New archaeological excavations to start at Bradgate Park

Leicester archaeologists will be returning to Bradgate Park from the end of May until the beginning of July with their fourth season of excavations.

Aiming to uncover the hidden history of this popular attraction, the Bradgate Park Fieldschool is a five-year programme of research (2015-2019).

Project co-director, Dr Richard Thomas from our School of Archaeology and Ancient History, explained: “Excavations over the last three years have shown that people have been coming to Bradgate Park for a very long time. We now have evidence for Ice Age hunting (c. 14,500 years ago), Mesolithic hunting (c. 6000-9000 years ago), Bronze Age occupation, and a 13th-14th century hunting lodge.

“Our most surprising find, however, has been the discovery of buildings pre-dating the brick structures of Bradgate House. While Bradgate House is such an iconic site, very little is known about the standing structure and its date. Our evidence suggests that the home of Lady Jane Grey may have looked very different from what we see today.

“Our fourth season of excavations will help us to better understand the changing appearance of Bradgate House. We will also be exploring a large rectangular building to the south of Bradgate House, which is visible in aerial photographs and 18th century drawings. We think that this could be a stable block, built for the visit of King William III, or a gatehouse.”

The fieldschool includes a programme of outreach delivered to primary, secondary schools enabling them to visit the excavations and take part in hands-on activities.

Members of the public are invited to learn about the latest archaeological discoveries being made by the University of Leicester’s Archaeology fieldschool at Bradgate Park, Leicestershire, during a free family Open Day on Sunday 1 July between 11.00am – 4.00pm. 

You can watch a video of the first season of the Bradgate Park Fieldschool below: