Topic ID #37743 - posted 12/2/2016 11:31 AM

UK: Ribchester Field School 2017 - Academic Credit through UCLA


Project Overview

The village of Ribchester is nestled in the heart of Lancashire’s beautiful Ribble valley, but this tranquility obfuscates a long and complex past. The Roman fort was established in CE 72-3 as an auxiliary cavalry fort on the north bank of the river Ribble. It was first constructed by the twentieth legion, then occupied by the Ala II Asturum a Spanish auxiliary unit. In the 2nd century the fort was rebuilt and garrisoned by a Sarmatian cavalry unit. Each of these groups brought their own identity and their own interpretation of the Roman martial situation, leaving distinctive, but subtle traces in the archaeological record. Even today Ribchester’s heritage is challenging, the Sarmatian connection has led some to draw parallels between Ribchester and the mythology of King Arthur. As a result, the Fort is at risk of development, neglect and misinterpretation. This project aims to change local perspective by including a community element, understand the military situation and explore the changing relationship between soldiery and civilian identity during and after the Roman occupation.
The focus of the investigation is a large 30m by 10m trench just inside the fort’s north gate, opposite the granaries. The trench contains clay floored buildings, roads and the gatehouse, kiln fragments, slag, and manufacturing refuse pointing to a workshop. In the last two years of excavation we have found 2643 pottery sherds, 2973 fragments of animal bone, 483 pieces of tile, 301 fragments of glass, 704 iron nails, 1151 bits of slag and 245 small finds including over 45 coins. In 2017 we will excavate the workshop floors, the interior of the guard house and the external ditch. It looks like it will be a spectacular season.

Program Director: Dr. Duncan Sayer & Dr. James Morris  
Course Dates: June 14-July 17, 2017
Application Deadline: June 12, 2017
Tuition: $4,360
Credit: 12 UCLA credit units
For the initial four nights in Preston students will be accommodated in university dorms. During the excavation students, supervisors and directors camp 50 yards from site in their own tents. Students are responsible for keeping the campsite tidy at all times. The project is very fortunate to have access to the Village Hall for use during the day as the finds processing facility or site office and in the evenings it provides shelter and a communal focus. This includes a fully equipped kitchen with cutlery and crockery, fridges, oven and two sinks. There is access to a washing machine during the project. Showers are hired in on a trailer and are good quality facilities powered from the mains electrics and bottled gas. Every day (except Monday which is the day off) food is provided in the evenings from a local catering business, and their shop, which is five min walk from site, provides the opportunity for people to purchase excellent bacon sandwiches during rest times if required.
Students on the project are organized into rotas and each day a small team will prepare lunch, do cleaning, tidying (campsite and grounds) and washing up. Participation in this is mandatory and will be organized fairly and equally amongst the participants. This is strictly maintained and participation is considered part of the assessment process. This means that the site and facilities are kept to a high standard which is important since we are informally monitored by the parish council and the community.

For further information visit Program Page:


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