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Uncovering the past

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Each year our international team of academics, students, volunteers and support staff combine to discover incredible archaeological finds that help to reveal the history of southern Britain, solving many unanswered questions.

This year our annual fieldtrip will be changing to the PLACE and past field school project, an archaeological investigation studying the the role that Dorset's ancient and historic communities played in networks of production, exchange and communication with the rest of Britain and the continent. The project runs annually as a summer field school alongside the PAST skills training programme. Students from our range of archaeology courses are able to gain hands-on experience at a fascinating site, while anyone with an interest in archaeology, Dorset's history, or the project as a whole is welcome to join us for the excavation.

PLACE and PAST together constitute a new incarnation of what was in previous years known as the Durotriges project, or Big Dig. ​The Big Dig has been running as our summer field school in Winterborne Kingston since 2009 and have unearthed some incredibly significant finds, giving us a greater insight into the late Iron Age and early Roman history in this part of the country. 

Download the extensive article, ‘Finding Duropolis’ (pdf 2.3mb), from Current Archaeology magazine to learn about the project’s full history.

On the Purbeck site this year, we hope to gain insight into how harbourside communities developed over time and how those groups and individuals related to wider maritime connectivity and historical changes. Updates and information can be found on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts

Discover our finds, year by year


In 2017, we targeted our excavations on a late Iron Age farmstead, digging up a variety of finds, including evidence of early industrialisation.


Finds from 2016 included a late- or post-Roman farming settlement – rare in archaeological record, and dating to the period AD 300–450.


The results from our 2015 work were greater than we could ever have hoped for, with the footprints of at least 16 discrete buildings revealed.


A number of finds grabbed headlines in 2014, including the discovery of a Roman villa and adjacent cemetery.

Related courses

Students on the following degrees participate in this summer field school as part of their course:

BA (Hons) Archaeology & Anthropology

BA/BSc (Hons) Archaeology

BSc (Hons) Archaeological and Forensic Sciences

MSc Forensic Archaeology