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Bristol archaeological project wins national award

3 March 2016

A major project investigating the medieval castle and landscape at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, has won a national award, voted for by the readers of Britain's most popular archaeology magazine.

The top accolade from Current Archaeology was awarded to the University of Bristol’s project at Berkeley Castle, where a team of students and staff from the University of Bristol have been working for the past decade to unearth 1,500 years of history, spanning the Roman period to the Civil War.

Discoveries

Since the project got underway in 2006, it has discovered thousands of artefacts and at least six buildings ranging from a Saxon nunnery to an Elizabethan pub, while training over a thousand students in archaeological field methods.

The excavation is jointly directed by Professor Mark Horton and Dr Stuart Prior of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology.

Recognition

Professor Horton said: “This award is a great recognition of both the research and the experience that we can give to our students - to meticulously uncover and record for posterity, millennia of our national story, from when the Romans first settled Berkeley, to one of the richest Anglo-Saxon Monasteries, to a great Baronial castle, and a medieval and post-medieval country town.”

The Berkeley project fended off tough competition to be named 'Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year for 2015-16'. Also in the running was the rediscovery of the site of the Battle of Bannockburn and the excavations on the Hadrian's Wall fort at Vindolanda.

Previous winners have included the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the investigations of the Mesolithic site of Star Carr.

Rich history

Such a concentration of archaeology at a single location is exceptionally unusual in Britain, and is witness to the rich history of Gloucestershire from the prehistory to the present day.

Charles Berkeley, Castle Director and heir to the castle, welcomed the award and said: “We were delighted to hear about the success. Every year it is delight to have the Bristol University students in the castle, explaining to our visitors what they have found, sharing it through social media, and revealing so much of our history.”

 

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