by staff and students as part of the Durotriges Project.

The project, otherwise known as The Big Dig, is an archaeological investigation studying the transition from the late Iron Age to the early Roman period in Winterbourne Kingston, near Bere Regis.

The Big Dig is now in its fifth and final year, and this summer’s excavations discovered a prehistoric settlement, Roman villa and two late Roman longhouses, as well as countless finds from the period, including jewellery and pottery.

Dr Miles Russell, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at BU, said: “The key thing this year is that much of the evidence is showing what happens after Roman Britain comes to an end.

“We can see how people came to this land, how they cannibalised the villa, ripped everything out of it and made their own life here before the Saxons arrived.”

As well as staff and students from the university, volunteers and schoolchildren visited the site to help out and experience archaeological excavation first hand.

A public open day attracted more than 620 visitors, and around 50 young archaeologists, aged between 8 and 16, visited the site from as far afield as Poole, Salisbury, Southampton and Taunton.

The youngsters, who are members of Young Archaeologists’ Clubs from across the region, took part in the examination of Roman buildings, geophysical survey and finds processing.

Sarah MacNaughton, of the Poole branch of Young Archaeologists’ Club said: “It was brilliant. The youngsters really enjoyed getting their hands dirty and finding things.”

Find out more about The Big Dig