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Local community invited to dig with archaeologists for Roman remains

(14 June 2006)

Budding archaeologists of all ages are being invited to take part in a dig for Roman remains this summer. Jointly organised by Archaeological Services Durham University and Durham County Council, the Sedgefield Community Archaeology Project offers local people the chance to try archaeological excavation first hand at East Park in Hardwick Country Park.

The Project is running from 26 June to 21 July from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Sunday. Everyone is welcome to come along for a day or for the whole three weeks (minimum involvement is one full day). Volunteers don’t need to have any experience as full training is provided by the team of archaeologists working on the site. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Spaces are limited and volunteers must book in advance by contacting David Mason, Durham County Council on 0191 383 4952 email: archaeology@durham.gov.uk The project will culminate in an open day on Saturday 22 July between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm where everyone is welcome to come along and see the results of the excavation, Roman re-enactment and lots of other fun activities in Hardwick Country Park. About the project Now in its second year, the project is organised and funded by Durham University and Durham County Council. The archaeological site consists of a large and unusual Roman settlement, part of which may have been a Roman industrial estate. The site covers 60 hectares that probably extends under the village of Sedgefield. Small scale works were initially conducted in 2002 by the Channel 4 Time Team, together with the Council and University and the first phase of larger works took place last summer. Richard Annis, Project Manager, Archaeological Services Durham University said: “This project is really exciting and could offer a real insight into how the Romans lived in the North East. Last year’s geophysical surveys and excavations revealed that it is unique to the region. Other Roman settlements in the North East are next to forts, but this one appears to be the industrial estate of a previously unknown small town positioned on the side of a Roman road. We already know that pottery making and metal working took place here, and this summer we will find out more about the site and its people. This project is a great way for the local community to get their hands dirty and discover how their neighbours would have lived and worked thousands of years ago!”

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