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Vote Berkeley: castle dig shortlisted for Research Project of the Year

Image of Berkeley Castle dig

Since 2005, annual excavations at Berkeley have uncovered some 1,500 years of history

Press release issued: 3 December 2015

The University of Bristol project at Berkeley Castle has been shortlisted as Research Project of the Year in the Current Archaeology Live! Festival and needs your vote to win.

Since 2005, annual excavations have uncovered a wealth of history, including an unbroken record of English history for some 1,500 years in a single trench.  Vote for the project here. 

During the decade of research, thousands of artefacts have been discovered, at least six buildings ranging from a Saxon nunnery to an Elizabethan pub uncovered, and over a thousand students trained in archaeological field methods.  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. 

One feature of the project is the strong engagement between the local community and the University students, supported by a Green Apple Award in 2014.  A University Teaching Development Award in 2015 focussed on student as co-creators of their own learning, supporting a pioneering 'town museum' in which finds from the dig were displayed in shop and home windows.  Students also manage social media channels with a popular Facebook site ‘Dig Berkeley’ that is regularly followed by over 50,000 people worldwide and a Twitter feed @digberkeley with 174,000 followers.

The excavation is jointly directed by Professor Mark Horton and Dr Stuart Prior of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, and participation in the dig that takes place between May and June forms part of students undergraduate and postgraduate training.  

Dr Prior said: “This is research-led teaching at its very best.  A classic example of what the University of Bristol does so well.  It’s fantastic that our efforts are being recognised nationally.”

The project team are calling on everyone to vote for the project from the six that have been shortlisted.  Previous winners have included Richard III, the Stonehenge Riverside project and Maryport.  

Voting is online and the results will be announced on 26 February 2016. 

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