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Archaeology Field School 2024

Archaeology Field School

30th June – 26th July 2024 (4 weeks)

Bamburgh Castle is a multi-phase site that offers students the opportunity to gain experience of working with some of the most varied and exceptional archaeological material currently being excavated in the north of England.

We saw a high level of demand last season so we do recommend booking early if you want to have a full choice of weeks available.

We also intend to run two single weeks of post-excavation in May and September, so if you are interested in these please email to be added to the waiting list and we will get back to you as soon as we have the dates agreed.

For booking details follow the link at the bottom of this page


We offer quality training in archaeological fieldwork with an emphasis on practical hands-on excavation and post-excavation activities. Our training is open to people of all skill-levels and abilities, with particular interests accommodated where possible. You should be over 18 but we encourage all ages to apply as we find the team benefits from attracting people from various backgrounds.

Bookings start at one week but we recommend participants attend for at least two weeks to get a well-rounded experience of the training on offer.

The Excavation

In the last few seasons we have been focusing our excavation on the outworks at St Oswald’s Gate. This was the original entrance to the castle that is written about in the 8th century AD, but was likely the entrance to the fortress from the prehistoric period. If time allows this year we will also begin to investigate some mounds beyond the outworks that could be the remains of a siege castle from 1095 AD! You can read a little more about this area on the Bamburgh Castle: St Oswald’s Gate page and on our Blog.

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 guide the excavation on a daily basis and ensure that the research agenda’s primary aims and objectives, set at the beginning of the season, are fulfilled. The directors are supported by a Trench Supervisor and Post-ex Supervisor who are responsible for the hands-on tuition participants receive each day. Our core teaching staff is supported by Assistant Supervisors.

What will I be learning?
Participants are given the option of booking our combined Excavation and Post-Excavation programme or our Post Excavation only programme. Students working in the trench will receive tuition in excavation techniques, such as trowelling delicate contexts, defining and excavating cut features and sampling deposits. As participants excavate we will also teach them the fundamentals of recording what they find. This can include:

  • undertaking archaeological photography
  • preparing and undertaking scale drawings of plans and sections
  • survey techniques, such as setting out the site grid and measuring surface levels using a dumpy level. A total station will also be in operation at certain times throughout the season.
  • contribution towards the various paper records that allow archaeologists to describe what they see and combine all the data they gather into one coherent record.

All those excavating will also be taught how to record archaeological finds as they are unearthed in the trench and will have the chance to undertake the post-excavation activities outlined below.

Our post-excavation tuition covers a variety of areas, as we have an active on-site finds department and a environmental processing area. Participants will have the opportunity to undertake some (if not all) of the following:

  • undertake environmental sampling techniques
  • wet-sieving and sorting residues and flots (search for ‘environmental’ on our blog to see lots of info about this element of the project)
  • clean and sort bulk materials such as animal bone and small finds, such as metalwork and worked bone.
  • prep finds for long-term storage
  • undertake cataloguing, including database and archive management
  • together this will aid in developing your identification and assessment techniques for a variety of material assemblages

Accomodation

We are very happy for you to arrange your own accommodation but the staff will be staying on Budle Bay Campsite and you are welcome to join us. We have booked the larger of the bunkhouses and this has three accommodation areas and space for a number of students as well as the staff.

The bunkhouse has a kitchen and toilet and we have been promised a shower this year as well so you will not have to rely on the common shower block. Cost for this is £17.50 per night. If this appeals then do notify us in the accommodation section of the application.  There is also the optuon to camp on the site for a slightly reduced fee but this needs to be arranged through the campsite itself.

How do I apply?

Details of the 2024 season and the link to the application form can be found on the Bookings Details page.

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