Leicestershire and Rutland’s finest archaeological finds to be showcased at University of Leicester conference

Dr David Neal painting the Rutland Roman mosaic (Credit: University of Leicester)

University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) will showcase some of its most internationally significant finds from Leicestershire and Rutland, with a day of talks and displays explaining how archaeologists, artists and artisans collaborate to reconstruct the past.

For the first time, the public will be able to view the detailed reconstruction painting of the unique Rutland Roman mosaic by Dr David Neal, the reconstructed Enderby Shield, and a reconstructed Iron Age cauldron, based on excavated evidence from Glenfield.

The internationally important Rutland Roman mosaic was uncovered in 2020 and shows scenes from the Trojan War story, being described as the most important Roman discovery in the last 100 years.

The Enderby Shield was excavated by ULAS in 2015. It had been deeply buried in an Iron Age pit but survived in waterlogged soil. Careful conservation work on a field and was soon identified as a unique bark shield dating from the Middle Iron Age.

The Glenfield Cauldrons were excavated by ULAS in 2013 and found as part of an Iron Age settlement and feasting centre on the edge of Glenfield.

Recent work by Museum of London and British Museum has revealed how the cauldrons were made, used and maintained providing rare insights into Iron Age craftworking and prehistoric social life.

There will also be a chance to find out more about Britain’s finest Roman Cavalry Helmet from excavations at Hallaton, the burial place of Richard III, and what Leicester looked like in the Roman period.

The reconstructed Glenfield Cauldron (Credit: University of Leicester)

ULAS will be offering talks with local experts including:

  • 'Crafting with bark: experiments to remake the Enderby Shield' with Matthew Beamish, ULAS
  • 'Taking stock of the pot: Creating and re-creating the Glenfield Iron Age cauldrons' with John Thomas, ULAS
  • 'Re-creating Britain’s Finest Cavalry Helmet from Hallaton, Leicestershire' with Helen Sharp, Leicestershire CC Museums
  • 'New Visions of Roman Leicester: From holes in the ground to reimagined views of the ancient townscape' with Dr Gavin Speed, ULAS
  • 'Recreating Grey Friars: Imagining the burial place of King Richard III' with Mathew Morris, Project Officer at ULAS
  • 'Drawing the Rutland Trojan War Mosaic' with Dr David Neal

There will also be displays and opportunities to talk to local experts, join local heritage groups, and much more.

Reconstructing the Past in Leicestershire and Rutland will take place on Saturday, 25 November.

Information about tickets can be found on the ULAS website.

ULAS has been working with local community groups, museums and other stakeholders to uncover ancient objects from across the region for more than twenty-five years.

The discoveries made by their work have regularly featured in news stories and four of the topics at the conference have featured on BBC2’s Digging For Britain.

John Thomas, Deputy Director of ULAS said: “ULAS have been incredibly fortunate to have made so many fantastic discoveries which have helped create such a vivid picture of the past in our region.

“The importance of these finds has been demonstrated by the international interest in the news stories, which have shed a very positive light on what the archaeology of Leicestershire and Rutland has to offer.

“We’re really excited to be able to share these remarkable objects and landscapes at this special conference which promises to be a rewarding day for everyone.”

Composite of the original and reconstructed Enderby Shield (Credit: University of Leicester)