Big Dig discovery makes international news headlines

A discovery by BU archaeology students and lecturers at the Big Dig site, which could rewrite Roman history, received international media coverage.

Five skeletons were found at the site, in Winterborne Kingston, thought to belong to a Roman family – the first time that evidence of a villa and the villa’s occupants have been found in the same location in Britain.

The story has been featured by national newspapers including The Telegraph, The Times and the Mail Online as well as local coverage in the Bournemouth Echo, Blackmore Vale Magazine and the BBC Dorset website.

The story also gained international media appearances – including coverage in Australia and India – as well as a number of industry specific websites. Over 50 BBC radio stations included the news in their hourly bulletins – giving the story wide national exposure.

The widespread media coverage led to a record-breaking Big Dig Open Day – with more than 1,500 members of the public visiting to explore the site and the discoveries.

Speaking to ITV Meridian at the Big Dig site, Paul Cheetham, Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Sciences and co-director of the project, suggested that this is just the start of many more findings to come.

“It’s a fabulous archaeological site, with material going to almost 4,500 years ago through to the end of the Roman period and possibly beyond to the early Dark Ages.

“We could probably dig here for the rest of our lives and still not discover all of the secrets in this part of Dorset.”

The story caught the attention of the British Council, who interviewed international students working on the dig to promote archaeology at BU to an international audience.

One student, Jessica Fangmann, said, “Everyone’s good friends on the dig and I feel like I’m learning the things I’m interested in. I’m so glad I came to the UK and I think this is a really good experience.”