Professor Alice Roberts digs University of Leicester’s fascinating finds

Professor Alice Roberts with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, right

One of Britain’s best-known broadcasters, Professor Alice Roberts, has endorsed the University of Leicester’s exemplary track record for unearthing some of the nation’s most treasured historical finds.

Today (Friday 19 January), the University formally recognised Professor Roberts’ achievements in bringing science, history and archaeology to a wide audience, by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate of Science during a graduation ceremony, held at De Montfort Hall.

In her acceptance speech, Dr Roberts, who is currently presenter of the BBC’s Digging For Britain programme, spoke about the impact Leicester’s archaeology experts have had.

Digging for Britain has featured several projects conducted by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). These include an extraordinary Roman mosaic discovered under Rutland farmland and a unique Iron Age bark shield discovered in the south of Leicester. The latest project to be covered was the Leicester Cathedral dig, which was aired this month.

And of course, the University’s archaeology team was the one which uncovered the remains of King Richard III, in 2012.

Professor Roberts said: “I’m delighted to have received an honorary degree from the University of Leicester.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many archaeologists from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History and University of Leicester Archaeological Services over the years, while making television series such as BBC Two’s Digging for Britain – including being lucky enough to visit the incredible excavation of the Rutland villa with its stunning Trojan War mosaic.

“All of these colleagues are just as passionate about opening up archaeology and associated sciences to a wide public audience as I am.”

Professor Roberts is an academic, writer and broadcaster, interested in the structure of humans, how we function, and our place in the wider environment.

She studied for a medical degree at the University of Wales then, after a period as a junior doctor, took up a post at the University of Bristol, teaching anatomy while studying for a PhD in palaeopathology. In 2012 she was appointed the University of Birmingham’s first Professor of Public Engagement in Science.

After early appearances on Time Team, Alice’s media career took off in 2005 when she was one of the original presenters of the hugely popular BBC TV series Coast. Since then she has presented more than a hundred television documentaries, ranging across human biology, history and archaeology. Her credits include The Incredible Human Journey, Ice Age Giants,

Britain’s Most Historic Towns, Fortress Britain, Ancient Egypt by Train, Royal Autopsy, The Day the Dinosaurs Died, King Arthur’s Britain: The Truth Unearthed and Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed.

She is also a successful author, her books including Evolution: The Human Story, Human Anatomy: The Definitive Visual Guide, The Celts: Search for a Civilisation, Tamed: Ten Species that Changed our World and Ancestors: A Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials.

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “I am delighted that we have honoured Professor Alice Roberts as an exemplar for our community.

“We share her commitment to the public dissemination of science, engaging with diverse audiences and her impact chimes with our University’s mission to create Citizens of Change.

“Her accomplishments provide a measure of the transformative influence that an individual can have upon society and she is an inspiration for us all.”