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Archaeology lab to open its doors to the public


History buffs can now get their hands on a state-of-the art lab to discover more about findings unearthed on local digs.

Archaeology and history groups across the county are being offered access to the facilities at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln after it was awarded £40,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The project, called Open Lab, has now started and will run for two years, giving local communities the chance to analyse finds picked up while out walking or at events like a community dig. Those taking part will be able to gain skills in heritage research, object conservation, photography, digital technologies and archiving.

Craig Spence, Senior Lecturer and Project Manager, said the items - which could include coins, pottery and other artifacts - will eventually be stored at The Collection on Danes Terrace, Lincoln.

"Getting support from the Heritage Lottery Fund is a fantastic boost to the community archaeology activities we do at the university college," said Craig.

"It will allow us to work with more volunteer groups and help them learn new skills which will make their future projects much more successful and allow them to become much more self-sufficient.

"Community archaeology projects have gone from strength to strength over the last few years. One of the things that make them so exciting is they allow a direct connection with the past through the discovery and handling of archaeological objects.

"The things we can help the groups document will eventually be archived at The Collection, securing it for the future."

Bishop Grosseteste University College is offering those taking part in the project - which is only open to groups - other resources such as advice from archaeology and history academics. And during the two-year scheme, the university college will also put on public road-show events and school workshops.

Antony Lee from The Collection said: "Discoveries made by amateur archaeology groups continue to add to our knowledge of the county's heritage. The fantastic project at BG will help ensure that such finds are properly looked after so that people can continue to enjoy and learn from them well into the future.

"We're delighted to be involved and hope that it will lead to even more co-operation with local archaeology groups and even more people making use of our extensive and important collections."

The lab at BG will be made available once a fortnight. Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: "We at HLF are delighted to be able to support the Open Lab project. These finds and artefacts offer a wonderful insight into our past and this is a fantastic opportunity for local groups and volunteers to further develop their skills.

"By working together to share their discoveries more widely this project will give more people from across the community the chance to learn and explore these collections, both now and for generations to come."

Those wishing to sign up for the project can either email openlab@bishopg.ac.uk or call BG on 01522 583774. Alternatively, visit www.bgopenlab.wordpress.com for more details.

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