Ribchester Revisited, United Kingdom. – Institute for Field Research

Location: Ribchester, GB

Season: June 12, 2019 to July 15, 2019

Application Deadline: April 5, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

Institute for Field Research, Connecticut College, University of Central Lancashire

Project Director:
Dr. Duncan Sayer, Dr. James Morris

Project Description:

This field school offers students the opportunity to experience excavating a Roman fort. Located in the historic village of Ribchester, within the heart of Lancashire’s beautiful Ribble valley. The auxiliary cavalry fort at Ribchester was established in CE 72-3 on the north bank of the river Ribble, constructed by the twentieth legion, and 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; a connection which has led some to draw parallels between Ribchester and the mythology of King Arthur. Each of these groups brought their own identity leaving distinctive, but subtle traces in the archaeological record.

Ribchester offers IFR students the unique opportunity to learn the recording methods and skills necessary to deal with complex archaeology within a structured learning environment. Students all receive weekly one-on-one feedback to discuss their progress and leaning goals. Throughout the excavation students can undertake mini-classes in elements such as environmental archaeology, artifact recording, and public outreach.

The Ribchester excavations focus on a large 30m by 10m trench just inside the fort’s north gate, opposite the granaries. This is allowing us to carefully explore the later Roman and post-Roman archaeology of this important fort and understand the changing relationship between soldiery and civilian identity during and after the Roman occupation. In previous years IFR students have excavated the forts gatehouse, workshop floors and the external ditches to the fort, finding over 8,000 artifacts. In 2019 our primary objectives will be to complete the excavation of the defenses, and the later buildings, focusing on the environmental and artefactual evidence. With over 700 small finds identified in 2018, including evidence of eight shoes a silver brooch and bone handled knife, 2019 promises to be a fun and finds-packed year!

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman Period

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Participants must stay entire duration of the field school.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No prior experience required.

Room and Board Arrangements:
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. Cost: Room and Board are included in the cost of the program.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credits credits offered by Connecticut College. Tuition is $4,630.

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Research

2999 Overland Ave. Suite 103

Los Angeles




Phone: 424-209-1173

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