Top 10 Discoveries by Junior Archaeologists in 2019

It has been another absolutely stand-out year for archaeological discoveries, but it’s not just adults doing all the work – all over the country, hundreds of kids and teens are making their own discoveries too.

From Roman ruins and medieval castles, to Tudor gardens and Welsh mining villages, we’ve been absolutely blown away by all the Junior Archaeologists who have dragged their parents along to one of our DigCamp excavations in order to spend a day getting mucky and unearthing the history hidden under their feet.

There’s absolutely no doubt about it: kids make great archaeologists. In fact, we’re so committed to the idea that we’ve launched ‘How To Be A Junior Archaeologist‘ – a brand new online course for anyone who wants to be an archaeologist when they grow up! You can sign up here.

So, as we rush headlong into 2020, let’s take a moment to applaud the many awesome discoveries made by our Junior Archaeologists. Here are some of the best.

Holly joined our excavation team at Sedgefield, and to our delight found a huge chunk of Roman amphora

It was later identified as the handle from a Dressel 20 olive oil amphora which had come all the way from Spain!

At Pontefract Castle, Emily and Isabell scoured the freshly exposed ruins for medieval symbols known as mason’s marks

They found LOADS of them… like these ones!

On the other side of the castle, dozens of Junior Archaeologists got busy excavating the medieval moat

Meanwhile in the Finds Room, Alexander found a very strange looking bone that stumped all the grown-ups

Eventually, with some careful detective work, he identified it as the occipital bone of a horse’s skull

Over in Driffield, Jacob spotted the tip of an ornate Roman bone hairpin poking out of the ground. He spent the next two hours diligently removing the surrounding dirt with small wooden tools, and managed to lift the whole thing out of the ground to a huge round of applause!

Meanwhile, Rosie found part of a Roman hypocaust (basically a central heating system), suggesting that there may have been a Roman villa nearby

And on a different part of the site, Caderyn noticed a post hole that even the adult archaeologists hadn’t previously seen…

… providing EVEN MORE evidence for a Roman villa. The rest of the DigCamp crew rejoiced in the discovery together. Now that’s what we call teamwork!

Meanwhile in Wales, Gwynfor and Ben went looking for the remains of Caroline Street – where the workers at Fernhill Colliery used to live (no, we don’t know what that face is about either)

Back at HQ, Martha used their data to rebuild Caroline Street in minecraft

… while Mckenzie recreated each of the individual cottages to bring the entire village back to life!

Down in the Cotswolds, dozens of Junior Archaeologists helped us investigate the remains of Tudor party thrown for Elizabeth I

… where Hannah also found this musket ball

But the most important thing that our Junior Archaeologists helped us to discover this year wasn’t an individual artefact.

Instead, it was the realisation that there are thousands of kids and teenagers all over the country who absolutely LOVE doing archaeology

So whether their discovery was absolutely tiny, like this piece of quartz from the Anglo-Saxon monastery on Lindisfarne

Or pretty chunky, like this piece of Roman roof tile at Sedgefield

Or even big enough to sit on, like this medieval wall at Bishop Middleham

Let’s give ALL our Junior Archaeologists a huge round of applause… we hope they all get to be archaeologists when they grow up!

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DigVentures crowdfunds archaeological projects that everyone can be part of, in the UK and overseas. With help from people all over the world, we investigate the past and publish our discoveries online for free. Become a DigVentures Subscriber and be part of great archaeology - all year round!


Written by Maiya Pina-Dacier

Head of Community at DigVentures, Maiya digs with a trowel in one hand, and a Twitter feed in the other. She reports on all our discoveries live from the trenches, and keeps our Site Hut full of the latest archaeology news. Got a story? Just drop her a line...

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