Aspiring archaeologists have uncovered coins, medieval pottery and animal teeth and bones in a two-day excavation with archaeologist and television presenter Professor Carenza Lewis.
Schoolchildren from across Lincolnshire unearthed the discoveries as part of the Lincolnshire Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA), a new collaboration between the University of Lincoln and the University of Cambridge aimed at school pupils aged 14-17 to raise aspirations for higher education.
The items were found across 10 different dig sites in the Lincolnshire village of Bardney, as 40 schoolchildren from 12 different schools joined Time Team presenter Professor Lewis. The finds will now contribute to important historical research at the University of Lincoln.
The HEFA lasts three days – the first two days were spent excavating, and the final day was held at the University of Lincoln’s main Brayford Pool Campus, when participants evaluated their finds and learned more about studying at degree level.
The Academy is designed to develop pupils’ knowledge, skills and self-confidence through active contribution to new academic research.
Professor Lewis, who joined the University of Lincoln as Professor for Public Understanding of Research in September 2015 and is based in Lincoln’s School of History & Heritage, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Higher Education Field Academy to Lincolnshire. This first dig been a great success, with more than 40 local children taking part. It is a wonderful experience for them; getting out of the classroom and piecing history together for themselves.
“This dig has been a fantastic collaborative effort, involving not just the Universities of Lincoln and Cambridge and the schools, but also local history groups and the Bardney village residents who have kindly donated their gardens for us to explore. The students have made important new discoveries about the history of the village while developing knowledge, skills and attitudes which will help them in the future.”
The pupils worked in in small mixed-school teams supervised by Professor Lewis and other experienced archaeologists. The HEFA follows a unique format devised by Professor Lewis in Cambridge in 2005. Lincolnshire teenagers involved in the Bardney excavations now join the ranks of more than 5,000 other teenagers who have taken part in HEFA in East Anglia, more than 90% of whom have rated the experience as good or excellent.
Emily Walton (16), who attends Branston Community Academy near Lincoln, said: “It has been a great experience because when we started digging we found small pieces of pot, but as we got deeper into the ground we were discovering much larger pieces of medieval pottery, glass, metal, and even some animal teeth and bones. It was fascinating to look around at the house and garden we were in because it all looked so modern and pristine, but underneath it there are layers and layers of history.
“In the future I’d love to go to university to study history and archaeology, so this is an ideal experience for me, and it has been lots of fun to meet people from different schools, to work as part of a team and to get out of our comfort zones.”