24 Jan - 23 Dec 2022
24 Jan - 23 Dec 2022

Teenagers dig into roman history thanks to Historic England and the Vindolanda Trust

  • Historic England is launching a scheme to get young people involved with archaeology, in partnership with the Vindolanda Trust.
  • A £10,000 grant from Historic England will fund ten bursaries on an annual dig at Vindolanda, a Roman settlement near Hexham, Northumberland.
  • Ring-fenced for students aged 16-19 at schools close to the Wall, the bursaries will help the teenagers gain new skills and possibly spark interest in a career in archaeology. 
  • The funding is part of Historic England’s support for the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival, involving communities living alongside the iconic landmark. 
  • The closing date for applications is 18 February. For information, visit www.vindolanda.com

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 the 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. 

Mike Collins, Historic England’s Lead on Hadrian’s Wall, said: “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.”  

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. 

Mike Collins continued: “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.”

Historic England is the national organisation that looks after the county’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. This includes helping to protect Hadrian’s Wall, so that people can continue to enjoy it now and in the future. 

Dr Andrew Birley, Vindolanda CEO, said: “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.” 

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

The closing date is 18 February, 2022. 


For more information please contact: Julia Haran, Historic England Public Engagement Manager, at Julia.haran@historicengland.org.uk or call mobile 07776 160774. 

Notes to Editors:

Click on the “I” in the top right-hand corner of each image for the caption. 

About Hadrian’s Wall and Hadrian’s Wall Festival 1900 

  • Hadrian’s Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian.
  • The Wall and its component parts – including the Military Way, Vallum and Ditch – form part of the UNESCO Transnational World Heritage Site ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’. 
  • 2022 marks 1900 years since work stated to build Hadrian’s Wall. 
  • The Hadrian’s Wall 1900 festival will run throughout 2022, with activities celebrating life on the Wall from Roman times to the present day, offering exciting ways to discover more about this iconic landmark and the communities intertwined with it. 
  • For more information, visit www.1900.hadrianswallcountry.co.uk

About Historic England

We are Historic England, the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all. 

About Vindolanda 

The Vindolanda Trust is an independent archaeological charitable trust, founded in 1970. 

Roman Vindolanda is regarded as the most exciting archaeological site in Europe with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations. Vindolanda is home to the world famous Vindolanda Writing Tablets, voted as Britain’s top archaeological treasure by the British Museum, these thin hand-written wooden notes have revealed an astonishing amount of first-hand information from the people who lived at this site 2000 years ago. 

The Vindolanda Trust does not receive any annual funding and relies on the visitors to both Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum to fund its archaeological, conservation and education work.