University marks 20th anniversary of founding of University of Leicester Archaeological Services

1st July sees the 20th anniversary for the founding of ULAS (University of Leicester Archaeological Services). Formed by Richard Buckley and Patrick Clay following the closure of the Leicestershire County Council Archaeological unit in February 1995, ULAS hit the headlines in 2012 when they unearthed the remains of Richard III.

From small beginnings – starting with three staff in 1995 - ULAS has grown to be one of the country’s major archaeological units, peaking with over 100 staff during the Highcross Quarter Excavations in 2006. It has now completed over 2500 archaeological projects since it started.

In addition to the famous discovery of Richard III’s burial, ULAS has been at the forefront of some of the most significant archaeological discoveries including the 40,000 year old site Upper palaeolithic site at Glaston, the Neolithic sites at Husbands Bosworth and Rothley, Burrough Hill Iron Age hillfort, the Hallaton Iron Age hoards, the Vine Street Roman Courtyard house, Eye Kettleby Saxon settlement, Leicester Abbey and the lost church of St Peters with over 1350 burials. ULAS led the University’s success in winning a Queens Anniversary Prize in 2013.

Patrick Clay said: "We had no idea how successful the unit would be when we first started out 20 years ago. It is a credit to our fantastic archaeological staff, many of whom have been with us almost from the start, whose skill has led to such incredible discoveries."

Richard Buckley added: "While the Richard III discovery hit the headlines many of the less well known discoveries are of equal if not greater significance. For example, building  on research on a large number of sites over a long period of time has meant we now know far more about the archaeology of Leicester and the surrounding region than ever before. Here’s to the next 20 years."

A unique Neolithic stone plaque from Rothley with stylised face.

The excavation at Grey Friars, where the remains of Richard III were discovered.

The Highcross Quarter Excavations.

A Middle Mesolithic site at Asfordby.

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