The Archaeology of the Bullring: A history of grime, crime and slime

Posted on Thursday 26th March 2009

The University of Birmingham will be hosting over 500 pupils at the annual Easter lecture on the 26th March 2009. This year’s lecture will see the 11-12 year olds discover what lies beneath one of the country’s leading shopping centres, The Bullring.

Archaeologists from the department of Archaeology and Antiquities at the university, will deliver the lecture and discuss some of the extraordinary findings they made about the smelly and violent past of Birmingham.

The hour long lecture will focus on the lives of Birmingham’s former inhabitants, the work they did tanning animal skins for leather, the rubbish they threw away, the fights they got into, the diseases they died of, and the uninvited creatures which shared their living space.

In this lecture, insect expert Dr David Smith and other archaeologists from the Bullring team will introduce students to some of the techniques they used and the discoveries they made. Pupils will have the opportunity to take part in the lecture, including trying to guess what the fossilised object in the ‘cesspit’ is.

Schools from across the greater West Midlands region will be attending the lectures and Elizabeth Chandler, one of the organisers of the event said, “ This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn how their ancestors lived in Birmingham, the types of work they did, the way they lived their lives and compare that to the vibrant and cosmopolitan Birmingham they all know now.”

For further information please contact;

Mohammed Ansar, Outreach officer Telephone 0121 414 7693,

Mobile 0797 4180154, email


Note to Editors:

  • The 10.00am lecture place 26th March 2009 in G31 Large Lecture Theatre Mechanical Engineering Building. The 12.00pm lecture takes place in Howarth 101 lecture Theatre in the Chemistry Building on the main Edgbaston Campus.
  • The first lecture begins at 10.0am. Repeat lectures start at 12.00pm