Bamburgh is a multi-phase, multi-location site that offers students the opportunity to gain experience by working with some of the most exceptional archaeological research currently being undertaken in the north of England.
We aim to offer high quality training in archaeological fieldwork with an emphasis on practical hands-on excavation experience, in different digging environments. We augment this with post excavation processing and applied theoretical approaches. Our training is open to people of all experience levels and abilities, and is designed so that the longer you stay the more experience and responsibility you will gain.
Where will I be digging?
All participants will get to experience hands on training and excavate at both Bamburgh Castle (trench 1 and trench 3) and the Bradford Kaims. We recommend students attend for at least two weeks to get a well rounded experience of the different sites and training on offer. If there is something specific you wish to gain experience of, please let us know.
Who will be teaching me?
Professional field archaeologists and post-graduate students form the core of our training staff. The BRP’s on-site Directors are the key members of this team and are present throughout the excavation season. Each area of excavation will also have a Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor who are responsible for the hands on tuition students receive each day.
What will I be learning?
Students receive tuition in excavation techniques, from trowelling delicate deposits, defining and excavating cut features, sampling deposits, to de-turfing, mattocking and shovelling test pits. We explain the fundamentals of archaeological recording, and show students how to fill out context sheets and registers. We teach scale drawing of site plans and sections. Site photography is another part of this recording tuition. We also teach survey techniques, using the dumpy level, setting out grids and 3D recording of finds and grid points.
Environmental coring survey is conducted by our staff and project participants under the overall direction of Dr. Richard Tipping. Our post-excavation tuition includes environmental sampling techniques, wet -sieving and sorting residues and flots. Sampling and care of waterlogged materials will also be taught. We have an active finds department, and participants will help with the post-excavation processing of all finds, from bulk materials to small finds. Students will learn to use the small finds register, as well as recognise different materials and objects and how to process them for storage. Database and archive management is another part of this process.
Participants will be inducted to each site with a health and safety discussion and given a tour of the site and the finds department prior to commencing excavation.
It isn’t all work at the BRP! There’s a rich and varied social life at the project. We all gather for Quiz Night, an informal contest where you and your team can pit your wits against your friends and the project staff for a chance to win prizes. Once a week we host a BBQ, and every Friday night is Pub Night, a chance to unwind and share a well-earned drink after a hard week’s work, to play some pool and get to know people.
Every year over a hundred new students and volunteers join us from all over the world. Your time with the BRP will offer you the chance to meet new people and make new friends, as well as offering an invaluable networking opportunity to people who would like to pursue a career in archaeology or related fields.
In addition to the scheduled activities, lectures will be given by project staff and guest specialists on some evenings, covering site history and archaeological techniques, to augment the training provided on site. Students are also free to explore the local area, from the pubs of Bamburgh village to the stunning beaches and numerous sites of historic interest within the local area.
Click below to download this season’s Student Information Booklet.
(Last updated May 2017)