Young man holding an artefact
Young volunteer at Vindolanda Roman settlement, near Hexham, Northumberland © Vindolanda Trust
Young volunteer at Vindolanda Roman settlement, near Hexham, Northumberland © Vindolanda Trust

Teenagers Dig into Roman History Thanks to Historic England and the Vindolanda Trust

Teenagers in the Tyne Valley are being offered an exciting opportunity to try archaeology ‘hands on’ - thanks to a partnership between Historic England and the Vindolanda Trust.

Historic England is giving a £10,000 grant to fund ten bursary places on the 2022 and 2023 digs at the Vindolanda Roman settlement near Hexham, as part of the celebrations for the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival.

This is the first time that Historic England has funded bursaries like this, opening opportunities to try archaeology and gain new skills to youngsters from all backgrounds.

This year the bursaries are open to students aged 16 -19 in full-time education at three high schools close to Hadrian’s Wall – Haydon Bridge High School, Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham and William Howard School in Brampton.

Pupils who graduated from these schools in summer 2021 are also eligible to apply.

The bursaries will cover a two-week placement at the popular annual excavation, working alongside experienced archaeologists, as well as an allowance for food and travel. The placements will take place in April and August.

Next year, the aim is to extend the scheme to offer places to pupils in the Tyne Valley and another location.

We’re delighted to be working with the Vindolanda Trust on this project, which will give young people the chance to discover the archaeology on their doorstep. It’s a great opportunity to explore the local significance of Hadrian’s Wall and find connections with people who lived in the same place, thousands of year ago.

We’re providing this opportunity at a time when pupils will be thinking about their future careers. Archaeology is an exciting and varied profession but despite this, there’s a shortage of younger people going into it. We hope that being able to take part in a dig will spark interest in the communities living alongside the wall, provide training and perhaps inspire future careers in archaeology.

Mike Collins, Lead on Hadrian’s Wall Historic England

Spaces on the annual digs at Vindolanda support ongoing research and conservation. They are extremely popular, selling out quickly, with the cost putting them beyond reach for most local teenagers.

We are delighted that Historic England are putting so much value into the future of youth participation in the archaeology of Hadrian’s Wall. In partnership with the Vindolanda Trust we can now offer this is an incredible opportunity for local young students to gain life experience and play their own part in unravelling the history of Hadrian’s Wall.

Dr Andrew Birley, CEO Vindolanda

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria is encouraged to apply for a bursary by completing the application form on the Vindolanda website.

The closing date is 18 February 2022.

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