Top prize for Isabel’s research into damaged ruins

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Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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TALENTED schoolgirl Isabel Wilkinson has been awarded a prize for her research project.

The 17-year-old was handed the Ithaka Prize trophy by the high sheriff for Hampshire Alan Lovell at Portsmouth Grammar School.

She examined water-damaged mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace.

Isabel said: ‘The project was exciting because it demanded all kinds of chemical analysis I have only previously encountered in textbooks. I was delighted to win, especially as I so enjoyed my project.’

Isabel, who has been offered a place at Cambridge to read natural sciences, examined microscopic salts from mosaics at the historic ruins and studied them for evidence of water-damage from flooding.

She used the University of Portsmouth’s electron microscope and scrutinised data to produce graphs which show cause and effect and other correlations.

Isabel said: ‘The archaeologist team at Fishbourne are hoping the dampness of the foundations of the ancient palace can be reduced by the redirection of some of the water supply pipes which are close to the palace grounds.’

Extended projects have been devised to encourage pupils to explore areas of personal interest and develop essential research and presentation skills for life beyond school.