Pick up a trowel and get stuck in

Metalwork students from West Dean, Scarlett Hutchin, right, and David Orr with site work project organizer Natalie Mitchell, at work cleaning metal artefacts at Fishbourne Roman Palace, with Dr Rob Symmons.C110873-2
Metalwork students from West Dean, Scarlett Hutchin, right, and David Orr with site work project organizer Natalie Mitchell, at work cleaning metal artefacts at Fishbourne Roman Palace, with Dr Rob Symmons.C110873-2
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Visitors will be invited to don a hard hat, grab a trowel and have a go at archaeology at Fishbourne Roman Palace this weekend.

Following a highly successful excavation at the Chichester attraction last year, archaeologists are returning from Tuesday to August 2 to dig another trench.

The event is part of this year’s Festival of British Archaeology and, as well as digging, visitors will have the opportunity to try their hand at geophysics, surveying and recording finds as well as the chance to meet experts in human bone analysis, conservation and the study of archaeological animal remains.

They will also be able to look around the artefact stores and meet the curator.

It will be a unique chance to experience the excitement of discovering real Roman artefacts as well as learning how they are examined and cared for.

Curator at the palace, Dr Robert Symmons says: ‘Last year the excavation was small scale but it sparked the interest of many of our visitors.

‘This year we are being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and assisted by English Heritage so we are looking forward to a much bigger, better and even more exciting event.’

Jaane Rowehl, the palace’s director adds: ‘Every archaeologist can remember the first ancient object that they ever found. We hope that by giving visitors the chance to discover hidden artefacts themselves, we might encourage the next generation of archaeologists.’

The event will take place between 11am and 4pm every day and is free to attend. Those who want to visit the palace while they are there will have to pay the normal admission price.

n See Weekend in The News tomorrow for a feature on the Festival of Archaeology.